Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the first and only Miss Lake Texoma competition. The competition was Labor Day weekend 1966 and was sponsored by the Denison Jaycees, a domestic nonprofit corporation that is no longer active.
Since her crown was never passed down, Pam Ball is still the reigning Miss Lake Texoma. Ball marked the anniversary this year with a photo shoot at High Port Marina.
“I got in at the last minute,” she said. “The Jaycees called my dad. They wanted me to participate. The contest had an evening gown portion, a bathing suit portion, and the last part was a question-and-answer portion. My question was about NASA. That was interesting because the moon landing was July 20, 1969, so three years later, we did land on the moon.”
Pam Ball was born and raised in Denison and is the daughter of lifelong residents, Billy Duff and Lola Ball. A 1964 graduate of Denison High School, Pam Ball was a junior at East Texas State University at the time the contest was held in 1966.
Ball competed against eight other girls for the competition.
A Sherman Herald article about the 1966 competition said, “Pam Ball was crowned Miss Lake Texoma Saturday night in a contest held at the Elk’s Lodge by the Denison Jaycees in conjunction with the weekend boat races. Miss Ball received gifts donated by local merchants and will preside in the presentation of trophies at the conclusion of the boat races Labor Day. Connie Davis was first runner-up and Mia Marico was second runner-up.”
Ron Sloan of Madill, Oklahoma won the Texoma World Championship boat race that year.
“There was no money involved with the pageant,” Ball said. “It was really just the title. The cool thing was that it had never been done before, and well, it’s never been done since.”
After the competition, Pam Ball returned to ETSU. She graduated in 1968 and moved to Dallas. She still resides in Carrollton.
“It was a big deal,” she said. “There were boat races that were held that weekend. They were next to the Denison Dam. I did not expect to win. I had never done a beauty pageant before, and I have not done another competition since.”
As the reigning Miss Lake Texoma, Pam Ball is spearheading an initiative to bring this contest back in full swing for 2018; generating sponsorships from local marinas, merchants and community organizations.
“I would love to work behind the scenes and get another competition started,” Pam Ball said. “I would not mind returning to give the crown up. This competition to me was about showing pride for this area. I think the winner could even go on and compete in the Miss Texas pageant if they wanted that as a continuation of the title.”