Lewistown’s own crowned Miss Teen Montana

Charlie Denison

Lewistown’s own Kristen Durbin was crowned Miss Teen Montana over the weekend, winning the honor over five other applicants from around the state.

Photo by Charlie Denison

“Don’t be afraid to try. Go out and do it and don’t worry about the outcome.”

This is Kristin Durbin’s motto, and one she takes to heart.

On Saturday, in Caldwell, Idaho, the 17-year-old Fergus High School senior was rewarded for taking a risk, as she was crowned Miss Teen Montana, beating out competition from all over the state.

“I thought I’d apply but I didn’t think I’d get it,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy.”

Win or lose, Durbin said she was determined to try, and try she did, taking first place in the application process. Unlike last year, there was no pageant for Miss Teen Montana. There was no talent contest. Instead, all applicants were judged solely on their academic achievements and community involvement.

A cheerleader, singer, Business Professionals of America competitor and Vice President of the FHS Young People in Recovery Club, Durbin is committed to school and community, doing what she can to improve her town and herself. She has many interests, but – as Miss Teen Montana – her focus is to help the community understand the importance of recovery.

“It’s important to me to try and use my title to bring awareness to something like YPR,” she said. “Helping those who have struggled with drug or alcohol abuse is something that has always been important to me. This is a big opportunity and I want to make the most of it. This particular issue has always been important to me. I’ve had friends and family members struggle with drug abuse.”

Durbin said she first heard of Young People in Recovery from her cheer coach, Taylre Sweeney, who is the local chapter coordinator.

“The group has been a great way to get the message out,” Durbin said. “It’s all about social interaction and letting people know it’s OK to need support.”

African American and adopted, Durbin is the first to tell you she’s not the typical Central Montana girl, and she’s liked it that way. She doesn’t want to blend in, and now she’s being rewarded for standing out, which she said makes wearing the sash and crown even more of an honor. Through the year, she hopes she can be an example for others.

“I want to inspire others who feel different,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. You can exceed expectations and social norms.”

Having this opportunity means a great deal, Durbin said, and it also means a lot to her parents, Ed Durbin and Trissy Nave. Her mother now resides in Malta, but her father still lives in Lewistown, and he rode with her to Idaho.

He couldn’t be happier, Durbin added.

“I can’t tell you how many times he’s said, ‘I’m so proud of you,’ the last few days,” she said. “Having support from him and my mother really means a lot. I don’t feel like they’ve frowned upon anything I’ve done.”

Durbin has a particularly special bond with her father, who is blind. When together, she often is his vision.

Excited for the opportunity, Durbin said she looks forward to hopping around the state, making appearances at a variety of events, but she also wants to stay focused on her senior year. After graduation, she plans to go to Montana State University and study pre-law.

“I will do some research and check out some events but mainly I just want people to know I’m available,” she said. “I look forward to seeing where this takes me.”

Still in a little bit of shock, Durbin said she’s not sure what all she has in store as Miss Teen Montana, but she’s ready come what may. She likes to get out of her comfort zone and trying something new. As Miss Teen Montana, she hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“You’ll never regret it,” she said.





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