Galveston's Bathing-Beauty Contest Fails To Address "Opposite Marriage" Issue
Photos by Kevin Scott
In a parade of beehive hair-dos, demure, frilly one-pieces and coquettishly-brandished parasols, and catcalls of "hubba-hubba" and "va-va-va-voom," the ghosts of Bettie Page and Galveston's glorious past were brought back to life Saturday. After a 77-year absence, the Galveston Bathing Beauty Contest, a.k.a. "the pageant of pulchritude," returned to the seaside. Yours truly bit the bullet and signed up to serve as a judge.
Shimmering weather and glorious green-to-the-beach surf welcomed the contest back to life. While this year's edition did not attract the hordes that flocked to it back in the event's Roaring `20s (200,000 came in its peak year), several hundred did come, with some perching on the lip of the Seawall and others ringing the contestants on the beach.
The contestants strutted their stuff in two phases of the pageant -- a dozen women competed in the contemporary bathing-suit category and 28 women duked it out for the vintage-swimwear title. Two men competed for the vintage title, but neither the first contestant's candy-striped one-piece Edwardian suit nor the other's boater hat and fake handlebar mustache cut much ice with the judges, though we all did admire their spunk and sass. Several contestants entered both phases, with Houston's glamorous, leopard-skin-rocking Dana Blue finishing as first runner-up in both.
All in all, there was a tasteful and family-friendly vibe to the whole affair. This was not your typical raunchy Spring Break bacchanalia. Back in our days as music editor here, we were often called upon to judge battles of the bands, and this beat that six ways to Sunday.
Even if we lowered the tone, somewhat. How can we put this? Let's just say that we seemed to have different, um, priorities than the other two judges. After the contest, one said to the other that he awarded extra points based on the women's shoes. The other said that she had done the same, and also mentioned she had graded the contestants on their hairstyles. I must confess that the criteria that factored most vitally in my selections were somewhat more superficial than that.
Shoes? What shoes?
And here are the winners, and the runners-up who will be called to fulfill the duties should the winners not be able to complete their reign:
First -- Chandler Rainey
First runner-up -- Dana Blue
Second runner-up -- Traci Cowart
First -- Melozi Scott
First runner-up --Dana Blue
Second runner-up -- Secilia Garrett-King
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