Busy year of reign underway for Czech royalty

Yukon Czech Christmas Market, Ground Hog Dinner among many appearances

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Members of the 2022-23 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty pose for a photo in downtown Yukon: Seated from left, Queen Jayden Mason of Stillwater and Junior Queen Hannah Thomason of Yukon; standing from left, Prince Rex Gering of Oklahoma City and Princess London Lippencott of Mustang. (Photo by Scantling Photography)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Fresh off their coronation, the Oklahoma Czechs’ new royal court have a busy holiday season ahead as they start making appearances to promote their culture and traditions.

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The 2022-23 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty were crowned Oct. 1 during the 56th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival in Yukon:

  • Queen Jayden Mason of Stillwater, daughter of Earl and Jamie Mason.
  • Junior Queen Hannah Thomason of Yukon, daughter of Melody Duty and Todd Thomason.
  • Princess London Lippencott of Mustang, daughter of Sarah Lippencott and Coby Lippencott.
  • Prince Rex Gering of Oklahoma City, son of Rob and Rachel Gering.

“Every one of them is very, very sharp,” Oklahoma Czechs’ royalty coordinator Debbie Kessler said. “They’ve each received awards at their school for their service and scholarship.”

This marks the first time that all four “royals” are active members of the Oklahoma Czech Folk Dancers. As such, it hasn’t taken much time for them to “gel” as a group.

“These kids are definitely involved in our Czech activities and keeping things alive in Yukon with our Czech heritage and the festival,” Kessler said. “They’re already familiar with each other since all four of them are dancers.

“They may live in different towns, but all have that common thread of our heritage and being involved in our heritage activities in Yukon. … These kids are already part of that ‘Czech family’.”

Queen Jayden has achieved another “first” – becoming the first royalty winner to be crowned princess, junior queen and queen.

“She’s just as cute now as she was when she was a little princess,” Kessler pointed out. “She is going to turn a head everywhere she goes.

“The thing about Jayden is, she is just as sweet on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside.”

As Oklahoma’s Czech Queen, Jayden will be eligible to compete at the 2023 Miss Czech-Slovak USA Pageant in Wilbur, Neb.

Prince Rex’s family is an Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. legacy, with his mother being a past junior queen, his uncle a past prince and grandfather serving previously as the organization’s president.

Rex’s two brothers and sister also competed in this year’s Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Pageant.

Royalty members are required to participate in at least 10 events during their year of reign.

“By the time the year is over, they’ll have done twice that many – if not more,” Kessler pointed out. “They really want to serve. They want to ‘get out there’ and do things.”

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MORE TO COME …

The Oklahoma Czechs’ 2022-23 Royal Court already has completed their official photo shoot, on the same day they had pictures taken around Yukon. Among featured backdrops was the new “Yukon Sunset” mural on Main Street.

Royalty members also participated in last Saturday night’s annual Halloween Dance at Yukon Czech Hall.

Yukon Main Street’s annual “Czech Christmas Market” on Saturday, Dec. 3 is just one of many upcoming activities for this year’s royalty. Their fall schedule features Veterans Day parades in El Reno and Norman and about five Christmas parades in Guthrie, Stockyards City and several other communities.

In 2023, this Czech quartet will make appearances at other special events and celebrations, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras dances at Yukon Czech Hall and more parades.

They will even help serve food during Yukon’s annual Ground Hog Dinner at the First United Methodist Church, which support local missions and service projects.

For Kessler, the highlight is when the reigning royalty visit Yukon schools to promote the annual Oklahoma Czech Festival. This typically happens right before Czech Day as they prepare to end their year-long reign.

“That’s a great farewell party,” Kessler said.

Oklahoma Czech’s royalty coordinator, who grew up in Yukon, thanked the annual pageant sponsors – YNB Bank, Metro Sign, Yukon Czech Hall, and Scantling Photography.

Anyone interested in having the 2022-23 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Royalty appear at a local event should e-mail okczechslovakpageant@gmail.com

“We’re always looking for something new to do,” Kessler concluded.

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