The first La Plata Soybean Festival Queen Pageant was held in 1953 when an estimated crowd of 2,000 was present when Toby Baldwin Johnson was crowned as the first Queen Soya.
The pageant has been held each year since that time under the direction of several individuals and organizations. Don White, who was one of the initial organizers of the first Labor Day Celebration in 1953, and Lois Bragg served as the coordinators of the event for several years as well as several of the Beta Sigma Phi Chapters. During some of the earlier years, it wasn’t unusual for over 40 contestants to compete for the title of Queen Soya with many young ladies from surrounding communities. In later years, the pageant was limited to only young ladies attending the La Plata R-II School District.
The first 22 years of the pageants, the Queen Soya crowns were made of cardboard covered with gold spray paint and soybeans. Cheryl Tietsort Poore, 1976 Queen Soya was the first queen to be crowned with a rhinestone tiara.
There are 50 of the 59 former Queen Soyas planning to attend all or a portion of the 60th reunion.
A group photo is scheduled to be taken at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, followed by a luncheon at the Santa Fe Expresso. The former Queen Soyas will be introduced on the stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, Sept. 1, prior to the 60th Annual Pageant and will also be riding in convertibles in the parade at noon on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.
Photos will also be taken of the queens in their convertibles prior to the parade. Convertibles are still needed for the parade and anyone that has one and would be willing to provide transportation for one of these ladies is ask to you may contact Lois Bragg at 660-341-2221.
Many of these ladies are traveling long distances from out of state – Arkansas, Montana, California, Iowa, Tennessee, and Michigan as well as various areas throughout the state of Missouri.