Beautiful 23-year-old Kenosha, Wisconsin native Laura Kaeppeler was crowned Miss America 2012 on Saturday night at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, edging out first runner up Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson in the final round of the annual beauty pageant.
Kaeppeler, the first Miss America from the state of Wisconsin since 1972, received a $50,000 scholarship, which she plans to use to put herself through law school and go into politics. She'll also hold the crown until next year's pageant and travel the country as an ambassador of the Miss America Organization, which is the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The organization gave out over $45 million in scholarship assistance in 2011.
Laura received her crown from reigning 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan, named the youngest ever Miss America last year at 17-years-old, along with a huge bouquet of roses.
The event was hosted by Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke
Check out Laura explaining why she should be chosen as Miss America in her pre-show video, complete with Wisconsin accent...
Check out more pics of Laura's big night, including her talent performance and a few of her outfits - including, of course, her photos from the swimsuit part of the competition...
The crowning moment...
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