ELIZABETH - In 1960, Wirt County Fair's first queen, Carole (McCauley) Montoya, wore a cardboard crown.
Another fair queen who also was showing a steer at the fair had her animal rip the back of her pants with its hoof - requiring emergency clothing repairs.
These were some of the stories told as former Wirt County Fair pageant queens from the past 50 years gathered at a luncheon Aug. 5 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.
Twenty-two former queens, dating back to Sharon (Bumgarner) Gainer of St. Marys, the 1962 winner, attended the luncheon. One additional former queen was recognized on stage during pageant ceremonies that evening at the Camp Barbe 4-H fairgrounds.
"We had a great time, reflecting on the pageants and telling funny stories," said Linda Sams, pageant director for 21 years. The former queens brought their sashes and tiaras to the luncheon, the first held for former queens.
Former queens gave advice to the five contestants vying for the 2009 queen's title, which was won by Rachel Baldrige.
Baldrige received a 4 1/2-inch tall rhinestone-studded tiara, unlike the cardboard crown Montoya wore.
The former queens' advice to the contestants: Be yourself and have fun.
At the luncheon the queens were seated together according to the decade they served in. All received a crystal vase of flowers engraved with the year they served. Elizabeth Woman's Club served the food.
During the queen's pageant last week, people came to the fairgrounds to see the former queens, Sams said.
Attending the luncheon were the following past queens and where they now live: 1962, Sharon (Bumgarner) Gainer, St. Marys; 1963, Delores (Owen) Townsend, Mineral Wells; 1965, Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Tanner, Parkersburg; 1966, Doris (Somerville) Twyman, Parkersburg; 1969, Coleen (Hall) Bumgarner, Elizabeth; 1975, April (Lowe) Goff, Elizabeth; 1979, Vicky (Kerns) Ellison, Elizabeth; 1980, Lisa (Cline) Kukura, Morgantown; 1982, Kelly (Sims) Bordonada, Palestine; 1983, Deb (Bunner) Hartshorn, Elizabeth; 1987, Shawn (Campbell) Ferguson, Elizabeth; 1988, Katrina (Dennis) Young, Elizabeth; 1991, Melissa (Alton) Nulton, Eagle River, Alaska; 1992, Ashley (Bland) Wanosky, Parkersburg; 1983, Angela Copen, Davidson, N.C.; 1996, Jane Engelke, Mineral Wells; 2000, Jillian Boyce, Sandyville; 2004, Amber (Somerville) Murray, Palestine; 2004, Sarah (Offutt) McLaughlin, Fairmont; 2006, Jordan Beckett, Palestine; 2007, Sarah Smith, Elizabeth, and 2008, Anna Bordonada, Palestine.
Lisa (Sidwell) Cottrill of Elizabeth, the 1984 queen, attended the pageant but not the luncheon. She was director of the fair's princess pageant.
The 1982 queen Kelly Bordonada is the mother of 2008 queen Anna Bordonada.
Although she couldn't attend the luncheon, Montoya said she felt honored to be the first fair queen and was pleased the pageant had grown, according to Sams. Montoya, who was 16 when she was crowned queen, is a retired nurse living in Columbus.
A total of $1,400 was donated this year to establish a fair queen's scholarship fund to award educational scholarships to future recipients. Former fair queens, businesses and private citizens will continue to collect money for this fund, fair officials said.
"The successful luncheon and reunion of former royalty have sparked interest in maintaining communication between the former queens and the fair board," said Deb Hartshorn, the 1983 queen.