GENEROUS PAGEANT CONTRIBUTORS FOR 2023
Without the support and generosity of the following individuals, the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant would not exist. Our colorful and entertaining national ethnic event stems from donations and sponsorships. We are celebrating the 36th pageant and anticipate an exciting competition. We have nine (9) outstanding contestants vying to be Miss Czech-Slovak US 2023-2024. In addition, to the numerous hours volunteered by the pageant committee, the following donors have generously contributed to the Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant.
This year the pageant is thankful for the generosity of numerous sponsors. The young lady crowned Miss Czech-Slovak US 2023-2024 will win a scholarship of $2,000 sponsored by the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago. She will also receive a $250 educational scholarship in memory of John C. and Alice T. Rokusek, sponsored by Dr. Cecilia Rokusek. The newly crowned Miss Czech-Slovak US will also receive $2,500 towards a trip to the Czech Republic or Slovakia.
The Miss Czech-Slovak US 1st Runner-Up will receive a scholarship of $1,500, sponsored by the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago. The Miss Czech-Slovak US 2nd Runner-Up will receive a scholarship of $1,000 sponsored the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago.
The pageant contestants stay at the historic Hotel Wilber during pageant weekend. Each room sponsor contributes $250 towards the cost of the pageant weekend housing. The 2023 rooms sponsors are: T.J. Sokol, Czech Language Foundation, Miss Czech-Slovak Minnesota Board of Directors, the Nebraska Czechs, Inc., Czech Heritage Society of Texas, the Oklahoma Czechs Inc., the Wharton County Czech Heritage Society of Texas, the Miss Missouri Czech-Slovak Organization, Wilber Care Center, Security First Bank, Tabor Chamber of Commerce and the Czech Slavnosti.
The pageant would also like to thank the following award sponsors. The late John and Lois Fiala sponsor the Grand Talent Award including a $750 scholarship and Bohemian Crystal and a $500 scholarship and Bohemian Crystal for the Talent Runner-Up. Tim and Lisa “Karpisek” Messman support the Kroj category awards in memory of Lillie Vesely, Richard Karpisek, and Kathy Kubicek. Kroj awards include individuals awards for Accuracy and Knowledge which will receive a $500 scholarship, and garnets and awards for Family Story and Poise which will receive a $250 scholarship. A special Czech/Slovak gift will be presented to the Oratory Winner donated by Dr. Cecilia Rokusek, Slovak Honorary Consul of Florida, in memory of her mother Alicia “Fiala” Rokusek. The oratory winner will also receive a $250 cash scholarship donated by Candyce Vana Ingwersen. The John & Lois Fiala Spirit Award recognizes the contestant who best exemplifies the spirit of the Czech/Slovak Heritage. A $250 cash scholarship and Bohemian Crystal will be awarded to the winner sponsored by John S. Fiala on behalf of John and Lois’ grandchildren Adele, Lisa, John S, and Chris Fiala. TJ Sokol of Wilber donates a $100 scholarship and Bohemian Crystal to the contestant with the best Sokol-like Talent plus a $75 scholarship and Bohemian Crystal for the Sokol Runner-Up Award. The Gruntorad-Stastny Heritage Award gives a $450 prize scholarship and Bohemian Crystal to the contestant with the most significant involvement in their heritage. This award is sponsored by Jerry & Donna McNeil, Jim & Caralee Gruntorad, and Bob & Eulalia Dory. The Miss Congenialty Award is sponsored by Olga and Peter Ptak, who provide a scholarship and Bohemian Crystal. Our Cultural Preservation Award is funded by Kathy Podsedink, Texas State Pageant Director, and Julius Kramaric J.D. Ph.D, Pivovar Waco.This award highlights the contestant dedicated to preserving our heritage traditions and awards a $250 scholarship and Bohemian crystal.
This year for the first time, we will award the The Božena Award. This will be awarded to the contestant who strives to make the world a better place, aids those around her and inspires others to do the same. This award is gifted in Marie (Božena) Root’s memory by her daughter, Kimberly Horikoshi, Marie’s sister, Kathy Pagnatta, and Marie’s sister-in-law, Patti Turik.
A special note of appreciation to the following businesses and organizations for supporting our general pageant fund. Sponsors at the Friends of the Pageant level (up to $249) include: BetterLife, Czech Alaska Society, David J. Balkon DDS, First State Bank Nebasksa, Food Mesto of Wilber, Phillips Czechoslovakian Community Festival Inc., Western United Mutual Insurance of Wilber. Maryann Sivak is a donor at the Little Sister level. Doris Ourecky, Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant co-founder is in the Royal Court Level ($500 - $1999).
The pageant would like to thank the generous individuals who are members of the Miss Czech-Slovak US Alumnae Association. Amanda De Hoedt is an Anniversary Level donor (up to $249) and Jennifer Krejci is a Garnet Level ($500-$999). At the Royal Court Level ($500 - $1999) include and Candyce Vana Ingwersen, Esq. (1988 Nebraska Czech-Slovak Queen) and the Vana Family for her donation of $1,000 to the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant and Alumnae Association. Ms. Ingwersen dedicates her gift in memory of Emil and Betty (Sukovaty) Vana. A portion of Ms. Ingewesen’s donation supports the Oratory Award.
We are incredibly thankful of our Hospitality Sponsor Larry and Teri Shestak. They host a post-pageant party at the Sokol Hall following the crowning ceremony on Sunday evening. Additionally they provided refreshments for our contestants and Royal Court.
The pageant committee would like to thank the following sponsors for their in-kind support. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Lincoln Crete for housing the judges. Bradley Kalkwarf with Kalkwarf & Smith Law Offices, LLC for acting as the pageant’s legal counsel.
We are excited to recognize our "Little Sisters" who are escorts for the pageant contestants during the weekend. They are introduced during the pageant ceremonies and listed in the pageant program. The contestants and pageant committee attend a special breakfast sponsored in memory of Richard Mares on Sunday morning at St. Wenceslas Church. Thank you to the Nebraska Czechs of Wilber for the usage of the Outdoor Theater and gracious hospitality during the pageant weekend. The Czech Slavnosti provides generous print coverage for the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant year around.
The pageant committee consists of National Pageant Director Alexandria Cerveny Sandall and pageant committee members: Brenda Cerveny, Ellie Cerveny, Debbie Koslowski, Emily Manning, and Julia Ourecky. Other people who share their time and talents include Larry Pracheil and Donna Stehlik, who audit the scores. MaryElizabeth Lackey who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the pageant. Kurt Kiesel, Russ Rezny, John S. Fiala and Izzy Adcock serve as stage support. The 2022-2023 Royal court including Monica Pechous, Anna Sedivy-Thompson and Cecilia Minchow will serve as hostesses to the contestants at the historic Hotel Wilber.
All of these individuals and organizations are partners in America’s most colorful, exciting, and entertaining ethnic pageant.
We hope all will join us for the 2024 Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant on August 3-4 at 7 pm at Wilber’s beautiful outdoor theater.