OK Czech-Slovak Pageant returns Sept. 26 to Yukon

Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. seeks contestants; applications due Aug. 15

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The reigning Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty are: From left, From left, Queen Emily Cole, Prince Connor Imhoff, Junior Queen Kinzey Shirazi, and Princess Lola Mae Yanda. They were crowned as the 2019-20 royalty and agreed to continue their reign for a second year when the 2020 Oklahoma Czech Festival was canceled. (Photo provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Contestants are needed for the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty Pageant, which will be back this fall in Yukon.

Oklahoma Czech, Inc. will present the pageant Sunday, Sept. 26 inside Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N Czech Hall Road. The 55th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival also returns to Yukon this year – on the following Saturday, Oct. 2.

Yukon Czech Day festivities were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“We’re happy to announce the return of our Czech-Royalty Pageant,” said Debbie Kessler, Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty director. “We’re now sending out applications.”

Contestants will compete for the titles of Queen (women 17-25), Junior Queen (girls 11-16), Prince (boys 5-10), and Princess (girls 5-10).

The royalty candidates will be judged in several categories during the Sept. 26th pageant at historic Yukon Czech Hall.

“The purpose of the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty Pageant is to represent and promote Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. and Yukon’s Oklahoma Czech Festival,” Kessler explained.

Winners will be crowned on the afternoon of the festival Oct. 2 outside the Czech Building at 5th and Cedar. Yukon Czech Hall traditionally hosts a royalty coronation ball afterward.

Anyone interested in competing in this fall’s Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty Pageant should email Kessler at okczechslovakpageant@gmail.com to request a copy of pageant rules and guidelines and an application form.

Applicants should specify which royalty category they are interested in.

All applications are due by Aug. 15.

“The royalty have an opportunity to participate in various parades and festivals, not only in the Oklahoma City metro area but also around the state and in other states as well,” Kessler said.

“Royalty are required to attend a minimum of 10 events during their year of reign. It’s an enriching year full of fun and service while connecting more deeply with our Czech-Slovak heritage.”

The current Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty will pass their crowns to the new royalty this October.

The 54th annual Oklahoma Czech Festival – in October 2019 – was highlighted by the coronation of Queen Emily Cole of Oklahoma City, Junior Queen Kinzey Shirazi of Edmond, Princess Lola Mae Yanda of Yukon, and Prince Connor Imhoff of Prague.

Because there were no festival or royalty pageant in fall 2020, the 2019-20 royalty agreed to continue serving in 2021.

This marks the first time in the history of Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. that royalty members are serving a two-year reign.

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MAKING APPEARANCES

Members of Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty look for ways to serve the community, according to the royalty director.

“One of our absolute favorite events happens the day before our festival when our royalty visit elementary students at Yukon Public Schools to share Czech-Slovak culture and traditions and to teach the history of Yukon’s Czech Festival,” Kessler said.

“We can usually squeeze in visits to five elementaries between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Our royalty visit classrooms and also address entire school assemblies. They teach numbers and colors in Czech and invite students to dance Czech folk dances with them.”

This past year, Queen Emily spearheaded a toy drive from children at INTEGRIS Children’s Hospital.

“She called it ‘Toys & Kroj’,” Kessler shared. “Kroj (pronounced ‘croy’) is the word for Czech folk costumes.”

Oklahoma’s Czech-Slovak queen will compete this August in the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant in Nebraska. Thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes will be awarded – featuring a trip to the Czech Republic.

In previous years, the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty has waited and bussed tables for the Yukon First United Methodist Church’s Groundhog Day Dinner and packed boxes at a local food bank.

They have presented parties and donation drives for the Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kids Corral, a lodging center for children battling cancer and their families who must travel to Oklahoma City for treatment.

The Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty is available to appear at events.

Anyone interested should contact Kessler at okczechslovakpageant@gmail.com .

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