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Congratulations to the newest member of the Texas Watermelon Association family, Veronica!

Veronica with NWA President and First Lady.

Veronica was crowned 2011 Texas Watermelon Queen on January 22nd in McAllen, Texas.

TX Watermelon Queens '11, '10, '09, '07, '06 & '05

Congratulations and enjoy your reign Veronica!

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With a new year comes a new TWA convention and a new Texas Watermelon Queen…and I get the new title of “Texas Watermelon Queen Has-Been.”

But it’s OK, because it HAS BEEN an amazing year and a wonderful experience representing the Texas Watermelon

A Texas Watermelon Queen in the making.

Association.  I feel so blessed to have been granted this opportunity and I’m so very thankful to all those who made it possible.  I can honestly say that this experience was more than I could have ever wished for.  All the things I learned, the memories that were created and the relationships that I formed all have a special place in my heart.

This year’s convention was so much fun for me because it felt like I was at a family reunion…and let me tell you my watermelon family is BIG!  It felt so good being able to see everyone in the association that I had worked with during the past year all in one place.  It was also a very emotional weekend for me because although I was so happy to pass on the title and experiences to a new young lady, I still wasn’t ready to be done with my duties as TWA Queen.

The lovely contestants.

I’m so thankful for the three lovely ladies that showed interest in the program and competed for title of Texas Watermelon Queen.  It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of a crowd of people and essentially “sell yourself.”  However, you all did a wonderful job and I especially applaud you for doing so on such short notice.

Special thanks are due first of all to Mrs. Wanda.  We had the busiest year ever working for TWA and we sure did rack up the miles!  I’m so thankful for all that she taught me, for putting up with me and for being the best travel companion anyone could ever ask for.

Special thanks also goes to the National Watermelon Promotion Board.  They kept me very busy this year and I loved every minute of it!

Love all of them!

I especially want to thank the Texas Watermelon Association and EVERYONE in it!  I consider them to be like my extended family because they welcomed me with open arms and taught me so much about the industry.  They’re also great when you have a flat tire (i.e. Teretha & Lacy)!  I personally want to thank Ranell, Gigi, Holley, Tony, Cheryl and Tiffany, Teretha and Lacy, Mrs. Connie & Mackie, Mr. DeRoy and Mrs. Gerry, Mr. Troy, Mrs. LaWanda and Aaron, and – to cover all of them in a few words- the Wiggins crew!  They all were with me during some of my most memorable promotions and I’m so thankful to have created memories with each of them.

Last but certainly not least, special thanks to my family for loving me and supporting me in all my endeavors. I try not to brag, but I think I have the best family ever!  And most importantly, I want to thank our Lord for blessing my life with such a wonderful experience and wonderful people.  None of this could be possible without You.

So, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Old queen, queen mum, new queen!

Congratulations to the newest member of the TWA family, 2010 Texas Watermelon Queen Mariana!

Mariana, I know you will make an excellent representative for the association and I’m so excited for you!  The journey you have before you is one you will never forget and although it can be tough at times, I promise it’s worth it.  If you ever need anything, you know where to reach me.

CONGRATULATIONS MARIANA!

But wait! There’s more!

On February 17th – 20th I travel to Dallas for the National Watermelon Convention where all the state watermelon queens will compete for the title of National Watermelon Queen.  I will try my best to Tweet about the convention while I’m there and to write a post once it’s all over.  And who knows, maybe my watermelon travels aren’t over just yet.

Click here to see pictures from the 2010 TWA Convention!

Just as I thought that my watermelon travels were over for the year, I got a frantic call from Mrs. Wanda asking me if I had a passport.  Luckily for me, I had one- which was great because we were soon going to Guadalajara, Mexico for promotions!

Con Marta y Rocio.

We were in Guadalajara October 25th through the 28th and had promos in six different Wal-Mart stores around the city.  The first day we met Rocio and Marta with Grupo PM who gave us a tour of the city and would be with us the entire trip. I was even given a new banner in Español to wear- it said, “Reina Texana de la Sandia.” I loved it!

Rocio & I with the hosts of La Revista.

The second day I made a TV appearance on TV Azteca’s popular morning show, La Revista.  I wished I was more fluent in Spanish, but luckily Rocio is a very good translator.  Then we were off to Wal-Mart for promotions and we brought a team, too. Each in-store promotion had a lovely booth where culinary students were making carvings out of watermelons.  We were also joined by Chef Giuseppe from Mexico City who could really sell a watermelon! Every time someone stopped by our booth they left with a watermelon. Rocio, Marta and Juan Carlos were also a great help.

