This year's Miss America title was given to Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler. The 23-year-old won the pageant on Saturday, January 14 in Las Vegas, coming home with a $50,000 prize which she will use as scholarship to become a lawyer, specializing in helping children of incarcerated adults.
It was down between Kaeppeler and Miss Oklahoma, Betty Thompson. The former was asked whether peagant contestants should share their political affiliation. Kaeppeler said, "Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well."
Meanwhile, Thompson answered a question about kids' health. "I believe that parents should be the ones who are teaching their children how to eat and then it wouldn't be the government's responsibility to step in," she said.
Kaeppeler sang opera in the talent section, strutted in white bikini during swimsuit contest and wore back beaded gown in nightgown contest. "I was crying even before my name was called," Kaeppeler said backstage after the show. "It was just surreal to have this honor." She vowed to help kids whose parents are behind bars. Her own father, Jeff, spent 18 months in a federal prison for mail fraud.