BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Sunday night, Kalie Wright of Eagle Bend was crowned Miss Minnesota USA.

But another exceptional contestant won two very special honors, as well.

Mikayla Holmgren is the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the pageant. She took home the Spirit of Miss USA award, and the Director's Award.


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KARE 11 sat down with Holmgren, a Bethel University student, earlier this year to hear her story.

This is the second year in a row this pageant has had contestants blazing the trail for change. Last year, a young woman competed in her hijab and burkini.

"I think it says a lot about the people and the community here," said Denise Wallace-Heitkamp with the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant. "And I think it says a lot about the families here and the young people they're raising, you know, that those young people see themselves as being able to be the first."

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