By the last store we visited I felt a little more comfortable with

The Sandia Team

my Spanish and started talking to more people.  I really didn’t want to leave though- I was just getting the hang of everything!  Despite the language barrier, I had a great time and was so glad to see how enthusiastic the consumers were about watermelons.

REALLY BIG THANKS are due to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, who worked with Grupo PM, and to Rocio and Marta who made me feel so welcome and showed me an amazing time in Mexico.

To see more photos click aquí!

The day after my birthday I hopped on a plane and made my way to Cal-I-forn-I-A!  I met Mrs. Wanda in Anaheim on October 2nd through the 4th for the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention.  Along with the beautiful, humidity-free weather, I was especially excited to see all the queens and coordinators once again.

Watermelon Queens at PMA

See, Longhorns & aggies can work together...most of the time.

Richard de Los Santos was a neighbor to the Texas Watermelon Association booth at the convention, as well as some familiar faces from Rio Queen Citrus that I met while lobbying in D.C.  Ward Thomas had plans to broadcast the college football games that day at our booth but unfortunately the TV’s wouldn’t work.  However, we didn’t need the TV’s to attract people because we made really neat luggage tags that said “I love Texas Watermelons,” for everyone that stopped by.

Madonna parties with watermelon people.

Although I wished I could have stayed longer in California I had such a great time with everyone at the convention and I’d like to thank the Texas Watermelon Association and NWPB for making it a wonderful experience.

Click here to see more photos from my trip to the Golden State.

The Saturday after the State Fair I went to HEB in San Antonio for a different kind of fair- the HEB Watermelon Fun Fair!  Gordon Hunt with NWPB, Marcia Adler and the wonderful people of HEB organized lots of fun activities for the day, including a watermelon eating contest and coloring contest for kids.

However, the biggest crowd pleaser was the seed spitting contest in which Jaime with HEB used an AstroTurf mat with white yard lines and miniature footballs to mark the farthest seeds. The next day we all made our way to Round Rock’s HEB for more seed-spitting action and sampling of delicious watermelons. The Watermelon Fun Fair was a lot of FUN and it was great to see how excited the participants got for the contests.  Special thanks to Marcia Adler and NWPB, as well as the awesome people at HEB for allowing me to be a part of it all!

Click here to see more photos of the seed-spitting action.

State Fair of Texas

On September 24th & 25th Mrs. Wanda and I returned to Dallas for the State Fair of Texas.  Watermelon carver

Joe was wanted but he said the reward was too cheap!

extraordinaire Joe Poon and Richard de Los Santos with the Texas Department of Agriculture were both on hand for Texas Monthly’s Fair Food & Wine Event on Thursday evening and the opening day of the fair on Friday.  Texas Monthly’s event featured BBQ from The Salt Lick (which is just outside of Austin and it’s so good!) and music from Will Harrell and the Hounds.  Since it was held in the Food & Fiber Pavilion there were all sorts Texas-made treats to taste, including Fire & Ice Salsa.  I met a lot of interesting people on Thursday evening, like the Honey Queens, and I also saw Elsie the Borden Cow again. I was even featured in D Magazine’s blog, click here to see the post.

BIG TEX

On Friday I had a ton of fun handing out recipe cards and coloring books while culinary students passed out juicy slices of watermelon and my favorite treat, Fire & Ice Salsa! So many people stopped by our booth on the opening day of the fair but luckily I had enough time to grab a foot-long corn dog for lunch (the best fair food in my opinion).  After taking a quick photo with Big Tex, Mrs. Wanda and I were on the road again to San Antonio and Round Rock for in-store promotions.

To see more photos, click here.

And right after D.C….

On Friday, September 11th I flew straight from D.C. to Dallas for in-store promotions that weekend.  I spent Saturday at

At the wonderful Central Market promo in Dallas.

At the wonderful Central Market promo in Dallas.

Central Market on Lover’s Lane where, despite all the rain, lots of people came in.  I was especially excited for this promotion because the demo-lady, Hillary, made Fire and Ice Salsa.  With samples of salsa available it was easier to tell customers about the recipe and they all loved it!  We couldn’t keep enough of it on the table.

Then on Sunday we had a promotion at H.E.B in College Station where thankfully it had stopped raining and we passed out slices of watermelon in front of the store.

A special visitor came to see me in College Station.

A special visitor came to see me in College Station.

Again, special thanks to NWPB and Marcia Adler for organizing such wonderful in-store promotions for the Texas Watermelon Association.

Click here to see more photos.