An oil portrait of 1965 Dairy Festival Queen Janet Bailey.
The Golden Jubilee: Red long-johns and being cast as a witch helped 1965 Dairy Fest Queen capture crown
By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor
August 24, 2008 - What do a witch, red long-johns, and boys in a bar have in common with a beauty queen? 1965 Dairy Festival Queen Janet Bailey Shieldes can tell you. For her, these three seemingly incongruous things will forever be linked to one of the most spectacular evenings of Shieldes' life.
In the Dairy Festival parade, Shieldes played the part of the wicked witch in "Hansel and Gretel" on the Junior Waverly float. She must have been pretty good at her job, because the float won first place.
In the talent portion of the competition, which she also won, Shieldes performed, "Belly Up to the Bar, Boys," from the musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Shieldes said she wore "red long-johns and big shoes for the number, which were not very pretty and girlish, but it worked for the character and my personality."
Janet Bailey Shieldes today. She married Bill Shieldes, her escort at the 1965 Dairy Festival Pageant. The couple, who now live in McKinney, recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
In those days, the talent competition was in the junior high school auditorium on a different night.
"Blue Blazes Drill Team Director Lesby Rhodes trained us to perform and dance with confidence," Shieldes said. "Ann Kindle, one of the Blue Blazes' best dancers, helped me prepare my talent."
Although she wanted to be a part of the pageant when she was a freshman in high school, circumstances forced her to wait until her senior year to compete.
"In 1963, my mother's club, Junior Waverly, had three girls eligible to participate, so we drew lots," Shieldes explained. "My friend Linda Moore (now Riddle) and I were at a slumber party when we learned she had gotten the first chance."
The next year, Judy Gray represented Junior Waverly, according to Shieldes.
After 1965, only juniors were chosen to compete in the annual pageant.
"I was entranced by the Dairy Festival from the first," Shieldes explained. "When Sunell (Rogers) was crowned the first queen, I thought our pageant was even better than Miss America!"
Shieldes said that when 1964 queen Judy Jackson Deaton placed the crown on her head, "my heart was full. All I saw was a blur of silvery, shiny lights all around."
Her escort for the evening was Bill Shieldes.
Shieldes remembers her queen's float the next year with fondness, too.
"Mother and Daddy decorated a big queen's float for me in the garage," she said. "It was mostly white with a beautiful gold crown and a mirrored lake and flowers. I felt even more like a queen then."
Shieldes' parents are Rosemary Tucker Bailey, who still lives in Sulphur Springs, and the late Malcolm Z. Bailey, who owned Bailey Insurance, Realty and Abstract, founded in 1911 by her grandfather, M.C. Bailey.
"My dad joined his dad in business after returning home from Iwo Jima and Japan," she explained.
"My mother spent many years on the Dairy Festival Board of Directors," Shieldes explained. "They meet all year, so I have always kept up with festival proceedings."
Her mother's parents, Judge T.J. and Pearl Corbett Tucker, were Hopkins County natives, being raised near Miller Grove. Her maternal grandfather served as county judge, county attorney and justice of the peace, and was a teacher in his younger years.
When her uncle, T.J. Tucker Jr., was in his teens, he was employed by the Carnation Milk Company. T.J. received the Purple Heart in the battle of Iwo Jima, according to Shieldes.
During her reign, Shieldes came back to the area for appearances.
"Because I went to college at the University of Texas in Austin directly after the pageant, I made special trips back for the Pittsburg Peach Festival, the Autumn Trails Pageant in Winnsboro and the Yamboree in Gilmer," she said. "I met other girls going through the same process. I think it taught us compassion and teamwork in a time when girls didn't really compete in other ways."
In January, Shieldes will celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary with her husband Bill, her high school sweetheart.
"Bill attended Texas A&M and was commissioned and served in the United States Air Force in Minot, N.D., as a ground safety officer," she said. "He retired this year from TI/Ratheon after 35 years of service."
Shieldes received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin. She later earned a master's of liberal arts degree from Southern Methodist University.
"I have worked as a teacher in Navasota, Minot and Plano," she said. "I've been a travel consultant for All World Travel, a zoning officer for the city of Plano and a contract administrator for Brennes-Jones credit card processing company."
Shieldes retired from the business world eight years ago when the couple moved to McKinney.
"I do lots of volunteer work in McKinney for the Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, Beta Sigma Phi, and I serve as a Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader and work on lots of teams at my church, Stonebridge United Methodist," she said.
Shieldes and her husband have two sons, R. Scott Shieldes, special litigating attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and special assistant U.S. Attorney, and Lee Bailey Shieldes, an information technology specialist at McGriff Insurance. Both boys live in Houston.
