As Destin Kincer’s whirlwind year as Miss Kentucky USA comes to an end, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has erected road signs in Letcher County in her honor.
“It’s a great Christmas present,” said Kincer, of Little Cowan. “I’m so appreciative.”
The 22-year-old University of Kentucky student credits her mother, Mitzi Kincer, and Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward for initiating the idea of putting signs at the Harlan and Knott county and Virginia state lines. When entering Letcher County, motorists will now see a new sign located underneath the green Letcher County sign. The signs, which were installed Dec. 22, have the inscription “Home of Destin Elaine Kincer, 2014 Miss Kentucky USA.”
“When I come home from school, I’ll see it,” said Kincer. “It’s really amazing.”
Kincer’s dream came true around midnight on January 12 when she won the coveted title of Miss Kentucky USA at the Ursuline Arts Center in Louisville.
Most pageant winners take a year off from school, but the pre-med major remained enrolled as a fulltime student at UK.
“I have learned very good time management skills because going to school at the University of Kentucky and being Miss Kentucky at the same time was more than a fulltime job to me,” she said. “Sometimes I was super stressed out about it and I would get down. I would call Mom or I would call Dad and I would talk to them and they’d be like ‘What you are doing right now is such an honor.’”
Kincer stayed busy studying for classes and attending events as Miss Kentucky USA.
“Just to say I did it all was so rewarding,” said Kincer.
In March, Kincer met fashion designer Sherri Hill who created a white mermaid gown for Kincer to wear in the Miss USA pageant.
May 3, Kincer attended the Kentucky Derby for the first time. Kincer’s experience was probably different than most Derby goers since she met celebrities and walked on the red carpet, which she pointed out is actually blue because Kentucky is “the Bluegrass State.”
“ That was my favorite event of all,” said Kincer.
She flew to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by herself in late May for preliminary events leading up to the Miss USA pageant. Contestants attended nearly 30 events the first week in Baton Rouge, Kincer said. She enjoyed meeting Giuliana Rancic, co-anchor of E! News and spending time with other Miss USA contestants.
“It was crazy hectic for three weeks,” said Kincer. “You do so many things in that short period of time. We did a lot of cool stuff. It was a great experience.”
Kincer wasn’t anxious to take center stage on national television on June 8.
“When I walked on stage I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” said Kincer. “I was the first one to walk my group down the stage. It was so much fun.”
Her mother and aunt, Debbie Frazier, drove to Louisiana to watch Kincer compete in the Miss USA pageant. About 20 family members from Oklahoma as well as her boyfriend Forrest Smith and his family were also in attendance.
“My mom and Aunt Debbie made big signs,” said Kincer. “They had to go all out for it. It was a lot of fun. I was waiting on stage and I looked up there and saw the blinky signs.”
Kincer said her family has been supportive of her throughout her tenure as Miss Kentucky USA.
“She (Mitzi Kincer) gives me the best advice,” said Destin Kincer. “She definitely is my mentor and best friend.”
Destin Kincer said her father, Stephen Kincer, is laid back and “keeps everything mellow.” Her brother, Dylan, is her funny supporter, Kincer said.
“He would make a joke at every hard moment,” she said.
Kincer was surprised by the outpouring of support she has received from Letcher County residents.
“I knew that my closest family and friends would be a huge support system,” said Kincer. “You would be amazed by the people who sent me Facebook messages.
It made me feel really special.”
She said she read Facebook comments while getting ready for the Miss USA pageant.
“Even a like on Facebook means a lot when you are stressed out at Miss USA,” said Kincer. “Even when I was getting my hair done I remember sitting there and reading the comments from people. It was really sweet.”
On January 11, 2015, she will crown a new Miss Kentucky USA in Louisville.
“This year I get to just have fun, sit back and relax,” said Kincer, who is looking forward to encouraging Miss Kentucky USA contests during the week of the pageant.
Kincer has mixed feelings about finishing her year as Miss Kentucky USA.
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she said. “I’m ready to move onto the next step in my life, whether it is becoming a doctor or doing modeling stuff. I have always thought about that.”
Kincer will miss being the current Miss Kentucky USA.
“It is sad to give it up,” said Kincer. “I had so many amazing opportunities as Miss Kentucky. I’ll always be Miss Kentucky 2014. No one can ever take that away from me.”