For more than 50 years, the last weekend in September has been the highlight of the year for candidates who dream of being the next Oklahoma Czech’s Inc.’s royalty.
It’s when young women like Madeline Hecker dream of becoming the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak queen.
This year, another group of young women and boys will find themselves vying for honors to represent Oklahoma.
The annual Czech Pageant is Sunday, beginning at 4 p.m. The event will be held at Czech Hall in Yukon.
Janice Van Brunt, the pageant’s director, said it is an exciting time for the candidates.
Hecker is this year’s queen. She also is the national queen, having won the honor last month at an event in Nebraska.
It’s the first time the Oklahoma Czech queen has won since 1998, said Van Brunt.
“It’s a big deal,” she said.
There are four categories this year: queen, junior queen, princess and prince.
Each category, with the exception of the queen, has multiple contestants.
Madelyn Novosad, 18, of Yukon is the queen-elect.
She is the daughter of Billy Novosad and Sharon Major, of Yukon.
However, Van Brunt said Novosad will go through the process of winning the competition.
That includes a personal interview, a stage interview, modeling the Kroje or costume, and talent.
The queen will receive a $2,000 scholarship as well as a number of prizes. She also will represent Oklahoma at the national event next year.
Contestants for junior queen include Emily Cole, Jayden Mason and Makinzey Shirazi.
Cole, 15, is the daughter of Amy and Phillip Cole of Oklahoma City.
Mason, 13, is the daughter of Jamie and Earl Mason of Oklahoma City.
Shirazi, 13, is the daughter of Lyndsey and Jason Shirazi, of Edmond.
Hopefuls for princess are Maylee Chapman and Harper Horn.
Maylee, 9, is the daughter of Melissa Chapman of Yukon.
Harper, 6, is the daughter of Traci and Jeff Horn of Yukon.
Contestants for prince are Liam Fraser and Garrett William Vause.
Lilam, 5, is the son of Todd and Jamie Fraser of Edmond.
Garrett, , is the son of Jeff and Rene Vause of Tulsa.
The pageants have been going on since 1966, said Van Brunt, who has been involved since 1981.
Van Brunt said there are other pageants throughout the state. However, the Yukon pageant is the official pageant for the national competition. Contestants can come from anywhere in the state, but must be of Czech-Slovac heritage.
While the event is held this Sunday, the winners will not be announced until 4 p.m. Oct. 7 during the Czech Fest in Yukon.