Holstein (Cow) in a Beauty Pageant? Jane Jenkins Herlong

Yes, she did! She milked a cow in a beauty pageant; you can’t put high heels on a holstein cow!

In a rural Illinois community, a group of leaders decided they needed a queen. So, in an attempt to copy our graceful Southern ways, a beauty pageant was proposed. Notice was sent the area schools, and an eager group of young ladies assembled.Several questions concerning talent were asked. The response of “do what you do best” was given to the wannabe beauty queens. Well, it just so happened that one particular wannabe held another title: The 4-H Cow  Milking Champion. And don’t you know, this young lady, not having just fallen off the cattle truck, was no dummy. She checked out the Miss America rulebook. And nowhere in that book did it say “no live animals on stage.” At the time, there was no such rule, but honey, today it is in that rulebook as big as you please in bold print. I guess you have made the connection by now. This is the very event that created the rule that forever changed the lives of beauty queens across America.

Dress rehearsal, Friday night. Our contestant drives up to the auditorium transporting a big ol’ “has-not-been-milked- all-day” Holstein—in other words, her talent. This creates quite a stir with the pageant committee since her application stated her talent was a “classical musical rendition of the Blue Danube.” Yes, sirree, this gal not only had culture but also a little agriculture in mind.

With her three-legged stool positioned so she could grip her “instruments” and the bucket underneath, the soundman played their song. Yes, she commenced to milk that cow to the tune of the Blue Danube.  Now y’all, I ain’t makin’ this up.

The melodious sounds of the milk hitting the sides of that galvanized bucket rivaled the magnificent works of Mozart himself. It went something like this: Du, Du, Du, du-du—squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt. Du, Du, Du, du-du—squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt … you get the picture.

The curtain opened that next evening with the bevy of beauties doing their thing. The pageant progressed flawlessly, and then, the moment those in the know dreaded most arrived. The audience gasped as the curtain was drawn to reveal what would turn out to be the most memorable performance in the history of pageant competition.

The music began, and our girl, as poised as any Miss America has ever been, played her utterly fabulous cow. The crowd sat motionless, soaking in the magical moment. One small handclap quickly escalated into a thunderous roar of applause. But the bliss of the moment was short-lived. The cow let out a moo that shook the building to its foundation. Red flags waved, as did the cow’s tail.

Those of you who are not from a farm background may think the cow was applauding too. Our contestant knew better, as did a member of the pageant committee. Both contestant and committee member raced to the same place at the same time in an attempt to fetch the big bucket. But, alas, the cow beat ‘em to the punch. Time for that phrase we all know and love: when you gotta go, you gotta go. And go this cow did.

In an attempt to grab the big bucket, the contestant and committee member tripped over the main power cord and unplugged the lights, sound, etc. In a darkened building, the only sounds heard were the mooing of the relieved animal and well, the other.

During the next several minutes of complete bedlam, the building was evacuated and the cow was removed from the stage as was the “cow-wee.”

What happened next is the point of the entire story. That darlin’ little ol’ honorary Southern Belle only had one question. Still poised, she walked up to the pageant committee and asked, “Can I do it again?”

This is one of the finest queen’s rules, and it is a colossal success principle: don’t ever stop trying.

Every time I share this story, someone will ask, “Did she win?” Did she win! Well, she won the best title of all: the girl who got rid of beauty queen animal tricks. However, the biggest prize was her attitude of giving it another try or squirt, if you will.

Life is filled with moments when someone or something moo-ves your bucket. Successful people continue to milk life and fill-up our ever-changing buckets.

Jane Jenkins Herlong is a Southern Humorist, member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and professional singer. You can hear her comedy on Sirius XM 97.

Jane travels the country sharing her Sweet Tea Wisdom and Southern Fried Humor.

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