Rose Dahle thinks the ride is just beginning.
Something tells the pageant coordinator for Miss Kauai and Miss Garden Isle that this isn’t the last chapter to the story.
Miss Paradise Kauai Stephanie Steuri, Dahle knows, can still take it to a whole other level.
“I really think we have a Miss America,” Dahle said about Steuri, of Kalaheo, who was crowned Miss Hawaii 2014 Saturday night at the Hawaii Convention Center and will now head to the national competition in the fall. “She is that good.”
The 20-year-old Island School alumna beat 14 other contestants for the title. Steuri, a biology student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, won the swimsuit and talent competition to secure the 68th annual scholarship pageant, the first Kauai winner since Marlene Kalahiki 42 years ago.
“It was a whole bag of mixed emotions,” Dahle said of reaction by friends and family at the event. “But I can tell you, as the night went on and I kept watching her, I knew she would make” it.
“I looked over and said, ‘She’s going to win this,” Dahle said. “I just knew. I started shaking and crying and the whole table just looked at me and I kept telling them, ‘She’s gonna win this.’”
Around 1,000 people watched the pageant live. Steuri couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday, a day she spent touring hospitals, sitting in planning meetings and every thing else that comes with earning the state crown, Dahle said. She said Steuri plans to be back on island today.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said.
First runner-up was Miss Waikiki Ka’iulani Carr. Miss Kona Coffee Jeanne Kapela finished second runner-up; Miss Diamond Head Chelsea Clement, third runner-up and Miss East Oahu Kelly Simek, fourth runner up.
Now, Steuri will spend the summer preparing for the Miss America 2015 Competition Sept. 14 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“She was a joy to work with, really a joy to work with,” Dahle said. “She took everything in stride, all the suggestions. She never once, ever, said, ‘No, I don’t want to do that. She was awesome, an awesome girl to work with.”