At the conclusion of the statewide competition held in Glasgow this year, 18-year-old Alexis Wineman was crowned as Miss Montana. Wineman is a recent graduate from Cut Bank High School and the daughter of Kimberly Butterworth and Michael Wineman.
Wineman' s selection as Miss Montana is made even more impressive by her own struggle to overcome the stigma of autism.
People with high functioning autism frequently suffer from frequent and intense feelings of loneliness, and may have trouble making and maintaining friendships. Despite this, Wineman, who was diagnosed with the disorder in the seventh grade, won the prestigious competition that requires both poise and confidence.
Wineman said she was a bit "shocked " to win the Miss Montana, especially in her first year of competition. Yet the judges found something compelling in her presentation, a platform of autism awareness entitled, "Normal is just a dryer setting — Living with Autism."Soon after her selection, KXGN reported:
If she were to become Miss America, she would not be the first person with a major disability to earn the crown. The 1995 Miss America was Heather Whitestone, who is hearing-impaired.