"Pretty In Pink"......1962 Dairy Festival Queen Linda Booker rides atop the
Queen's Float, as she rode in the 1963 Parade...pink ice cream, pink dress, and pink
"Pretty In Pink" Was One
of 1962 Dairy Queen Linda
Booker's Fond Memories
by: Bobby McDonald
"All I can remember is that almost everything was pink when I rode in the 1963 Dairy Festival Parade as the 1962 Dairy Festival Queen," remembers Linda Booker Bennett. "I can remember what an honor it was to be named Queen and how thrilled I was to serve, as my family had been pioneers in the Hopkins County Dairy Industry for many years, and winning the title pleased them very much!"
Sulphur Springs was boasting a population of 9,160 people and the Dairy Festival was becoming a permanent part of Hopkins County, when Linda Booker was asked to be the representative of the Junior Waverly Club, in the spring of 1962. "It was the first year that they decided to have floats;Velda Booker, was a member of the Junior Waverly Club, so the ladies in the club built my float," expressed Linda. "Hours went into building the float and those club members were real troopers as they cut paper, stuffed chicken wire, and used tons of glue!"
Linda Booker rides on the Junior Waverly Club's 1962 entry in the Dairy Festival Parade, the first
year that they had floats. The float featured hundreds of handmade yellow, paper roses, ice cream cones,
Booker eating an ice cream pafait from the table, as she waved to the crowd. The float won 3rd prize
in the float competition. (Note Jimmy Clifton serving ice cream behind the counter and the classic cars
in the background of the photo.)
Local Highway Patrolmen were stopping motorist on the newly opened Interstate-30 and instead of presenting them with a traffic ticket, they gave them a piece of paper to stop at the milk and dairy products dispensing station, located in Sulphur Springs. At the dispensing station families were treated with fresh, ice cold Hopkins County milk, as a promotional idea for the local dairy industry, during Dairy Festival Week.
The Northeast Texas Dairy Show was boasting over 350 animals entered in the 1962 show, with Leeman Teetes, North Texas Producers Association Fieldman, serving as the Dairy Show Superintendent. "This year's animals are some of the best we have ever featured in the Dairy Show," boasted Teetes.
It was J.W. Branscomb, who had been "tapped" to serve as the Chairman of the Hopkins County Dairy Festival for 1962. He was joined by Mrs. Lena Mae Rogers and Mrs. Wayne Melton as Dairy Pageant Coordinators. Decorations for the pageant were made and procured by Mrs. Pete Wright, Mrs. Joe Woosley, Mrs. M.D. Merrell, Mrs. T.A. Robertson, and Mrs. T.D. Parkins. Mrs. E.Y. Pettit was in charge of the ticket sales for 1962. The Queen arrangements were provided by Mrs. Gerald Thomas, Mrs. Charlie Jackson, and Mrs. Dood Emerson. Mrs. Truman Drake was in-charge of the Court Program and Dr. John Weddle, Mrs. B.F. Ashcroft, and Mrs. Bruce Cherry were overseeing the parade. Randall Maddox was responsible for transportation and Mrs. Jim Masters was providing the homes for the visiting duchesses.
Mrs. Bill Floyd and Mrs. Roy Vaden, along with the Hopkins County Home Demonstration Council were responsible for the Queens Party arrangements. Mrs. Allen Jacobson and Mrs. R.N. Montgomery were in-charge of publicity and lighting for the pageant was provided by Mickey Eddins, while Mr. & Mrs. F.M. Holder hosted the Queen's Ball. Murray Funeral Home provided the organ for the pageant.
Contestants in 1962 included: Marsha Hendrix, Nancy Alexander, Nita Goldsmith, Sandra Hedge, Donna Broyles, Jackie Perkins, Linda Booker, Sally Mayes, Ida Sue Crawford, Kay Kimmons, Joyce McGrede, and Tommie Binkley.
Linda Booker, daughter of Larry & Velda Booker and the late
Helen Sellers Booker, was crowned 1962 Dairy Festival Queen,
on June 7, 1962, by retiring Queen Betty Brice.
Basis for queen selection continued to be ticket sales, and when the totals were tallied, Linda Booker, daughter of Larry and Velda Booker and the late Helen Sellers Booker, was crowned Queen of 1962. Theme for the pageant was "Winter Wonderland" where the Sulphur Springs Junior High School Gym had been converted to a "sea of white cotton!"
"My parents were the owners of the first convenience store in Sulphur Springs, located on Church Street and later on Main Street," expresses Linda Booker Bennett. "But, it was my maternal grandparents, Judge Grover and Hazel Sellers, that had instilled the importance of the Hopkins County Dairy Industry in me!"
Judge Grover Sellers owned and operated one of the early Registered Jersey Herds in Hopkins County on his farm in the Star Ridge Community. As a local judge, serving as Texas Attorney General, and on numerous civic and promotional endeavors, Sellers had been one of the "moving forces" in bringing the dairy industry to Hopkins County. His 300 acre farm is still owned by Linda, her sisters, Becky and Bonni, and brother, Buck.
