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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Watermelon Association’

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!

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The most common question I get once I tell people, or often when my roommate Courtney tells people that I’m the Texas Watermelon Queen is, “How did you get into that?”  Although I’ve only served as queen for a couple months now, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to practice my reply.  However, this is the extended version.

I grew up in a small East Texas town (the kind where everybody knows everybody) and my family is good friends with the Pennington family who have been producing watermelons for almost 70 years now.  The Penningtons are members of the Texas Watermelon Association and in the past they have introduced a few other girls from my hometown to the TWA Queen program.  Of course, thanks to living in a tiny town, I knew the girls who served as Texas Watermelon Queen and became very interested in the program as well.  So when Mrs. LaWanda Pennington approached me a year ago about competing for the title, I immediately told her I wanted to.

United Fresh Convention in Las Vegas, May '08

United Fresh Convention in Las Vegas, May '08

However, that year I received first runner-up and though that’s not bad at all, I was a little disappointed.  Luckily for me, I was able to fill in a couple times for the current queen and I absolutely loved it.  I traveled once to Las Vegas for the United Fresh Convention, where I met the 2008 National Watermelon Queen, Brittanie Faircloth and 2008 Illiana Watermelon Queen, Maggie Bailey (who is now the 2009 National Watermelon Queen).  I had an amazing time with the girls, handing out slices of watermelon and meeting people from all over the world.  In fact, we all learned how to say watermelon in Japanese from two men who visited our booth.  Then I traveled to San Antonio for an in-store promotion at the grand opening of an H.E.B.  For three days I had a great time handing out recipe cards, coloring books and stickers for the kids and convincing people (which really wasn’t hard to do at all) to sample new ways of eating watermelon, like fire and ice salsa.

Though I loved serving as Watermelon Queen the two times I did, I debated whether or not I wanted to compete again because of a broadcast class I will have to take in the summer.  At the last minute I decided that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to possibly serve as the Texas Watermelon Queen, so I mailed in my application…a day before the deadline.

The weekend of January 17th, my family and I traveled to South Padre Island for the Texas Watermelon Association convention.  On Friday, all three queen contestants met with the pageant coordinator, the visiting watermelon queens from other states, and the 2008 Texas Watermelon Queen for a “Queens Tea.”  Here, we went over the different portions of the competition, got to know a little bit about each other and heard from the former queen, Marie Fletcher, about her year of service.  Friday evening was the official start of the convention for the queen contestants with (you’re going to love this) a seed spitting competition and auction.  Even though I did win the seed spitting competition for my division (18′), how far you can spit does not factor into the queen competition.

On Saturday morning the queen contest began with the speech competition.  Contestants were required to prepare in advance and memorize a 2-3 minute speech about why we want to be the Texas Watermelon Queen.  Contestants were then asked to respond to an impromptu question.  After the speech competition came the promotion-wear segment.  One at a time girls modeled on stage an outfit of their choosing that they would wear as Texas Watermelon Queen to an in-store promotion, a festival, or a congressional visit.  Next, all the queen contestants had lunch with the judges, which allows them to get to know all of our personalities better.  After lunch comes one of the most important parts of the competition, the personal interview with the judges.  Contestants met one at a time with all the judges and answered a series of questions, mostly relating to why you want to become queen and how you would handle different situations as queen.  Then we all got to relax a little before the evening wear competition and banquet.  Before everyone had dinner at the banquet, the contestants modeled evening gowns, in which we were judged on our poise and grace (hey, walking in a long gown and heels gracefully takes some talent).  After that, the competition was officially over!  All we had to do then was wait until the end of the banquet for the results.

As I stood on stage with the other contestants waiting to hear the judges’ decision, I was confident but nervous that I might face disappointment again.  However, when my name was called as the 2009 Texas Watermelon Queen I couldn’t have been happier.  No one could have wiped that smile off my face, which was a good thing because I was then bombarded with flashes from cameras.  As I received hugs and congratulations from everyone, I felt like I was newest member being introduced into the TWA family.

With former Texas Watermelon Queens

With former Texas Watermelon Queens

Though I knew a little bit about the production side of the industry through my relationship with the Pennington family, with each trip I am learning more and more about how watermelons travel from the fields to the grocery stores.  I am also learning more about the nutritional value of watermelons and their versatility (they’re not just for picnics anymore!).

I am so blessed and grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent such an amazing and hardworking group of people.  It brings me great pride to represent Texas and all those involved in the watermelon industry here.  I hope that throughout my year of service I can represent every member in a way that makes them proud.

My coordinator/travel buddy, Mrs. Wanda

My coordinator/travel buddy, Mrs. Wanda

I would like to say thank you to my judges, Beth Wiggins, Richard De Los Santos, and Brittanie Faircloth, for choosing me to represent the Texas Watermelon Association and giving me this opportunity.  I want to thank Temple-Inland for the scholarship and everyone else who donated items for use during my year of service (that luggage is getting a lot of use already).  I also want to say thanks to my family and extended family, the Penningtons, for always supporting me in my endeavors and showing unconditional love.  Most importantly, I want to thank our Lord for blessing my life with such amazing people and experiences.  I hope that in everything I do my service to you will always make you proud.

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