Area Teen Prepares For National Pageant

Annika Bennion, Sidney, and her fantastic ability of playing the violin will represent eastern Montana this week at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Competition in Orlando, FL.

Bennion, who was crowned Miss Montana Outstanding Teen last July, says the talent portion of the program for her will occur on Wednesday, July 28. She feels her selection of Souvenir D'Amerique by Henri Vieuxtemps works well with her experience of playing fiddle, classical violin and jazz violin. She started playing violin when she was only 5 years old.

"It represents America well," Bennion said. "It has a classical beginning and then goes into Yankee Doodle."

The Sidney teen has been working with her mother, Daniela, regarding her interview skills. Daniela is a former Miss New Mexico USA and graduated from college with a degree in communications and journalism.

Annika describes interview as the most rewarding portion of the competition. "It's a skill you can use for the rest of your life," she noted.

Other portions of the competition include lifestyle and fitness, evening gown and on-stage question.

During her time as Miss Montana Outstanding Teen, she has performed at pageants in Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota and met their current title holders.

"I'm excited to see them at nationals," Bennion said.

She said parts of the competition will be broadcasted through the web. Links should be available on or the Miss Montana Volunteer Program Facebook page. The crowning ceremony will take place on Friday, July 30.

"I think I have what it takes, but I am who I am," Bennion said. She feels pageants are rewarding and plan to continue competing in the future.

While serving as Miss Montana Outstanding Teen, Bennion has been very outspoken against vaping use. The No NicoTeen America, which she was the creator, was the country's first national digital campaign made possible by a grant from The Truth Initiative.

She explains that 25 Montana radio stations ran no-nicotine ads featuring her. Between radio and digital marketing, her message has reached about 500,000 teens nationally.


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