Miss Czech-Slovak US 2016-17
Michaela Steager
Dobrý den!

Time definitely flies when you are doing something you absolutely love! Here it is, the beginning of February and I have just a short six months left of my reign. Halfway through my title and I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am, and how humbled I am to hold the title of Miss Czech-Slovak US.

My reign has definitely been a busy one thus far. I have attended 13 events and traveled almost 7,000 miles. I have helped celebrate in the One World Day Celebration in Cleveland, Ohio, and was able to march in the parade with the Czech Representatives.

I then moved south to attend Westfest! 2nd Runner Up Ashley Pudil and I walked in the Parade of Kroje, and I was able to meet my long time role model, Sarah (Middlebrook) Armor. Sarah won the Miss Czech - Slovak US pageant in 2006, and that was my very first memory of the pageant, and the Czech - Slovak Queens. Those ladies made such an impact on me 11 years ago, I wanted to wear the dresses they wore, I wanted to wave like them, and smile like them. I was a little girl who was surrounded by her idols. Once I started getting older and realizing that all of our family traditions were rooted in the Czech Heritage, I realized that I wanted to live my heritage as best as I could. This story shows how the Miss Czech - Slovak US Pageant has brought my life full circle. Sarah, her mother Sharon, myself, and my mother Debbie took a picture together to show family and historical involvement.

Since then I have traveled around Nebraska to little festivals, parades, christmas parties, meeting the granddaughter of “My Antonia”, and even attending the New World Symphony at the Lied Center. I attended the Moravian Days in Chicago, and the Oklahoma Festival where I was able to help Madeline Hecker celebrate her new title as the 2016-2017 Oklahoma Czech Queen!

I’ve been thanked, been asked to sing, been asked to talk about my life and my story, and I have enjoyed every second of it. However my most rewarding memories are hearing other people’s stories, and sharing the love of heritage and culture with them. I love bonding over family recipes, and hearing about immigration stories and how families had to smuggle kroje. I love seeing little girls’ faces light up when I walk in the room, and seeing their shy faces come up to me and ask if they can take a picture.

Thus far this experience has been more rewarding than I ever imagined. I look forward to seeing what the next six months hold for me. I hope to see you all along the way, and I can’t wait to hear your stories and memories. Thank you for your love and support thus far.

Thank you! Děkuji!

Michaela Steager
Miss Czech - Slovak US 2016-2017