Teaching times two


Used with permission by by Shannon Rook

Shannon Rook (left) alongside LHS alumni Whitney Werner (right) to whom she handed down her pageant title.

Elana Bishop, Staff Writer

Shannon Rook, a fellow LHS Staff Member, dated her “pageant life” back to the late 90s. She was selected as Northern State Snow Queen and named second runner-up at the annual South Dakota Snow Queen Festival, both of which take place in Aberdeen, SD.

In 2013, Rook competed for Mrs. South Dakota International and ended up winning and claiming her title. During her reign, she was able to advocate for the mental health and well-being of children and teens. Wanting to set a good example for her community, Rook hired a coach so that she could “do it right” as she felt a bit out of practice and had only previously been Snow Queen. With help and direction, she learned from her coach who had practice as former Miss SD USA. After her coach stepped down, Rook undertook her responsibilities by stepping into her coach’s position, the beginning of Rook’s coaching career. 

Rook’s biggest obstacle was balancing everything between pageant and family life. Instead of viewing them as two different clashing lifestyles, she combined them and brought her kids to volunteer, to ride with Rook in parades, and to do as much as they could with her.

Since then, Rook has taken some time off to finish college and start her career. Although, she has not left the pageant scene as she was Queen’s Activities Chair and has stepped into judging both local competitions, Junior Snow Queen Festival for freshmen and the Senior Snow Queen Festivals. Rook has also judged other pageant systems throughout the Midwest as well as festivals such as Montevideo Fiesta Days and Glenwood Wateramma.

“Pageant life” can be stereotyped as a toxic competitive environment for young girls and a majority of people tend to not take the leap of faith into competing.

“My advice to younger girls would be to go for it. I have always told those who are afraid of ‘failing’ that not taking the chance and looking back and asking ‘What if?’ would probably be considered a bigger failure to them in the future,” said Rook.

The disclaimer Rook gives every client is that she is here to help them be the best versions of themselves ande prepare them for every component of competition, allowing them to go out,give it their all and have no regrets. 

“That’s all you can do, as pageantry is very subjective… you can go out the next week and do the same thing with a different panel of judges and have a totally different outcome, you just have to roll with the punches,” said Rook.