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Miss Missouri USA

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Glenwood graduate Tori Kruse captures coveted crown

By Taylor Lynch

A 2009 Glenwood Community High School graduate is the new Miss Missouri USA.

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Tori Kruse, daughter of Gary and Lori Kruse, was crowned last month at the Miss Missouri USA competition in St. Charles, Mo.

Kruse began pageantry competitions during her first year at the University of Iowa. She started in the Miss Iowa Teen division.

Initially, Kruse thought the experience was simply going to be an avenue to feed her competitive need, but it turned out to be so much more.

“I quickly learned that pageantry was going to be a life-changing experience,” Kruse said. “I learned more than I could have ever imagined about community involvement, public speaking and overall confidence.”

In 2013, Kruse earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in entrepreneurial management from the University of Iowa. She’s working as a freelance sports reporter and a full-time model and has lived in Missouri for four years. Her biography on the Miss Missouri USA website notes that she’s been featured on E! News as a Tresemme model, along with appearing in multiple fashion shows as a runway model for Disneyland, Grayse and Neiman Marcus.

Kruse has been in the Miss Iowa USA and Miss Missouri USA competitions for six years. In that time, she’s placed in competitions and been given many awards, but her crowning achievement came last month. She is now focused on achieving her dream of becoming Miss USA.

“After six years of pursuing this dream, I can definitely say it felt like my time and I am ready for the national stage,” Kruse said.

With the title of Miss Missouri USA, Kruse will be making appearances throughout the state of Missouri visiting various communities, sporting events and speaking with schools and colleges. She’s already made an appearance at a Kansas City Chiefs football game and took part in the Glenwood Homecoming Parade just days after being crowned.

Kruse is passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community. She adores helping children and adults with special needs and she spends her time reading to underprivileged children. Other organizations she volunteers her time and fundraises for are Nurses for Newborns, Habitat for Humanity and KidSmart. She’s had the honor of serving as a sports reporter for the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Kruse has a goal to inspire anyone and everyone. With her new title she wants to continue working with Special Olympics and be able to influence others to become their best and show them what it is to be confident.

“I am an advocate for Special Olympics and plan to speak with young adults on developing the courage and confidence to step past their comfort zone,” Kruse said.

Kruse was crowned alongside Chloe Bartlett, Miss Missouri Teen USA.

Kruse will go on to compete in Miss USA 2018, and if she would win that competition, would go on to compete for Miss Universe 2018.

Her journey has just begun.