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Miss Friona pageant is a long-standing tradition

Have you ever dreamed of being Miss Friona? Here is your chance to shine.

The Friona Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture is looking for young women to participate in the 2016 Miss Friona pageant on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the Friona High School auditorium. Participants must be sophomore, junior and senior girls. Deadline to sign up is Wednesday, August 31. Cost to sponsor a Miss Friona contestant is $100 for Chamber members and $125 for non-chamber members.

Being Miss Friona has been passed down from mother to daughter in the example of Kathryn Horton (Gurley) was crowned in 1971 and daughter, Hollis Gurley in 2005. Kathryn also shares Miss Friona history with her sister Sunny Horton who was crowned in 1980. Aunts and nieces shared the crown when Diane Johnston (1982) and Katherine Johnston (2000) and Deirdre Johnston (2007) won. Cousins have shared the crown as well. One example is LaTawn White who was crowned in 1994 and her cousin V’Lesha Wilcox was crowned in 2003.

The pageant began as a pageant for girls from all around the county to be crowned Harvest Queen. Harvest Queens began in 1957 with Betty Agee taking the title. In the years after that the winners were: Celia Berry (1958); Darla Bingham (1959); Joy Ingram (1960); Kay Burleson (1961); Janet Buckley (1962); Sheryl Long (1963); Sandy Beene (1964); Susan Neill (1965); Crista Evans (1966); Paula Fortenberry (1967); Pat Roberts (1968); and Pam Grissom (1969).

The rules were simple in 1958.

1) Contestants must be between the ages of 15 and 22.

2) Must never have been married.

3) Entrants must qualify in two divisions-bathing suits and formal dress revue

Prizes in 1958 were $100 for first; $50 for second; and $25 for third. While the girls changed from their swimsuits, the audience was entertained by the Annual Beard Judging contest.

In 1970, the rules changed and organizers made the contest strictly open to Friona girls. The pageant was renamed the Maize Days Queen contest.

Maize Days Queens who were crowned were: Ann Hurst (1970); Kathy Horton (1971); Carolyn Murphree (1972); Teresa Ingram (1973); Amal Malouf (1974); Nell Fulks (1975); Sharla Benge (1976); Debbie Menefee (1977); Laura Ellis (1978); Sharla Duggins (1979); Sunny Horton (1980); Pennie Weatherly (1981); Diane Johnson (1982); and Kriste Herring (1983).

In 1984, the pageant was renamed the Miss Friona contest. Nikki Osborn (1984) was officially crowned the first Miss Friona. Those that followed were: Sonia Lafuente (1985); Christy Jordan (1986); Sindy Preston (1987); Deena Willard (1988); Kelley Cash (1989); and Amy Israel (1990).

In 1991, the pageant was cancelled due to low participation. They needed 15 girls to be contestants and fell short.

The contest was restarted in 1992 with Freda LaFuente being crowned Miss Friona. Since then Friona has had the following Miss Friona’s: Lana Fangman (1993); LaTawn White (1994); Mary Frances Cass (1995); Sheila Wiseman (1996); Kayla Wyly (1997); Tania Hand (1998); and Crystal Morton (1999).

The new millennium began with Katherine Johnston being crowned in 2000. Following her were: Candace Ingram (2001); Haleigh Herbert (2002); V’Lesha Wilcox (2003); Kristin Butman (2004); Hollis Gurley (2005); Hanna Stovall (2006); Deirdre Johnston (2007); Keeley Dunnam (2008); Paige Herbert (2009); Brittny Herbert (2010); Kalley Preston (2011); Kendall Kimbrough (2012); Mykelti Rhodes (2013); and Kendall Barnett (2014).

Taylor Stallings was crowned Miss Friona in 2015 and will be on hand to crown the next Miss Friona on September 10.

Today the prizes are called scholarships with the newly crowned Miss Friona receiving a $1,000 scholarship. First runner up will receive a $700 scholarship, second runner will receive a $500 scholarship; third runner up, fourth runner up and Miss Congeniality will receive $100 scholarships each.

This is a long-standing and legendary tradition in Friona. Congratulations to all the past winners and all the future winners of this coveted title.