Miss Georgia was ceremoniously crowned Miss America on September 13, 2015. When announced, she dropped to her knees in awe and wonder, while covering her mouth exclaiming her surprise. An oversized bouquet of red roses was draped into her adjoined hands and a crown pinned to her head. It was all so touching and a bit confusing after just seeing her ask to have the question repeated and then famously botching the answer. Her talent as an operatic singer, however, could not be denied nor could her beauty and genuineness. It was all a bit nostalgic.
Nearly 4 decades ago I was crowned the North Dakota Pork Queen after winning a regional contest as a college student. At the time we had hogs on our diversified farm and I was strongly encouraged to compete. Despite the pig calls and snorts some made when hearing my title, I credit my year serving as the 1979 ND Pork Queen as the foundation of much of my professional success. I was painfully shy and being required to make public appearances and serving as a marketing ambassador for the North Dakota pork industry was instrumental in building my confidence and refining my communication and public relations skills. I rode in parades, made television and radio appearances, and did cooking demonstrations at grocery stores throughout the state. Much like the Miss America organization, I competed at a national level, where the swimsuit competition was replaced with a public speaking and advertising competition. I didn’t win the national title but I sure won in the personal and professional development category. It was an honor to represent the hard-working pork producers of the state and to promote “The Other White Meat.”
Here’s a promotional piece I distributed during my reign. Try it! They’re delicious. October is National Pork Month. Do your part…support the industry by enjoying some delicious pork.
So next time you’re tempted to make fun of pageants or commodity queen contests, consider what these competitions do for the contestants. Not only do many young women fund their educations through these contests but also they grow and develop as young women and tomorrow’s leaders. Have a great year Miss America 2016!
By the way, Miss Georgia 2015 and I had related questions. My pageant question was: “What does 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days represent?” My answer: “The gestation period of a sow.” Correct. What question did Miss Georgia botch-Is Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback, guilty of cheating by deflating footballs, also known as pigskins? You’ll have to decide if her answer was correct or not.
Copyright. September 2015. Linda Leier Thomason.
All rights reserved.