The Queen Neewollah pageant……Kara and Kennedy

• The Neewollah festival.
• Results of the pageant…..two young ladies (one is my g-daughter).
• Why I admire these two young ladies.

Independence is a small town in southeast Kansas, not far from Bartlesville in Oklahoma. Only about 10,000 people. Surrounded by a vibrant farming community: corn, beans, and cattle. Oh yes, and quite a few oil and gas wells.

In this small town they have a big festival, called Neewollah, which lasts a week in total. People flock in from miles around, and many folks come from other states. If you haven’t figured out where the name came from, try spelling it backwards. The festival week includes the Queen Neelah pageant, a play put on by local residents, three parades, and this year the Oak Ridge Boys in concert. And of course the Midway rides, including the crazy octopus, and vendors selling turkey legs and roasted corn.

Kara and Kennedy with their trophies: Miss Beauty and Miss Personality (click to enlarge then back-arrow to return to blog).

Kara and Kennedy with their trophies: Miss Beauty and Miss Personality (click to enlarge then back-arrow to return to blog).

Kara is my grand-daughter. When I first met her as a baby I told her mom Kim that she looked like she could be Miss America…… something about those large liquid eyes.

When interviewed by the three judges, Kara was asked what her expectations were.
“Well, my aunt Staci was a Queen Neelah, as were my cousin Morgan and my sister Kelby…… so that makes it tough on me,” she replied.
The judges laughed.

Kennedy and Kara have always been close friends. I got to know Kennedy when Kara invited her to come hiking with us in the mountains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were younger then, and I remember that every twenty yards of the hike they would start giggling about something but no-one else could figure out why.

After three days before the judges, which included a performance such as a dance number, or a song or skit, the final night arrived. Dressed in their finest gowns, 31 girls carefully stepped out on the catwalk, and smiled while the audience clapped and cheered. It was a classy show. There were to be awarded eight separate titles, as well as the Queen and two runners-up. The nervous tension on the stage and in the audience was like a charged vapor that weighed over everybody.

As the names came down, Kara won Miss Beauty and her good friend Kennedy won Miss Personality. As I reflected during the applause, they both seem quiet and unassuming gals but steady and determined. In fact Kara and I played racketball the very next day, with her younger brother Jaden. In the first set Kara only got 2 points out of 11. But she came back strongly, and won the second and fourth sets. She didn’t give up!

To me this is Miss America (click to enlarge then back-arrow to return).

To me this is Miss America (click to enlarge then back-arrow to return).

It’s easy to be swept up by superficialities in pageants like this. In the limited time they have, it’s hard for judges to get to know the depths of character of a candidate, even though the pageant organizers do a good job to encourage this through a variety of interviews.

However I was delighted about the Queen Neelah awards given to Kara and Kennedy, because I know personally of a beautiful example of giving by each one of these girls. I summarize these examples below (you can click on the colored link to read the entire article):

REGARDING KARA:  Article in August 2012.
This letter is from Dee, the mother of a boy called Max, and written to Kara’s mother.
“Hi Kim, I wanted to send you a note and tell you about Kara. She has seen my son Max several times this summer, and has been very nice to him. She and her friends even play games with him at the local swimming pool, where they shoot baskets and probably let him win sometimes. Kara always smiles, and never acts as though he bugs her (even though I know he probably does).

I know this doesn’t seem like much, but let me explain. Max is autistic and has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). For fourteen years the love and compliments of his family were all he needed, but since age fifteen he seems to require the acceptance of peers, and that is something I cannot provide. In summary, Kara has brought peace to our often hectic life, even if just for a day. And that to me is a true angel. This kind and considerate personality is a wonderful and rare quality nowadays. It is a quality that will shine through and take her above the rest…..she is a real Princess!”

REGARDING KENNEDYArticle from May 2015.
In Kennedy’s own words. “We’ve passed out gift cards to so many of the homeless in New York and it’s so great to see how happy it makes them! We’ve also passed out many flyers encouraging people to pass on an act of kindness! So many smiles have been shared and we’re wishing Candice Jo was here …… she’d be proud to see the impact she’s made on our lives and many others!”

I asked Kennedy for the backstory on Candice Jo, and here is what she wrote: “Candice Jo was my cousin. I grew up with her. She was always a caring and kind-hearted person. At age 22 last May she was stricken with leukemia. At the med center in Oklahoma City she received for three months chemo treatments that were rough on her. When she passed, she left a huge mark on many people’s hearts. Using Kindness for Candice, I’ve been trying to keep her kindness living although she cannot.”

As one person who knows both these girls summarized, “These two young ladies are beautiful inside and out.”

Comments? Your comments are always encouraging. Please add them to the Comment box at the bottom of the blog.

The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (Book of 1 Peter, chapter 3).

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Donna Cowan
8 years ago

Wow, what wonderful young ladies and such a great tribute to the girls and the families who raised them. Terrific article, too. Thanks for sharing your excitement and pride.

Karen Larre
Karen Larre
8 years ago

Very beautiful and wonderfully encouraging! Thank you!

Carol Hill
Carol Hill
8 years ago

Congratulations to two lovely ladies! I can see Kara and her friend are a blessing in your life. I have a feeling you are a blessing to them as well, just as you have been to many others. I am blessed to call you friend. Keep blogging, you are touching hearts.

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