Duling Payer reign as Miss and Mr Dakota for 2011 Dakota Days

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Alexa Duling of Gregory, S.D. was crowned Miss Dakota while James W. Payer II of Wagner, S.D. was named Mr. Dakota during Dakota Days Coronation at halftime of the University of South Dakota’s football game vs. Southern Utah on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Duling, daughter of Joe and Lynne Duling, is a standout track and field athlete at USD and was named the Great West Conference’s 2010-2011 Scholar Athlete. She was sponsored at coronation by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Duling is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, Phi Beta Kappa, the USD Honors Program, a Hospice volunteer, Newman Center volunteer, a volunteer for Girls on the Run and a member of the Golden Key Honors Society. Payer, son of Jim Payer and Leila Husman, was sponsored by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). He is currently president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, vice president of USD’s Students in Free Enterprise organization, secretary-treasurer of the Student Ambassadors and a member of the Society of Human Resource Management.

Download a photo of Duling and Payer with USD President James W. Abbott and his wife, Collette.

Additional royalty included Miss Dakota candidates Tessa Aiken of Spearfish, S.D., daughter of Bob and Pat Aiken; Eva Draper of Omaha, Neb., daughter of Mark and Elizabeth Draper; Alissa Horn of Norfolk, Neb., daughter of Jeff and Cindy Horn; Erin Rasmussen of Vermillion, S.D., daughter of Ric and Kay Rasmussen; Kelly Wismer of Britton, S.D., daughter of Mark and Susan Wismer; and Sara Zehnacker of Omaha, Neb., daughter of Richard and Janet Zehnacker.

Mr. Dakota candidates were Nick Albers of Sioux Falls, S.D., son of Dan and Janine Albers; Drake Bachmeier of Sioux Falls, S.D., son of Jim Bachmeier and Patty and Jeff Davis; Zac Barnhardt of Sioux Falls, S.D., son of Randy and Linda Barnhardt; Andrew Boyd of Mitchell, S.D., son of Todd and Nancy Boyd; Ben Cahoy of Mitchell, S.D., son of Chad and Robin Cahoy; and Aaron Oestmann of Rapid City, S.D., son of Eric Oestmann and Darla Hagel.

The theme for Dakota Days 2011 was “Raise the Dust” and featured several highlights during the week of Oct. 3 through Oct. 8, including the Al Neuharth Excellence in the Media Award presentation to C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb; dedication of Aalfs Auditorium at Slagle Hall; the 97th annual Dakota Days parade with parade marshals Gov. Dennis Daugaard and his wife, Linda; and USD’s 24-19 win over Southern Utah at the DakotaDome.

ABOUT USD

Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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