Mary Ann Prim, in the elegant evening gown she wore the night she was crowned Dairy Festival Queen. "It was a blue strapless dress with sequins on the top and a blue satin sash over yards and yards of tulle, worn over a hoop petticoat which was some kind of challenge to maneuver in," says Salch, who added she wore the dress to a ball just a few years ago.

The Golden Jubilee

1963 Dairy Festival Queen Mary Ann Prim Salch guides debutantes, raises money for charity

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

August 10, 2008 - When asked to serve as Mistress of the Robes for her husband's Mardi Gras Krew in 1993, Mary Ann Prim Salch didn't bat an eyelash. Being 1963 Hopkins County Dairy Festival had taught her everything she needed to know about dresses, debutantes and deep bows.

"I was in charge of 22 debutantes from all over the state," Salch said in a recent e-mail. "I had to oversee the designs of each dress, teach them the Texas bow (head on the floor) and keep them calm before the presentation. They got a big kick out of my being a 'Dairy Queen.'"

Salch said her pageant experience helped keep the debutantes calm because "I remember those butterflies in my stomach to this day."

Salch was a 17-year old junior when she was crowned on Thursday evening, May 9, 1963. She was sponsored by the Dial Study Club. The theme of that year's coronation was "Under the Milky Way."

"My escort for that year and the year I was ending my reign was David Lowman," she said. "My escort when I came back the following year as a past queen was my future husband, Steve Salch."

She has made good use of the elegant evening gown she wore the night she won the title.

Mary Ann Prim Salch has been active in charity and volunteer work most of her adult life, raising millions of dollars for good causes in both Houston and Galveston.

"It was a blue strapless dress with sequins on the top and a blue satin sash over yards and yards of tulle, worn over a hoop petticoat which was some kind of challenge to maneuver in," she said. "I actually wore the dress a couple of years ago to the Knights of the Momus Mardis Gras Ball."

Salch wanted to be 'hands on' from the very beginning of her reign. "So, off I went to hand out ribbons at the livestock show," she said. "I have been licked by so very many cows!"

It is customary for the queen to have a beautiful float when she gives up her title. Salch's float was the very first lighted one.

"It was beautiful, even if the electrician was running behind it restarting the generator," Salch explained.

Her parents were Dorothy and Grady Prim.

"Daddy worked for Humble Oil and later had a sale barn with his brother, Allen," Salch said.

Her grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. George Prim.

"He owned the Sulphur Springs State Bank," she said.

Her other grandmother was Mrs. H.E. Pounds. Her sister, Margaret Prim Irvin, still lives in Sulphur Springs.

She said she loved representing Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County at other pageants, though the appearances didn't always go as planned.

"In Mount Pleasant, I had to appear in a swimsuit and high heels, and blinded by the spotlight, I almost fell into the swimming pool," she remembers.

Being Dairy Festival Queen gave Salch "poise and self-assurance." She remembers traveling through East Texas appearing at other festivals and parades.

"I learned how to walk into a room where I knew no one and feel at ease," said Salch. "And I never left the room without making new friends. This skill has helped me time and again throughout my life."

The social skills Salch learned as Dairy Festival Queen have also served her well.

For the past 40 years she has been married to tax and international attorney Steve, whom she met while they were students at Southern Methodist University.

The Salches have two children, Susan and Trent.

"Trent is married to Megan and they have one child, Kylie, who is 3 years old and someday will make a beautiful queen," Salch said.

"After living in Houston for 30 years, we moved to Galveston where we have a beach house on the west end of the island and a home which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places," she said. "We also have a law office downtown in a building that survived the 1900 storm. We love being in a small town again."

Salch has been active in charity and volunteer work most all of her adult life, raising millions of dollars for good causes in both Houston and Galveston.

"From chairing galas and balls to working with the very young and very old, you name it. I've probably done it."

Salch most recently served as Chair of the School of Nursing Advisory Board at the University of Texas Medical Branch and as membership chair of UTMB's President's Cabinet.

An Internet search offered a more in-depth look at Salch's considerable contributions to her new hometown.

According to a 2005 UTMB press release, "Mary Ann and Steve Salch have pledged to establish an endowed presidential scholarship for nursing students at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Only the third of its kind at UTMB's School of Nursing, the Mary Ann and Steven C. Salch Endowed Presidential Scholarship will offset recipients' tuition, fees, book costs and living expenses."

"We have always tried to give back in time, service and, when we can, money to enrich the community we call home," said Steve Salch, a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P, an international law firm headquartered in Houston.

"We hope scholarships such as this one will encourage more students to pursue careers in nursing."

"UTMB's School of Nursing really offers such a valuable education," Mary Ann Salch added. "We want to support the nursing program in ways that positively impact students' lives."

The press release continues, "Salch serves on the board of directors for Galveston's Grand 1894 Opera House and co-chairs the opera house's advisory committee with her husband. She is also a member of the Galveston Historical Foundation's Development Board and a founding board member of Career Boutique, a Galveston organization that provides appropriate clothing, career counseling and mentoring to needy women who are entering or re-entering the work force."

By any measuring stick, Steve Salch has enjoyed a successful career as an attorney.

He is the Fifth Circuit Regent of the American College of Tax Counsel and a former Chair of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar and the Houston Bar Foundations, and a Fellow of the American Law Institute. He is listed in "Who's Who in the World," "Who's Who in America," "Best Lawyers in America" and "Chambers, USA." He also has been named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly magazine.

