More than 50 years after the crowning of the first and only Miss Lake Texoma, judges named a new one Thursday night.
Kenzie Baca, 21, of Sherman was named the new queen in the pageant, which was revived after a 52-year hiatus with help from the Lake Texoma Association, multiple marinas, sponsors and former Miss Lake Texoma Pam Daniel. The event was held in conjunction with LTA’s 22nd Annual Bash for Cash fundraiser and auction, through which organizers said they hoped to raise their usual total of at least $20,000.
“I’m just honored to be representing the area,” Baca said. “It’s really cool to know that I’m the first one since the 1960s.”
The competition included a swimsuit presentation and on-stage interviews at Highport Marina on Wednesday night. Contestants made their final appearance in evening gowns on Thursday night for the fundraiser and crowning ceremony at Tanglewood Resort and Conference Center. Haley Hyepock, of Denison, was named the runner up.
“We had seven outstanding contestants,” LTA Executive Director Terri Weir said. “Every one of them could have been Miss Lake Texoma, no doubt. They were all beautiful, poised and well spoken.”
Pam Daniel was crowned Miss Lake Texoma over Labor Day weekend in September 1966 and said her only task with the title was to congratulate the Winner of the Madill Driver World Championship boat race held on the lake that same weekend.
“There’s no sadness involved; it’s all sheer joy,” Daniel said of passing the crown. “It’s about this contest being revived, it’s about the new Miss Lake Texoma and she’s going to have a wonderful reign.”
Weir said the nonprofit revived the Miss Lake Texoma pageant with the goal of starting a new tradition and drawing attention to the group’s fundraiser on Thursday night. The LTA director said the reigning queen will serve as an ambassador to the association and will attend events throughout the year, before ultimately crowning the next winner.
“Our main focus of course is tourism,” Weir said of the association’s focus. “So if we are doing a good job and we have a good spokesperson in Miss Lake Texoma, somebody who can represent us well, then I think that will bring more interest in the area, that much more revenue, and I think in that we all win. I think it can be a very powerful thing.”
Baca said enjoyed competing in the pageant and getting to know her fellow contestants. She said she looks forward to her new duties and connecting with those who live and work in the Lake Texoma region.
“Everywhere you go here, you feel at home,” Baca said. “I’m just proud to represent a community where people treat each other so kindly.”