Minnesota's Czech Queen is honored at USA pageant

Leah Sticha, the current Miss Czech Slovak MN Queen, was recently crowned first runner-up after a two-day Miss Czech Slovak USA Pageant held August 4 and 5 in Wilber, NE.

This year, 10 state queens came from as far away as Florida and Texas and as close as Nebraska's neighbors Iowa and South Dakota to compete for the national title. Judges scored each candidate in four areas: a personal interview with a panel of judges, an on-stage interview, kroj (traditional Czech or Slovak folk costume), modeling and talent.

Sticha's mother Kathleen Ruhland made Sticha's kroj, using an authentic family design.

For her talent, which captured the grand talent prize, Sticha gave a dramatic speech about how Czech composer Bedrich Smetana used his talents to make the folk music of his homeland famous. Her speech was followed by a violin solo of the traditional Czech song, If I Were a Bird Polka.

The grand talent prize included a trophy and $500 cash. The prizes for receiving the first runner-up title were a crown, sash, trophy, a $1,000 savings bond and two beautiful Bohemian crystal candle sticks.

Miss Czech Slovak Nebraska Queen Michelle Wiedel won the national title at the pageant.

Sticha's parents are Richard and Kathleen Ruhland of Montgomery and the late Roger Sticha. She was sponsored by the Miss Czech Slovak MN pageant committee.

For more information regarding the Minnesota pageant, which will be held April 12, 2008, call Jerry or Lorraine David at 507-364-9370 or email davidsdiner@hotmail.com.

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