Throwback Thursday: Miss Grain Sorghum Contest | 1963

We have been doing some spring cleaning around the NSP office and found some fun photographs in our archives of the Miss Grain Sorghum pageant. We were interested to know a little bit more about the contest, and through “small world” connections we were lucky enough to be able to visit with a previous Miss Grain Sorghum. Shown below is a photograph of 1963’s Miss Grain Sorghum, Sandra Sue Stargel.The Miss Grain Sorghum was a yearly competition held in the Texas Panhandle that lasted until the late 1960s.

We decided to reconnect with one of the former pageant winners, Sandra Sue Stargel, who was crowned Miss Grain Sorghum in 1963. Sandra was a freshman at Texas Tech University from Memphis, Texas, and was very involved at the university. She played the flute in the Texas Tech Band and was involved in the freshman twirling core.

According to Stargel, the Miss Grain Sorghum contest was held on September 2, 1962, with 34 contestants competing from all over the Panhandle. Ten of the 34 contestants were from Dimmitt, Texas, with the oldest being 21 years old and the youngest a ripe age of 16. The DImmitt Chamber of Commerce put on the contest yearly with sponsorships from Dekalb, Richardson Seed Ltd., Coop Seed, Taylor Evans, and WH Seed of Hereford.

The contest was an all day affair with rehearsals and interviews with judges in the morning and the contest in the evening. The contestants were required to appear in bathing suits, formal wear and street attire.

The winner of the Miss Grain Sorghum contest received a $500 scholarship and, in return, signed a contract to attend functions to help advertise and promote grain sorghum. Sandra recalls attending many parades and fairs all over the Panhandle and meeting the governor of Texas while attending a function in Paducah.

This picture of Sandra was taken in 1963 after the U.S. experienced a shortage of sorghum seed and imported seed from Argentina. Miss Grain Sorghum is pictured here welcoming the grain to Lubbock. ─ a picture that appeared in several magazines and was taken by Dekalb.

Fifty years later Sandra now resides in Amarillo, Texas, and is a licensed counselor and real estate agent.

To view more photos of the contest you can visit the National Sorghum Producers Flickr page.