When she read in the Tribune this summer that the 2019 Miss and Junior Miss Becker County Fair Pageant was canceled for the fair in August, Becky Schmitz quickly reached out to previous titleholders and contestants to try to bring it back.
"The second it came out in the paper ... I started reaching out to all the other girls and talking about what that would look like and if they were willing to help out," Schmitz said.
In September, "ring leader" Schmitz and others met with the Becker County Fair Board and received approval to bring the pageant back for the 2020 fair, she said.
"Now it's the matter of putting all the pieces together. Our intention is to bring more awareness to the skills and the opportunity that come with being in the pageant," Schmitz said.
Tamra Bigger, the previous pageant coordinator, and Fair Manager Keith Sonnenberg say they canceled the 2019 pageant due to a lack of interest from contestants and the public. The pageant started in 1993 and ran for 26 years before being canceled.
In those 26 years, Schmitz ran in both categories of the pageant multiple times. This started her pageant career, as she eventually won the titles of Miss Northwest and Miss Frazee. Schmitz's sister and mother have also been involved in pageants, so she is well-versed in the pageant life.
She has already created a Facebook group, Miss/Jr. Miss Becker County Fair Pageant, to bring a social media presence to the pageant. She is hoping to host a workshop of sorts with former titleholders from this and other local pageants. The goal is to teach contestants pageant skills, give them tips and show them the value and opportunities that come with the pageant.
"It's just a matter of getting people involved," she said. "(By) advertising and promoting and getting girls involved and getting that excitement about it again."
Aside from gaining contestants, Schmitz said another big thing on her agenda is getting sponsors for the pageant. Sponsors can especially help with the scholarship program Schmitz wants to develop.
There isn't a set date for the pageant yet, as Schmitz wants to find a day and time that 4-H members can compete without missing those 4-H competitions. But, she's already had potential contestants reach out about competing. She also plans to invite the 2018 Miss and Jr. Miss Becker County Fair to the pageant.
When the contestants, sponsors and format line up, Schmitz has many plans for the future of the pageant. She would like to have practices for more than just a few days before the pageant and eventually hold the pageant outdoors. This was done in the past and was something Schmitz and her cohorts liked most about the pageant.
"Just bringing back some of those traditions that we still remember 20 years later -- that were important to us," Schmitz said.
For more information on becoming a sponsor, running in the pageant, or the pageant in general, contact Becky Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Miss/Jr. Miss Becker County Fair Pageant Facebook group.