The beauty queen says "yes" to boyfriend Brian Irk one night before handing over her crown

By Elaine Aradillas
Updated January 30, 2010 02:00 PM
B. Vartan Boyajian

Miss America is about to turn in one crowned jewel for another.

Katie Stam, who turns over her crown Saturday to a new beauty queen, got engaged Friday night. Her fiancé Brian Irk, a personal trainer from Indiana, proposed in front of more than 600 guests during a fundraiser gala.

“I started hyperventilating because I was so excited,” she said about the proposal. “He dropped down on one knee and he said ‘I love you so much. Will you be my Miss America forever?'”

Stam, 24, who has served as Miss America for 2009, says she woke up and wondered if it had been a dream.

“This morning, I pulled my hand up from underneath the covers and stared at my ring for a little bit,” she said about her emerald-cut sparkler.

The couple plans to return home to Indianapolis and hope to plan for a fall wedding.

“It’s bittersweet but being engaged and going back to Indiana knowing that I’m engaged to the man that I love, makes it really special and makes it easier to let go of being Miss America. I’m kind of trading one in for the other,” she says.

The 2010 Miss America Pageant, live from Las Vegas, starts at 8 pm EST Saturday on TLC.