He graduated from Southern Methodist University and the university's School of Law, where he was the managing editor of the Southwestern Law Journal and a member of the Mu Alpha Theta, Order of the Coif, Beta Alpha Psi and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.

Mary Ann, who has a degree in elementary education from Southern Methodist University, advises young women to enter the pageant.

"By all means, do it!" she says. "If you are lucky enough to become the queen, you will have wonderful memories to carry with you the rest of your life. I am, to this day, very proud to have been Dairy Festival Queen."


Information from the 1963 program -- Courtesy of Mary Ann Prim Salch

  • Date: May 9, 1963
  • Theme: Under the Milky Way
  • Narrator: Billy Conner
  • Organist: Mrs. Robert Murdock
  • Soloist: Dan Shook
  • Trumpeteers: Sammy Fox and Johnny Sickles
  • Jesters: Tommy Griggs, Carroll Gibson, Emmett Moore Jr., Jimmy Sanderson, Frankie Eddins and Billy Ray Douglas
  • Duchesses: Suzanne Click -- Cooper; Gay Black -- Winnsboro; Ann Newsom -- Mt. Vernon; Judy Laird -- Pittsburg; Deedra Dodson -- Commerce; June McGuire -- Greenville; Sandra Henning -- Longview; and Carol Thedford -- Tyler
  • Hopkins County Princesses: Jan Orwig -- Sponsored by Lions Club -- Escorted by Joe Dan Moss
  • Paula Minty -- Sponsored by Home Demonstration Council -- Escorted by Joe Dan Orr
  • Vicki McKay -- Sponsored by Standard Club -- Escorted by Joe Pickett
  • Gail Blackburne -- Sponsored by Mothers Culture Club -- Escorted by Tony Toro
  • Sandra Hedge -- Sponsored by B.&P.W. Club -- Escorted by Billy Hollingsworth
  • Linda Moore -- Sponsored by Junior Waverly Club -- Escorted by James Sheffield
  • Cathy Pribble -- Sponsored by Sulphur Springs F.F.A. -- Escorted by Ronnie Irvin
  • Kay Gene Craver -- Sponsored by Waverly Club -- Escorted by Billy Mac Cromer
  • Joye McGrede -- Sponsored by Sulphur Springs Garden Club -- Escorted by Barry Camp
  • Ushers: Doyle McKenzie; David Rayborn; Steward Hawthorne; Lonnie Browning; Norman Fleming; and Randall Long
  • Usherettes: Moden Flippin; Sherri Pendleton; Mary Ann Anderson; Sarah Clements; Patricia Bearden; and Kay Williams
  • General Chairman: J.W. Branscome
  • Pageant Coordinator: Mrs. F.G. Rogers
  • Treasurer: Mrs. Mike Pribble

Committees:

  • Decoration and Lighting: Johnny Long, Mrs. Bill Elliott and Mrs. Zimmie Bell
  • Tickets: Mrs. Charles Gilreath
  • Queen's Arrangements: Mrs. B.F. Ashcroft
  • Special Arrangements: Bill Chapman
  • Court Program: Mrs. John Sulcer
  • Ushers and Usherettes: Mrs. Paul Herschler
  • Organ: Courtesy of McKay Music Company
  • Publicity: Mrs. Clarke Keys
  • Parade: Billy Wayne Harry, Hoyt Gideon and Huel Hammond
  • Transportation: Randall Maddox
  • Homes for Duchesses: Mrs. Tip Sparks
  • Queen's Party: Home Demonstration Council

Selected information from The Daily News-Telegram Friday, May 10, 1963 -- Copy courtesy of Rosemary Tucker Bailey, mother of 1965 Dairy Festival Queen Janet Bailey Shieldes

Selection of the queen was based on ticket sales to the pageant by the candidate and the Dial Study Club. Cathey Pribble, representing the Sulphur Springs High School FFA chapter, was first runnerup and Linda Moore, representing the Junior Waverly Club was second runnerup.

Float Winners

The Junior Waverly Club was presented with a check for $75 for the winning float entry. The float featured Miss (Linda) Moore sitting on steps by a mail box with a farm scene, complete with barn and animals behind her.

Floats entered by the Home Demonstration Council and the Waverly Club tied for second and checks for $37.50 were presented to each organization.

The Home Demonstration Council float featured Miss (Paula) Minty sitting under an archway behind a pitcher of milk. Miss (Kay Gene) Craver was shown taking a milk bath on the Waverly Club float.

A display constructed by the Brinker 4-H Club in the window at Perry Brothers was named winner in the window display competition. A display at the Juvenilia Shop was second. Plaques were presented to both stores.

Judges in both the float and window display competition were Dr. Gerald Gray of the agriculture education department at East Texas State College at Commerce, Mrs. Bill Petty of Winnsboro, Mrs. Dewitt Carlock, head of the Autumn Trails program at Winnsboro last year, Mrs. Homer Chappell of Mineola and Mrs. Tom Castaloo of Mineola.

(Editor's Note: In June 2009, the Hopkins County Dairy Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In the weeks leading up to the festival, the News-Telegram will visit with former Dairy Festival queens to reminisce about the festival, the pageant and what it meant to wear the crown.)

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