Shieldes believes participating in the Dairy Festival Pageant "let me discover a beauty within and a calmness that has seen me through the years."
One of the questions she was asked during competition was if a girl could be a boxer.
"We were on the leading edge of the women's movement, so I said a girl could be whatever she wanted to be, but I didn't want to box," Shieldes said. "Now girls are boxing and going into space."
When she was announced as the winner of the 1965 pageant, Shieldes says "the world almost seemed to stop as I sat on the throne not believing that I was where all those beautiful girls before me had been. What an absolutely special, spectacular evening and a highlight of my life."
She hopes other little girls "are dreaming that someday they can also be in the pageant and maybe win the beautiful crown."
"According to my sorority ritual, 'the only right we have to a queenly quest is to be useful,'" she said. "I think I started learning that lesson long ago in the Hopkins County Dairy Festival."
So, you see, in the right hands, being a witch, singing in bars and wearing red long-johns onstage can sometimes lead to some spectacular memories and a lifetime of community service.
From the 1965 Program - Courtesy of Mary Ann Prim Salch
Theme: "Babes in Dairyland"
Date: May 6, 1965
Narrator: Billy Conner
Soloist: Annada Elliott
Organist: Harlan Craig
Drummer: Tim Hunt
Duchesses: Linda Gray, Azle; Linda Kay Martin, Commerce; Kathy Cain, Cooper; Patricia Kennedy, Daingerfield; Shiela Nix, Emory; Sylvia Elliott, Winnsboro; Sharon Witt, Frisco; Linda Blanchard, Grand Saline; Glenda Ann Boynton, Mineola; Sharon Stephenson, Mt. Pleasant; Mary Hooton, Pittsburg; and Pamela Miller, Talco
Magraret Coffee - Sponsored by Business and Professional (Women) - Escorted by Travis Mosely
Gilda Gideon - Sponsored by Dial Study Club - Escorted by Larry Landers
Linda Grayson - Sponsored by Home Demonstration - Escorted by Jerry Rhodes
Kathy McKay - Sponsored by Lions Club - Escorted by Alan Doshier
Carla Brice - Sponsored by Mothers Culture Club - Escorted by Charles Brim
Jeannine Ramey - Sponsored by Rotary Club - Escorted by Johnny Duckworth
Valinda Hathcox - Sponsored by Standard Bluc - Escorted by Ronnie Doss
Sandra Cates - Sponsored by Sulphur Springs Garden Club - Escorted by Roy McCasland
Jan Craver - Sponsored by Waverly - Escorted by Richard Williams
Court Entertainment - "Hey-Nonnie Singers" - Jim and Sue Paul, Ulna McWhorter, Lanier Stevens and Kyle Wright
Ushers: Kathy Kight, Don Hobson, George Back, Patricia Bearden, Janie Beth Walter, Susan Weir, Ricky Glossup, Kary Flowers, Marcus Hill and Steve Walters
General Chairman: Paul Herschler
Vice Chairman: Jim Shcokey
Pageant Coordinator: Mrs. F.G. Rogers
Secretary: Mrs. Bill Elliott
Treasurer: Mrs. Mike Pribble
Decoration: Mrs. Bill Elliott and Mrs. R.C. Cates
Lighting: Charles Moore
Tickets: Mrs. Charles Gilreath
Queen's Arrangements: Mrs. Joseph Longino
Special Arrangements: Carl Brice and Billy Conner
Ushers: Mrs. Pete Long
Float Arrangements: Leo St. Clair
Queen's Ball: Mrs. Mike Pribble and Mrs. Clarke Keys
Hostesses for Duchesses: Mrs. Grady Prim and Miss Adele Hale
Publicity: Jim Shockey
Talent Show: Buel Berry and Mrs. Paul Herschler
Program: Mr.s Mun Watkins
From the desk of Rosemary Tucker Bailey
Notes on the queen's float design
64 floral sheeting (36 red, 28 white)96.00
10 balls yellos fiston6.00
7 rolls red fringe 7.00
7 rolls metallic (red) fringe 21.00
10 doz. yellow flowers 17.50
18 red tissue tassles4.50
8 cut-out wallboard framing contours 6.00
1 box decorating pins1.00
1 set decorated throne contours
(white and gold)33.00
1 red and gold paper-mache crown140.00
2 wallboard shield signs with copy18.00
The supplier for some of the queen's float material was: Vaughn's Inc. - 505 West 78th St. - Minneapolis, Minnesota - 55424 - WA7-7365 (Area Code 612)
(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.)