Norman is crowned Miss Pine River

Klocke serves last year as pageant chair

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2020 Miss Pine River Rylee Norman seems stunned as she is being crowned, while contestant Aurora Melby is excited and Brianna Butricks claps. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

In an unprecedented year that postponed the Miss Pine River Scholarship Pageant because of COVID-19 restrictions, Rylee Norman was crowned Saturday, June 20, at a pageant that was not open to the general public.

First Princess is Jordan Cunningham, who was also recognized as Miss Congeniality. Madison Burnard is Second Princess.

Other candidates were Brianna Butricks, Aurora Melby and Ceyara Brand.

Getting the show on the road had added challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The event was originally scheduled for April 18.

“That was really hard. Considering everything it really went pretty well,” said Barb Klocke, longtime pageant chair who is stepping down from that role.


The event traditionally is held in the Pine River-Backus High School gym; however, renovation of the gym floor necessitated a new venue, in this case the Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River. The new venue had its own challenges as it is just wrapping up reconstruction. Klocke said the carpet and plumbing were completed just in time for the event. In spite of the changes, many things remained the same.

“We did everything we normally do,” Klocke said. “The interviews, business casual, talents and evening gown.”

In the talent portion, Norman performed a flute solo. Cunningham performed a trumpet solo and Burnard did speed painting.

New pageant chairs

“It was bittersweet. I know it's time, but it's still sad,” Klocke said of her last year as pageant chair.

Klocke will still accompany Norman, Cunningham and Burnard for event appearances.

“I'm going to miss working all year long with the girls,” Klocke said. “I'm going to continue finishing this year out with the girls, but then when the next pageant comes I won't be continuing on all summer with them.”

She also plans to remain on the Miss Pine River Scholarship Pageant committee, though next year the chair seat will be split in three with Renee Stranne, Jackie Kline and Gretchen Koering heading the pageant.


Klocke has been on the committee for 40 years and has served as chairwoman for nearly as long, having co-chaired for a few years with Jackie Wetrosky after Wetrosky's co-chair, Sue Stephan, died. Wetrosky stepped down as co-chair approximately 12 years ago.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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