On Sunday, candidates for Czech-Slovak royalty will vie for honors during the 54th annual Czech-Slovak royalty pageant in Yukon, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Czech Hall, 205 N. Czech Hall Road.
The winners will be named the following Saturday during the annual Czech Fest.
The 2018-2019 royalty selected in last year’s pageant have spent the last year representing and promoting Oklahoma Czechs Inc. and the Oklahoma Czech Festival at parades, festivals and other events across the nation.
Queen Jerusha Brown, 24, of Oklahoma City, daughter of Melissa Deitz and Phillip Brown.
Junior Queen Jayden Mason, 15, of Stillwater, daughter of Jamie Mason and Earl Mason.
Prince Garrett Vause, 9, of Tulsa, son of Jeff and Renee Vause.
Princess Molly Pruett, 11, of Prague, daughter of James and Melinda Pruett.
Brown, Mason, Vause and Pruett participated in service projects, such as serving at the annual Groundhog Day Dinner at Yukon First United Methodist Church, collecting wish list items at Toby Keith’s OK Kids Korral and visiting children and their families at the Korral.
This year’s Czech royalty have also visited Yukon elementary schools, sharing the area’s Czech history and aspects of Czech culture and traditions.
Collectively, the group has traveled to seven states, participating in 21 parades, 10 ethnic festivals and seven ethnic pageants. They worked four service events and covered seven Christmas events, as well as other events throughout the state.
Queen Jerusha Brown
Hello. My name is Jerusha Brown, and I’m your 2018-19 Oklahoma Czech Slovak Queen. I am the daughter of Phil Brown and Melissa Dietz (née Shirey).
It has been an honor serving as your queen. I have built several new friendships and gained new experiences but most importantly I have grown to love my heritage even more!
My journey as the Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Queen started at the 2018 Yukon Czech Festival, where I rode in the parade, danced and sang with the Oklahoma Czech Folk dancers and, of course, I was crowned Miss Czech-Slovak Oklahoma.
Later that October, I traveled with my Junior Queen Jayden and 2018 Kolache Queen Julie Brydon to Missouri to visit the St Louis Fall Czech Festival.
I met the Missouri Czech-Slovak Queen and made several new friends.
When Christmas time rolled around, I attended several parades and celebrations around the state including: the Guthrie Territorial Christmas Parade, Norman Christmas Holiday Parade, Devon’s Saturdays with Santa and Stillwater Christmas Parade of Lights.
I even got to meet Santa, and it turns out he is Czech!
In February, the whole royal family volunteered by serving lunch during the annual Groundhog Day Dinner at Yukon’s First United Methodist Church. That evening we hosted a dance at Czech Hall as a fundraiser for the OK Kids Korral.
Also in February, I visited the Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Pageant, where I was given the opportunity to perform my talent for the audience, and I was photographed for a Texas magazine that featured Czech Culture.
Early spring came and so did the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown OKC. I love celebrating my Czech heritage, and the best part of our American heritage is that we all are a mix from different places.
What a great thing to celebrate!
At the St. Paddy’s Parade, we met with a local Scottish society, Irish heritage society and the Prague Kolache Royalty.
At Prague’s Kolache Festival Pageant held at the end of April, I was given the important duty of time keeping while my mother (Yukon Czech Queen 80-81) judged.
During their Kolache Festival the first Saturday in May, I took part in the parade, and I was given the chance to talk to the crowd while introducing my royal family. It was a perfect day spent with friends and family.
Later in May my preparations for the Miss Czech Slovak US pageant began. I continued my travels in Oklahoma, but I also traveled to: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Ennis, Texas; Sugar Creek, Missouri; Tabor, South Dakota; Wilson, Kansas; and lastly Wilber, Nebraska, where I was crowned Miss Czech-Slovak US 1st Runner-Up!
At nationals, I also won the Americanized Kroj Award for the kroj made by my mother and me, which was inspired by our family’s heritage. I also earned a talent award for singing a piece by the famous Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.
None of these accomplishments would have been possible without my amazing sponsors, the Oklahoma Czechs, Inc.
They have given me so much support, and I hope that I have made them proud.
I’d also like to thank Debbie Kessler for being not only the best travel companion, adviser and pageant director, but also one of the dearest friends a girl could ask for.
I can’t forget to thank my family for all they have done. Not just this year, but my whole life. From being my parade drivers, to travel buddies, personal hair dresser, cheerleaders and seamstress. They have been the best at it all!
As I end my year as Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Queen, it’s bittersweet. I will miss the parades and hanging out with my royal family all the time. That is part of growing up, leaving one thing behind for the next adventure … no matter how scary or mysterious those steps might be.
But as I take these next steps into my life, I know that I will always have the support of the Oklahoma Czech Folk Dancers, the Prague Czech community, Oklahoma Czechs, Inc, and my big fat Czech-Slovak family that I have grown so close to this year.
I may be taking off my Oklahoma crown and sash, but I will never stop being an advocate and ambassador for our heritage. Let’s enjoy a kolache and a polka and celebrate our heritage together!
Junior Queen Jayden Mason
Ahoj! (Hello!) I am Jayden Mason, your current 2018-2019 Oklahoma Czech- Slovak Jr. Queen.
