By Conrad Dudderar
With the reigning Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty in Nebraska this weekend for the 61st Annual Wilber Czech Days, contestants are being recruited for this fall’s Czech royalty pageant in Yukon.
The 2021-22 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty are Queen Anna Sedivy-Thompson of Edmond, Junior Queen Aspen Hein of Yukon, Princess Kennedy Myrick of Yukon, and Prince Seth Pruett of Prague.
Sedivy-Thompson is competing Saturday and Sunday in the National Miss Czech-Slovak Pageant in Wilber, Neb.
“All our royalty will attend the Wilber Czech Festival; they’ll be in parades and other events as well,” Oklahoma Czechs’ pageant director Debbie Kessler said. “We’ll be there rooting for our Queen Anna in the two-night pageant. The new queen, first runner-up and second runner-up will be crowned about 10 o’clock Sunday night.
“Wilber is a little town in the middle of a cornfield about 45 minutes south and west of Lincoln, Neb.”
A University of Oklahoma graduate, Sedivy-Thompson has made trips to the Czech Republic and visited the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. during her year of reign.
(Read more about Oklahoma’s Czech-Slovak Queen in an upcoming edition of The Yukon Progress)
Kessler is awaiting applications to be returned for the 2022-23 Czech-Slovak royalty competition, which will highlight the 56th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival in Yukon.
Completed applications are due by Aug. 15 – and no late entries will be accepted.
“I’ve sent out quite a few applications,” said Kessler, in her fourth year as pageant director. “This is the time of year people really start to work on their applications and get them turned in. I never know exactly what to expect.”
Contestants will compete for the titles of Queen (women ages 17-25), Junior Queen (girls ages 11-16), Prince (boys ages 5-10), and Princess (girls ages 5-10).
“It looks like it will turn out to be a pretty big year for Junior Queen, Prince and Princess contestants,” Kessler noted. “One family told me all three of their boys wanted to run together for Prince. And they have a big sister who is willing to run for Junior Queen.
“Could you imagine one family with four kids in the pageant? We’ll see. I haven’t received any applications yet.”
To request a copy of pageant rules and guidelines, email the pageant director at firstname.lastname@example.org
YUKON PAGEANT SEPT. 25
The 2022 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty Pageant will be staged Sunday, Sept. 25 inside historic Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N Czech Hall Road.
The competition will feature private interviews with judges, on-stage interviews with an emcee, modeling of kroj (native attire), and entertainment.
Contestants’ family members and the public will be invited to watch the pageantry.
The pageant director does not expect any COVID-induced restrictions like 2021 when the pageant was live-streamed and only family was allowed inside Yukon Czech Hall.
The Sept. 25th pageant time won’t be determined until applications are submitted and organizers know how many candidates will compete.
The 2022-23 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak royalty winners will be crowned about 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1 outside the Oklahoma Czechs Building, 5th and Cedar.
“That’s the last activity under the ‘big tent’,” Kessler said.
The announcement of the new Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Queen, Junior Queen, Prince, and Princess will culminate Oklahoma Czechs’ featured activities in downtown Yukon.
A royalty coronation ball, featuring live music and dancing, will follow from 5:30 p.m. to midnight back at Yukon Czech Hall.
Kessler is well familiar with the royalty pageant competition, having vied for Oklahoma Czech Queen while in high school.
Back then, there was only a Queen competition. The Junior Queen, Prince and Princess divisions were added later.
Kessler realizes the importance of celebrating Oklahoma’s Czech culture and heritage.
“I see it as an enriching experience for the youth,” she said. “I identify with that because I grew up in Yukon with the festival and the pageant.”
For the pageant director, a highlight of the royalty’s year of reign is visiting Yukon schools right before Czech Day.
Royalty members talk with students in the classroom and address school assemblies.
“We get to teach these children the history – why Czech people came over and how they helped settle in the Land Run,” Kessler shared. “We let them know why we have this huge celebration each fall in Yukon.”
Music teachers help their students prepare for the annual festival by teaching them Czech folk music and dances, she added.