The National Junior Hereford Exposition came fast and quick and was gone in a flash! While everyone was “Kickin it in Kansas” on Monday morning, I was preparing for the first annual National Hereford Queen’s Tea! It was a fun getting to make sandwiches, fruit bowls, and setting up all of the sweets. Luckily, I had the help from my wonderful mother, Sarah Smith (our Texas Polled Hereford Queen), her friend Riley, and Mrs. Barbara Metch. Mrs. Barbara is always there when we need her most and I truly appreciate her friendship. These very helpful ladies helped make the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had. I sat all lonely in the very NEW kitchen of the upstairs part of the stock show center. Thankfully, Mrs. Cindy Lambert wanted to check out what was going on in the kitchen and see what we were making. She ended up helping me clean all of the fruit. Once all the food was prepared, we had to wait to set up the ‘Queen’s Tea’ room because scholarship interviews were going on. While we were waiting patiently and placing food on the plates in particular orders, my lovely queen coordinator Margeaux Firestine and her mother joined us with helping hands! Once the room was open to decorate we all dashed quickly to rearrange tables, chairs, crowns, and food. Thanks to all of my help it looked fantastic and for our new Texas Hereford Queen Kim Wilson and her sweet mom for pitching in last minute! After we set up everything, I went and put on my queen outfit and prepared for the Queen’s Tea I had ahead of me. Once I stepped foot outside of the changing room, I ran into Miss Diane Johnson, owner of Details by Design and the speaker for our etiquette session. Ms. Johnson and I discussed what would be talked about during the etiquette session and how excited she was for my tea! Sooner than I would have imagined, people started showing up; little girls in their Sunday best with big bows following their mothers, anxious to get attention from one of the many queens. I started off the tea by introducing myself as the National Hereford Queen and giving a brief history of my travels since I was crowned in October of last year in 2010. After speaking, I introduced Ms. Diane Johnson who gave an overview to the girls about where to put their napkins and the different foods that are normally served for an ‘English Tea.’ Once the food was discussed, everyone got in line to get fill thier plates with our wonderful goodies and sat down for a little more etiquette. I then had the honor of introducing all of the state queens. They all stood up at the front and said their name and state. Finally at the end of my tea, all the little girls in attendance got an autographed photo of myself, and the chance to have their picture taken with either myself or any of the Hereford Queens in attendance. This final part of the tea I thought was really special. I felt that overall this first National Hereford Queen’s Tea was a true success! (The wonderful Arkansas girls) (The lovely Texas girls) (This picture is simply adorable!)
Immediately after the Tea, we had a State Queen’s Orientation, which in a nutshell is where we told everyone who was a queen in attendance what to expect for the upcoming week. Serving as a state queen at our Jr. National Hereford Expo is quite an undertaking with long hours in the show ring and an audience who watches you every move. It’s important to not only assist in the ring with walking in the classes of outstanding Hereford/Polled Hereford cattle, but be ready to assist in the award pictures and be a spokesperson at a moment’s notice if you are asked to be. Each girl realizes that their judges may be in the stands and they take their rolls very seriously.
I appreciate everyone who came to my tea; the over eighty-eight in attendance! I felt it was my way to give back and hold a special event for our special little girls and big girls in our association. A special thank you for my parents, Scott and Alise Nolan for hosting this event under our ranch name, Nolan Herefords. Thank you also to those National Hereford Women in attendance. And to all the girls in attendance, I hope that you one day will consider running for National Hereford Queen. It’s been an absolute thrilling experience all year to represent the best breed of cattle in the nation - Herefords!
After a long day of being with our glamorous queens, we had state pictures and opening ceremonies. I had the honor of walking in with Rossie Blinson, National Junior Hereford President, holding our American flag. Rossie and I were the first to walk out into the empty show ring with the stands full of parents and exhibitors. We made our way to the center of the arena and Rossie sang the 'Star Spangled Banner' with that beautiful voice of hers! After the National Anthem, everyone started to walk in with their state flags with exhibitors following. It took some time to get everyone in the ring, but once we did the rest of opening ceremonies began. Awards were given to those juniors exhibiting in their last Jr. Nationals and sponsors were recognized. Towards the end of opening ceremonies the National Hereford Women sponsored a raffle for a free Hereford heifer. I had the honor of drawing our lucky winner Brady Jensen of Kansas! After Brady's name was chosen, the opening ceremonies came to a close. Directly following opening ceremonies, it was time for our annual dance with kids of all ages. We always have a blast!
The first official day at Jr. Nationals will always be near and dear to my heart when I reflect back on my time as National Hereford Queen. It was a fun day filled with not only our first National Hereford Tea, but our great opening ceremonies kicking off the greatest Jr. Nationals in our great nation!