A toddler, Linda Booker, left, enjoys a Hopkins County grown watermelon (probably from
Pete McDonald & Drefus Harrington's patch) with her
grandfather, Judge Grover Sellers, on the Sellers Jersey Farm, southeast of Sulphur
Springs, where Linda grew-up.
Sellers had been instrumental in bringing the Carnation Milk Company to Sulphur Springs in 1937 and embraced the concept of dairy farming on his farm. "Papaw even built the house on the farm, so that it would face the dairy barn, that way he could make certain that everything was working properly there," remembers Bennett. "When my mother passed away, my father, my brother and sister, and I moved to the farm, so that my grandparents could help take care of the three of us, while Daddy worked at the convenience store. Our upbringing was on the dairy farm, where Papaw Sellers owned and operated his beloved Jersey cows!"
"Some of my fondest memories are sitting on the 'screened-in' side porch, enjoying a glass of iced tea and Papaw discussing the day's work and then singing to us and telling us stories," relates Bennett, as she walks about the family property, remembering by-gone days with her Memaw and Papaw. "Then, it was always fun to play with the children of the people who worked on the dairy farm. We climbed China Berry trees, collected Catalpa worms for fish bait, and did all the carefree things children do on a farm!"
"As I reached my teenage years, I remember bringing the cows to the barn for Papaw and trying to get their heads in the stanchions so that you could attach the milkers," explains Bennett. "All without being kicked!"
"I've hauled cow manure and cleaned the barn, too!" relates Linda. "But, I guess the worst accident that I was ever involved with was Donna James and I were riding on the tractor and we hit a bump. Both of us were thrown off and run-over by the tractor tire. She had to have surgery and I couldn't walk for several days. Farming is certainly not without risks, so today my family makes sure that I stay away from the tractors!"
Left to right, Judge Grover Sellers, Hazel Sellers, Larry & Velda Booker, Becky
Booker, and Buck Booker, with a registered Jersey heifer that Sellers presented
to Texas Governor John Connally. Connally donated the heifer back to Buck
and instructed him "to go home and raise more Jerseys and make more milk!"
The photo appeared on the cover of the American Jersey Cattle Club magazine.
"My grandparents and parents instilled in us a love and pride for Hopkins County and the dairy industry, that was such a vital part of the area," expressed Linda Bennett. "And, being named 1962 Dairy Festival Queen made me realize that I was part of something that was much, much bigger than I was!"
"My favorite part of the entire Dairy Festival experience was meeting and visiting with people all across Hopkins County when my parents and grandparents drove me around to sell tickets for the pagent," continued Bennett. "I was sixteen years old and I remember going to the Queen's Ball, following being named Dairy Festival Queen. The very next day I was taken to the Haskell Spencer Dairy Farm and to the Carnation Milk Plant where tours were conducted for the public. Then, I went and served milk at the dispensing station near I-30!"
1962 Hopkins County Dairy Festival Queen Linda Booker, as she prepared to
relinquish her crown to her predecessor in 1963.
And, riding on the Queen's float in the 1963 Parade.
"I also remember going to the surrounding communities and serving as a duchess in their pageants," expressed Bennett. "I especially remember going to the Winnsboro Autumn Trails Pageant and representing Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County."
"I treasure my rich heritage in Hopkins County and the opportunity to bring my two sons, David and Dan back to this community to be reared. I've enjoy my jobs working with Sulphur Springs I.S.D., E.D.C., and as the Director of Paris Junior College - Sulphur Springs Campus," affirms Bennett. "It is the most wonderful place to live and I would encourage every young lady who has the opportunity to participate in the Dairy Festival to make the most of it! It is a most wonderful experience!"
1962 Hopkins County Dairy Festival Queen Linda Booker Bennett enjoys a peaceful
afternoon at her front porch, on part of the Grover Sellers Jersey Farm, and reflects on
her rich dairy heritage in Hopkins County and what it meant to be Queen.
Booker's younger sisters, Becky and Bonni, both competed in Dairy Festival Pageants. Becky was the runner-up in the 1965 pageant and Bonni was the 1979 Dairy Festival Queen, making Linda and Bonni, the first sisters to win the crown. Brother, Buck Booker showed his registered Jersey calves at the Northeast Texas Dairy Show and continues to be involved, with his wife Debbie, in the retail sale of milk and dairy products at local Super Handy Convenience Stores.
Enjoying an afternoon of reflection, Becky Booker Colley and Linda Booker Bennett
examine a piece of milking equipment that their Grandfather, Grover Sellers, used
when he installed automatic milkers on his historic dairy farm.
"Sisterly secrets......." Linda Booker Bennett and Becky Booker Colley share laughs
about growing up and coming to the very dairy barn that they stand before, as they
shared an enjoyable childhood full of fun on the farm.
"I'm excited about being a part of the 50 year tradition of the Hopkins County Dairy Festival and feel it is a real honor to be a part of something that has meant so very much to my hometown community," relates Booker."I love Hopkins County!"