Is Brooke Bezanson the next Miss Universe? Time will tell. Bezanson took her first step in that direction on Sunday when judges chose her to reign as Miss Montana USA 2017. Her next stop is next year’s Miss USA Pageant. If she wins there, she will go on to represent the United States at the Miss Universe Pageant.

Artist, model and athlete

Bezanson entered the Montana pageant after being named Miss Missoula County USA. She studies media arts at the University of Montana, where she is a sophomore. In addition to being an artist and a model, she plays golf.

She was a member of the team that earned the 2015 Class B championship in the sport. Her goal as a pageant contestant is to gain knowledge of the motion picture industry. She will also promote understanding of dyslexia, a condition she has. In addition to personal goals, she will serve in her capacity as Miss Montana USA to promote such causes as Race for the Cure, DARE, Best Buddies, Girl Talk and Sparrow Clubs.

Montana at past Miss USA pageants

If she is crowned Miss USA, Bezanson will become the first Montana contestant to earn the national title. Three from the state have been named Miss Congeniality. They were Stephanie Trudeau in 2007, Meredith McCannel in 2002 and Robbin English in 1980.

The highest-placing contestant from Montana, so far, was Valerie Jackson, who finished in the top 10 in 1952. The date of next year’s pageant will be announced later.

Sihban Doxey ends reign

Bezanson takes over the reigns from Sihban Doxey. Long a pageant favorite in Montana, Doxey was crowned Miss Montana Teen USA in 2011 and went on to compete for Miss Teen USA.

Her experience is varied, ranging from modeling and theater to involvement with the National Rifle Association. She is also active in the Wounded Warrior Project and Special Olympics. She has also worked as a certified personal trainer and rugby referee.

Pageant charitable alliances

At the national level, Miss USA has charitable alliances with several organizations, including Best Buddies, Gilda’s Club, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Smile Train and the USO. The pageant also takes part in a trade initiative, Same Sky, and the MIss Universe Cordaid Fund.