This year has brought so many great memories that I will cherish forever. I would like to send a couple of important thank yous.
I want to thank the Oklahoma Czechs. Without their support, none of this would be possible. My sponsor, The Sokol Lodge. My family, for being so supportive and taking me to all the events I was able to be a part of. My Mimi, for working so hard on my beautiful Kroj.
To our pageant director, Ms. Debbie, thank you for all of the time and effort you have poured into the four of us. Your love for our heritage is something I admire and appreciate.
Finally, to my royal family. Garrett, I have had so much fun with you this year. You have such a fun, sweet spirit and a great smile.
You will always be my favorite little polka partner.
To my parade riding buddy Molly, I love your spunky personality. There was never a dull moment and lots of laughs with you. To Jerusha, you have been the best example for the three of us this year. I have loved every minute of getting to serve with you. I was so proud to get to watch you at Nationals; you did an amazing job representing the great state of Oklahoma.
Some of the highlights of my year included:
• Traveling to the St. Louis Czech Fall Festival.
• Participating in nine parades (technically 10 if you count the one when I was running late getting there and had to run through the parade in full Kroj to find our car, only to make the last two minutes of it).
• Volunteering at the Toby Keith Foundation.
• Serving at the Groundhogs Day Dinner, and many fun nights at the Czech Hall.
We all had so much fun and were constantly laughing.
One of our favorite sayings this year “Wait where did Ms. Debbie go?” Or, more often, “Who is Ms. Debbie talking to now?” Overall this has been a year of lasting memories.
Although I am sad to give up my crown, I am very excited for the next group to have the same experiences and form the close bond that we have had.
Dekuji (Thank you.)
Prince Garrett Vause
Hello! My name is Garrett Vause, and I’m the 2018-2019 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Prince. I am the 9-year-old son of Jeff and Renée Vause. I am in the fourth-grade at Jenks Southeast Elementary in Tulsa.
What an awesome year I have had!
My reign started off with lots of parades for the holidays. We were in the Tulsa BooHaHa Parade and Christmas parades in Guthrie and Norman! We really had fun decorating our cars with lights!
A highlight of my year was the Groundhog Day dinner in Yukon. All of the Royal family was there, and we had so much fun serving and meeting people.
Next, I went to Prague to bake kolache with Princess Molly. The Prague Kolache Parade and Festival was a blast! At every parade, we would walk around and meet the other parade entries. So cool!
I loved passing out candy in the parades and wearing my awesome royal cape! After that was the Edmond Libertyfest Parade on the 4th of July.
My favorite part of my year was the trip to Wilbur, Nebraska, for the National Czech Festival!
I loved the Children’s parade on Friday night, and Princess Molly and I rode scooters in it…..in our Kroj!!!
I loved the entire festival, including two parades, one in pouring rain and one in the blazing heat! The best part was supporting Queen Jerusha as she did an amazing job competing and won 1st Runner Up to Miss Czech-Slovak US!
I am proud to wear my Kroj at parades and appearances, and I loved designing it and picking all of it out, including a picture of Captain America, which is hidden in my vest and hat.
I love my royal family and their families! Spending time with Queen Jerusha, Junior Queen Jayden and Princess Molly has been so much fun.
We truly are a family!
I’d like to thank Oklahoma Czechs, Inc. for allowing me to serve as Prince! It was an honor to serve as my Uncle Kevin did as Prince and my Mom as Queen.
Thank you to Princess Molly and her family for the parade truck for so many of the parades!
Thank you especially to my amazing director, Debbie Kessler, for everything you’ve done for me and the Royalty Program! You’re the best!
Thanks to my Mom and Dad for taking me to all of my events! We traveled over 3,600 miles together!
Thanks to my “Parade Posse” – Gommy, Nana, Papa, Uncle Kevin, Aunt LeaAnn and Emily and especially my big brother, Mitchell! Thanks for being Czech, Gommy!
I will never forget this year of service as your Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Prince!
Princess Molly Pruett
Ahoj! I am Molly Pruett, your 2018-2019 Oklahoma Czech-Slovak Princess. I am 10 years old and attend school at Prague. I have had a great year representing Oklahoma and my Czech heritage this past year.
I would like to thank my parents, James and Melinda Pruett, and my brother, Seth. I would like to thank my grandmother Lena Pruett for her love of polka and for teaching me how to dance. I would like to thank my Grandparents, Frank and Jeanie Williamson for coming to parades and for my family and friends for all their support.
I would like to thank our wonderful pageant coordinator, Debbie Kessler, for taking care of me and the other royals.
I would like to thank Ms. Elaine Benda for teaching me Czech and new Czech dances. I would like to thank my Grandmother Jeanie for my beautiful Kroj! I would also like to thank Klazbzuba Brothers LLC. for sponsoring me.
I have done many things this year as princess. Going to Wilber, Nebraska, to participate in the National Czech Festival and being able to see Jerusha Brown be crowned Miss Czech Slovak US First Runner up.
I enjoyed Prague’s Kolache Festival and Edmond’s Libertyfest Parade.
I have enjoyed all the times and parades with my royalty.
I wish all the 2019 candidates good luck! I look forward to seeing everyone at the Oklahoma Czech Festival.