History of the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Pageant

In August 2000 Lisa Volesky, daughter of Dennis and Debbie Volesky of Swisher, Iowa and granddaughter of Czech Heritage Foundation board members John and Adeline Volesky, entered the Miss Czech-Slovak USA pageant in Wilber, Nebraska. Lisa was very impressed with the pageant, and in 2001 she returned to the competition with thirteen other contestants. Here Lisa was crowned Miss Czech-Slovak USA 2001-2002. Her Little Sister, Amanda Odvody from Wilber, Nebraska, accompanied her during the pageant.

On November 13, 2001 John Fiala, National Pageant Director from Lincoln,Nebraska,
attended the Cedar Rapids Czech heritage Foundation board meeting and encouraged the
group to sponsor pageant contestants.John described the history of the national pageant. It began informally in 1985 with two states involved: Nebraska and Oklahoma. In 1987 the first “true” pageant was held with Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Since then, as many as twenty-two states have been involved during any given year, with an average of eighteen participating states. While the national pageant began as a Czech pageant, in its third year Slovaks were represented by Michigan. A single contestant represents each state, and each state has its own rules and calendar of events. The pageant is not all pomp and status, but tries hard to instill pride of heritage in the young women participating.

After John Fiala’s presentation, the Czech Heritage Foundation board voted to be
Iowa’s sponsoring organization, sending a candidate to the national competition each year.
Until 2014, Iowa’s pageant was held in conjunction with Houby Days Festival in Czech Village, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 2014, the pageant coincided with the St. Joseph’s Day Dance in Walford, IA. Adeline Volesky served as the first pageant coordinator and retired her position in 2009 when Zelda De Hoedt assumed her position. In 2014 Bonnie Rohlena and Donna Gruntorad became the pageant co-directors. In 2015, the pageant was once again held with Houby Days.

The Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa program has been very successful. In 2002 Miss Katie
Ziskovsky was crowned Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa and competed in Wilber to win the talent competition. Iowa brought home another national title when Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Stasia Krivanek was crowned Miss Czech-Slovak USA 2003-2004. Many Iowa contestants have brought home the national Heritage Involvement award. The national pageant is held in August each year at the Wilber Czech Festival. Wilber, Nebraska has a population of about 1,600 but during the festival 30,000 to 50,000. Contestants
compete to win the title of Miss Czech-Slovak US, awards and several monetary prizes.

Current Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa & 1st Runner Up

Left to right: Lindsey Hottovy, Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Runner Up; and Linda Babinat, Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa 2016-2017 .

 

Previous Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Queens

Year Name National Awards
1994 Theresa Sladky
1995 Tamara Chadima 2nd Runner Up
1996 Cynthia Fiala
1998 Stasia (Krivanek) Fine
2000 Lisa (Volesky) Parra
2001-2002 Lisa (Volesky) Parra National Queen
2002-2003 Katie Ziskovsky Dawson Talent Award
2003-2004 Stasia (Krivanek) Fine National Queen
2004-2005 Amanda De Hoedt
2005-2006 Beth (Struzynski) Hahn
2006-2007 Rachel Lehmann
2007-2008 Casey Dvorak
2008-2009 Samantha Hubler
2009-2010 Amanda De Hoedt
2010-2011 Beth (Westlake) Blanco
2011 Samantha Hubler Heritage Involvement Award
2011-2012 Marissa Cada Heritage Involvement Award
2012-2013 Holly Stepanek
2013-2014 Holly Stepanek
2014-2015 Janna Waters Heritage Involvement Award
2015 Megan Lehmann
2015-2016 Ashley Pudil 2nd Runner Up, Sokol Award
2016-2017 Linda Babinat Heritage Involvement Award