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Introducing the new Red Wing royalty

Carlie Sandstrom (left), Hailey Kuhl and Kelsey Reding pose for photos Sunday evening after being crowned the 2014 Red Wing Royal Ambassadors. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

Minutes after being crowned the 2014 Red Wing Royal Ambassadors, Hailey Kuhl, Kelsey Reding and Carlie Sandstrom got a taste of the attention they can expect over the next year.

The trio maintained composure and held big smiles despite a barrage of photographs and congratulatory hugs at an after-pageant party Sunday night in the Red Wing Elks Lodge.

They were chosen from a field of nine candidates during a sold-out pageant in the Sheldon Theatre featuring a Michael Jackson theme. The ambassador hopefuls joined 2013 royalty and a group of backup dancers to perform choreographed routines to pop hits “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Rockin’ Robin,” and “Thriller.”

The candidates also demonstrated their individual stage presence and public speaking ability for judges by reciting brief histories of local landmarks and describing two qualities that women possess to make them great leaders.

Reding responded with problem solving and being a team player, while Kuhl and Sandstrom gave similar responses that stressed the importance of determination.

The three winners share equal ranking, according to the Royal Ambassador Program website.

They will serve for one year representing “Pretty Red Wing” to other parts of the state and promote River City Days next summer. Ambassadors also spend their reign volunteering at schools and participating in other local events.

Each ambassador will receive a $1,500 scholarship provided by area sponsors.

Sandstrom is the daughter of Kari and Randall Sandstrom. She will pursue a double major in criminal justice and psychology at Minot State University this fall. She was sponsored by TNT Gymnastics.

Reding is the daughter of Lori and Paul Reding. She will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with an undecided major. Her sponsor was Edward Jones.

Kuhl, the daughter of Marianne and Brent Kuhl, will attend St. Catherine University to study to become a registered dietician. Automated Equipment was her sponsor.

Three independent judges selected the winners after spending the weekend with candidates and evaluating their performance in the pageant. Selection was based on poise, communication skills, community involvement, sincerity and personality.

Before the three women were crowned, 2013 Royal Ambassadors Autumn Anderson, Jess Kolsky and Emma Reese gave farewell speeches that included some words of advice for their successors.

“Let your smiles shine bright tonight, no matter what,” Kolsky told the candidates.

“To the girls crowned, your faces will get used to all the smiling. I promise.”

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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