Article and photos by Cindy Hadish
The Czech Heritage Foundation’s Royal Court continues to grow, with new members and positions announced during Houby Days, including a new Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa.
Linda Babinat, the daughter of Leo and Lisa Babinat of Clutier, was named the 2016-2017 Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa, following a pageant at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Runner-up was Lindsay Hottovy, the daughter of Thomas and Susan Hottovy of Adams, Neb. Both Linda and Lindsay attend Loras College in Dubuque.
Two Czech princes and two Czech princesses also were named for the coming year. Branden Knight, the son of Tom and Karen Knight of Hiawatha, and Drake Ainsworth, the son of Mike Ainesworth and Heidi Hromidko of Cedar Rapids, will share the duties of Czech Prince. The Czech princesses will be Rachael Brandon, the daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Wills and Jason and Andrea Brandon of Cedar Rapids and Victoria Knight, the daughter of Tom and Karen Knight of Hiawatha.
Ingrid and Lars Landa, the daughter and son of Craig and Christine Landa of Toddville, are returning to the Royal Court as Czech Little Sister and Czech Little Brother. Joining them will be MyAh Morgan, the daughter of J.C. and Tiffany Morgan of Cedar Rapids, and FayLyn Franks, the daughter of Taylor Dillon and Daren Franks of Hiawatha, as Czech Little Sisters, and Davis Robe, the son of John and Holly Robe of Cedar Rapids, as Czech Little Brother.
In a new role, two out-of-state brothers will serve as Czech Royal Court attendants. Frank and Jonathan Kime, sons of Matthew and Jarmila Kime of Missouri, have grown up in both the Czech Republic and the United States. They were represented at the crowning ceremony in Czech Village by their grandparents, Jon and Donna Kime, and great-grandmother, Noreen Kime, all of Cedar Rapids.
Ashley Pudil, the daughter of Kevin and Denise Pudil of Cedar Rapids, is finishing her reign as 2015-2016 Miss Czech Slovak-Iowa and will represent the state of Iowa during the national pageant in Wilber, Neb., in August. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the queen pageant in Iowa, with several past queens attending Houby Days activities and the pageant banquet, along with out-of-state Czech queens and the reigning Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. Meagan Kurmel of Nebraska.
Young women ages 18-25 compete for the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa title, with competition in interviews, modeling Czech costumes, called kroje, and talent categories. Boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 compete for the title of Czech Prince or Princess by researching their Czech heritage, writing an essay and being interviewed by a panel of judges. Little Sisters and Little Brothers are between the ages of 6 and 12. All applicants must be of Czech or Slovak descent.
Members of the Czech Royal Court serve as young ambassadors by representing the Czech community in parades, festivals and other events throughout the year.