Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty reflect, anticipate

One year down, one to go as reign is extended

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Members of the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty “mask up” as only they can as they pose for photos in front of Yukon Czech Hall, 201 N Czech Hall Road. (Photo provided)

The Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty look forward to the second year of their reign.

Because there is no Oklahoma Czech Festival and royalty pageant this year in Yukon due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2019-20 royalty has agreed to continue serving in 2021.

QUEEN EMILY COLE

Queen Emily Cole of Oklahoma City.

Ahoj everyone! Although I am sad to not be dancing under the big white tent this year for the annual Oklahoma Czech Festival, I am excited that we are carrying on as many of the traditions we can during a worldwide pandemic. This year has been such a whirlwind for everyone, and the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty is no exception!

I never imagined a year ago that I would have the honor of serving as Miss Czech-Slovak Oklahoma for a second year. Despite the less than perfect circumstances, our Czech-Slovak community here in Oklahoma has done our very best to adapt and overcome, which I think is absolutely amazing.

Last year we kicked off the first ever Toys and Kroj drive at the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty pageant, and we were all thrilled with the generosity of everyone who attended the pageant. We collected over 50 toys to donate to some of the local children’s hospitals.

Unfortunately, COVID 19 has provided some challenges in donating those items, but the royalty are working to get those toys donated in a safe way for everyone involved when we are once again allowed to.

Along with the Czech-Slovak royalty pageant, 2019 and 2020 brought us some events to remember! Some of my favorites included the Kingfisher Christmas Parade, The St. Louis Czech Festival, and of course our very own Oklahoma Czech Festival, where I danced my very first Beseda in front of a crowd.

This may not have been the year we were all expecting to have, but if anything it has blessed us with a greater appreciation and excitement for the things to come in this next year. In a normal year, I would be sharing my experience from the National Czech Festival in Wilber, Neb. where I would have had the opportunity to be a contestant for Miss Czech Slovak US.

Unfortunately, the festival and pageant were both canceled due to COVID 19. I was saddened when I heard this news, but understand that it was safer this way, and am excited to continue the study of my heritage in preparation to attend next year’s pageant!

I would like to thank Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. for allowing me the opportunity to serve another year, my court who always know how to brighten my day, our fabulous pageant director Debbie Kessler for aiding us in whatever we need, and all who support the Oklahoma Czech Festival, and all it stands for.

I would like to invite everyone to mask up, and join us at Czech Hall Saturday, Oct. 3 for dancing, festivities, and a beautiful display of Czech and Slovak culture.

I look forward to spending another year as the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Queen, and the continuous celebration of Czech and Slovak culture in Oklahoma and beyond. Děkuji vám! Thank you all, and I hope to see everyone at the hall!

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JUNIOR QUEEN KINZEY SHIRAZI

Junior Queen Kinzey Shirazi of Edmond.

I had a great time with my court going to parades and making appearances prior to COVID-19 but unfortunately the only time I’ve seen them since March is on Facetime calls.

Although it’s not ideal, I feel lucky we’ve been able to stay in each other’s lives despite not getting to see one another. My favorite event so far has been the Guthrie Christmas parade.

I’m looking forward to what this second term of my reign is going to look like and hopefully I will get to visit other Czech festivals around the United States.

I’m proud to be representing Oklahoma Czechs Inc. as the first-ever junior queen to serve two terms.

PRINCESS LOLA MAE YANDA

My favorite thing about being the Czech Princess is participating in the local parades and getting to know my royal family. I even got to know some of the past royals and they truly inspire me. My favorite parade so far was the Christmas Parade in Guthrie.

Princess Lola Mae Yanda of Yukon.

COVID-19 has really changed our plans for 2020 but we are hopeful that 2021 will bring change and health to our communities so we can resume the festivals and parades. This pandemic has far reaching consequences but as royalty, I feel a deep obligation to my community to help and protect the vulnerable.

When I saw a need in my local community of Yukon for masks this spring, I made masks for the residents at Spanish Cove.

We were anticipating the annual Czech Mass at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church in Yukon but due to current conditions with COVID-19, we will not be able to attend this year..

PRINCE CONNOR BOMHOFF

Ahoy!

Being selected as Oklahoma Czech-Slovak prince has been such an honor and I’m so proud of my Czech heritage! I can’t believe it has already been a year since we were crowned!
The first few months went quickly, and we jumped in and started attending events as a court and had a lot of fun! Then COVID-19 came, and everything changed. Festivals and parades were all cancelled.

Prince Connor Bomhoff of Prague.

We were disappointed and a little scared but hopeful it wouldn’t last long. It really hit hard when first my local Czech hometown, of Prague’s Kolache Festival was cancelled, and then followed by our Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Festival in Yukon.

I thought my short reign as Prince was over, practically before it had even begun. However, I was very excited and honored to be asked to reign an additional year as Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Prince and am looking forward to continuing to do all I can to represent my heritage and keep the Czech and Slovak communities alive and involved.

COVID-19 hasn’t affected my or my family’s lives very much from a day to day standpoint though I understand as a nation and worldwide that it has and is.

As a seventh generation farmer, our lives have had to continue as normal with work and things to be accomplished every day in order to continue to be good stewards of the land and feed America.

Social distancing is a daily norm for most farmers anyways, and that combined with the fact that I am a second generation homeschooler, has made it easier for my family to cope in this time of pandemic without much, if any, change necessary.

So far during my reign my favorite event was our Czech-Slovak Festival last year in Yukon. I love folk dancing and eating lots of kolaches. I look forward to doing both this Saturday at the Yukon Czech Hall and invite you to join us there!

Děkuji Vám.