FOND DU LAC — There’s a new Miss Wisconsin—about 6 months after the ceremony.
After winning Miss America, former title-holder Grace Stanke is passing her crown to runner-up Kylene Spanbauer from Fond du Lac.
“I knew Grace was going to do really well in Miss America, but I personally didn't plan for her to win Miss America and what that could mean for me as her first runner-up,” Spanbauer said.
Spanbauer’s grandmother Karen Wallace said they’ve been supportive of Spanbauer’s journey, as she served as Miss Harbor Cities 2022 and Miss Outstanding Teen 2016.
“We had a watch for Miss America and her mom’s and dad’s house, and when everybody screamed because Grace Stanke was Miss America, I was like, ‘We have a new Miss Wisconsin!’” Wallace said.
The new title brings some changes to Spanbauer’s life. Previously, she was working full-time at Reach Counseling in Neenah, providing support to victims of sexual assault. This is related to her social impact initiative as Miss Wisconsin's "No Means No: Sexual Assault Education."
Spanbauer said she hopes to continue to partner with Reach Counseling in her new role.
“Hopefully as Miss Wisconsin, too, I can kind of promote more about sexual assault education and talk about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and what you can do if something like this happens to you,” Spanbauer said.
She said after her time with Miss Wisconsin comes to an end, she wants to continue to work with survivors of sexual assault.
"Essentially, this organization is supposed to be a launching pad for your career, help you kind of network, meet a lot of different people, and also learn all these skills to help further you in your career choice," Spanbauer said.
Unlike her predecessor, Spanbauer said Miss Wisconsin will likely mark the end of her career competing in pageants.
“I still want to stay involved in the Miss Wisconsin organization, and there are so many volunteers that put in so much time and effort and energy,” Spanbauer said. “I really would love to be a part of that volunteerism and maybe, it’d be cool to be on the board of Miss Wisconsin someday.”
In the meantime, she will travel the state making appearances to promote her talent of baton twirling and giving speeches about sexual assault awareness, before crowning the next Miss Wisconsin this summer.