Rogers" wades into NC Crown Controversy
Fifty-nine year old Miss North
Carolina crowns successor
Weekly Comments, by Randall Reeder as Will Rogers Today
June 22, 2003 COLUMBUS, OHIO:
... North Carolina had a big contest yesterday. I'm not referring to the
Hollering event in Spivey's Corner, although that's a big one. If fact you
won't find bigger voices anywhere, even on American Idol.
No, the big competition I'm talking about was in Raleigh to see who gets
to be the next Miss North Carolina. What makes this such a big deal, more
so than in any other state, is what happened last year. You might
recollect that the winner, Rebekah Revels, had to give her crown to the
runner-up because her no account ex-boyfriend threatened to print some
photos he never should have took in the first place.
Last month she said she wanted the crown back, at least long enough to
crown the new Miss North Carolina. This posed an embarrassing problem for
pageant officials because the former runner-up said she was well qualified
to do the crowning, and didn't need Rebekah's help.
Now, it just wouldn't do to have these two beautiful women on stage
fighting over one crown. Those crowns have points, and they're tipped with
cut diamonds. Now, let me ask you, would you want them out there with a
That left the officials with another problem, who would do the crowning?
They needed someone with experience, someone with charm, with flair. Just
about any former Miss NC qualified, but they settled on my old friend,
Jeanne Swanner Robertson. It was forty years ago that Jeanne represented
North Carolina in the Miss America pageant, and she holds two
distinctions. No contestant has ever been funnier, and none has ever been
To put this development in perspective, just imagine if the Democratic
Party said to those nine folks campaigning for President, "Go on back
home, we're nominating Pat Paulsen instead." Or, suppose you were to turn
out your county sheriff and replace him with Mayberry's Andy Griffith.
So Jeanne brushed off the mothballs and her sense of humor and geared up
for the big night. She told me last week, "I've been holding in my
stomach, smiling and practicing the pageant wave. My plan is to tape up
the sagging areas on my body, a process that will take approximately
twenty-four hours. I fully intend to walk out on stage on my own accord
and unassisted. I'm ready, but at this point in my life, if they give me a
scholarship, I will not, I repeat, will not, go back to school. The
biggest problem so far, is I put Vaseline on my teeth, and then I couldn't
remember where I put my teeth."
You know they always let the past winner, just before she relinquishes the
crown, kinda summarize what all she's been up to since being crowned.
Usually they allow about five minutes. This time, with forty years to
cover, nobody knows how long Jeanne will go on. And they'll be laughing so
hard no one will care.
I've gone on a bit longer than normal myself. But I figured, if twelve
year olds can read 800 pages of Harry Potter at one sitting, then a page
and a half isn't too much to lay out for the rest of you. Between J. K.
Rowling and Senator Clinton, there hasn't been so much reading since Mark
Twain and McGuffey were in their prime. Prince William turned 21 this
weekend, and next Saturday another popular Englishman, the old Methodist
himself, John Wesley celebrates birthday number 300. The way things are
going, young Will may have to live just as long before he ever gets to be
Historic quote from Will Rogers: "I have prowled the width and breadth of
that wonderfully progressive state of North Carolina. Their citizens have
been mighty good to me in time of need. I have sold 'em a mighty poor
grade of jokes, but which they always seemed to accept either out of sheer
generosity, or simply because they had nowhere else to go." WA #557,
August 27, 1933
Randall Reeder as Will Rogers Today, may be contacted at