The Honky Tonk Queen History

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The Honky Tonk Queen History[1]
By Sybil

Chapter 1
1984 Seattle, 1985 Denver, 1986 San Francisco
The Early Years
(the Ones Without Sybil)

The Honky Tonk Queen Pageant was originally created in response to a square dance record entitled “Honky Tonk Queen” recorded by two internationally famous callers, Paul Marcus and Elmer Sheffield. Both these callers were at the first Convention in Seattle. The song was such a hit with Miss Virginia Slim from Seattle that she created the Honky Tonk Queen Pageant. She not only created it, she crowned herself Queen!!!!! What a woman!!!! And by creating the pageant she established herself as one of the most important Drag Queens in all of Drag Queen history! Was it because she was the first queen? NO! Was it because she won the next year in Denver and the next year in San Francisco? NO! Was it because she was one hell of a lady who will always remain in the hearts of all the people who have had the chance to know her? NO! Any one of these would have been more than enough reason for the dear girl to go down in history, but all these reasons were overshadowed by her ultimate claim to fame. By creating the Honky Tonk Queen Pageant, IT WAS THERE FOR SYBIL TO WIN!!!!!

Chapter 2
1987 Portland
A Star is Born

It’s 1987, Portland, Oregon, and Virginia finally reveals her genius and how she managed to win the title three years in a row. It seems that every year up until 1987 she didn’t allow any other contestants! Is that brilliant or what????? In 1987, she allowed other contestants to run and decided not to run herself (which is good ’cause she would have just won again). The contest was held in her hospitality suite. The room was packed with gorgeous sweaty square dancers, both male and female. The contestants were milling about, the atmosphere an odd blend of casual and tense. And there I was, a young innocent girl from San Francisco, just out for a good time and a few laughs. There were other contestants. I would describe them but unfortunately compared to me they were so blah and pathetic that I can’t honestly remember a thing about them. Oh yes, I do remember one thing, they were all unbelievably ugly. But why dwell on the unpleasant. I, SYBIL, won and things would never be the same. Oh yes, I should mention one important side event. Stephanie, from Western Star, made a brief appearance. I had worshipped her from the first moment I had seen her at the closing of the Gay Games in San Francisco the year before. She was everything I thought a Drag Queen should be — two tons of teased hair. But now seeing her through the eyes of the freshly crowned and universally adored HONKY TONK QUEEN, I saw her for what she really was — two tons of ratty wig. I felt something almost akin to pity for her, or was it repulsion. But why dwell on the unpleasant. Anyway I won, I won, I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A STAR WAS BORN.

Chapter 3
1988 Phoenix
A Star Becomes a Goddess

At first I didn’t think it was going to be a good year. I was shocked to find they had rewritten the rules and I would be forced to give a pageant at the Phoenix Convention. I had planned to just abolish the whole thing and reign as Queen forever. But things turned out better than I had feared. To begin with, the Pageant had grown. The year I WON!!!!!!!!!!!! there were about 60 people crammed in a hospitality suite, about seven pathetic has-been contestants and ME! In Phoenix the pageant had grown so large that we moved from a small side room to a main ballroom. There was a mob of over three hundred adoring SYBIL fans, over 25 pathetic has-been contestants and ME! And then a truly wonderful thing happened. They handed me a long hard object. It made me quiver, it made me moist. It was a microphone and it MADE ME A GODDESS!!!!!!! Oh yeah and this mousey little thing in an overdone dress with enough satin and lace on it to gag a maggoty named Miss Pam Demonium won the contest.

Chapter 4
1989 New York
The Legend Continues

Miss Pam Demonium shocked the entire square dancing community by performing the first really intelligent act of her otherwise boring and uninspiring life. She didn’t show up in New York. This was incredibly wise for two reasons. One, it would have surely hurt her feelings to realize that absolutely no one remembered her or cared that she had shown up, and two, it gave SYBIL the microphone AGAIN!!!!!!!! This came about due to the incredible genius of Miss Wella Balsam. Wella is one of those girls that every important organization needs. She was that hard working dedicated person who kept the whole thing going. Of course this dynamic personality was an over-compensation for a basically drippy wallflower psychological make-up. I mean the poor thing had been a total nobody, completely overlooked her entire life if she had depended on her looks, but what the hell, it kept the whole thing going. And what a thing it had become! In the Big Apple we took over the main ballroom. The huge room was packed with over 700 people, over 40 pathetic has-been contestants and ME!!!!!! This year the winner was a classic example of the power of the sympathy vote. The previous year she had shown up in a scraggly little grass skirt, bare-footed, sporting a coconut bra, and no hair. To compensate, this year she came dressed to the max with enough hair to make Stephanie gag. (Ms. Stephanie continued to hover around the pageant much like an overdone moth flitting around a flame she could never attain. She also brought along the Bradley Sisters. It is rumored these harpies were the result of a torrid and absolutely disgusting long-standing lust fest between Stephanie and the entire male population of Des Moines, but it’s probably just a nasty rumor, not anything that I would want to get around.) Yes Miss Tami Wynotte, a homely — I mean home girl, certainly did herself up to beat the band. I would like to say it helped improve her basic looks, but why lie. Anyway, everybody felt so sorry for her she won.

Chapter 5
1990 Vancouver
The Dark Clouds Begin to Gather

Unlike her predecessor, Tami did not have the good graces to stay away. Not only did she show up, SHE TOOK CHARGE OF THE MICROPHONE!!!!!!!! The little bitch was disgusting. By imitating my style, my glamour, my every little nuance, she managed to pull the whole thing off. Oh sure, I was there. I was still everyone’s best wet dream, but it just wasn’t the same. And of course Miss Wella — the doctor says I’ll be better any day now — Balsam was there. AND THEY MADE HER A PRINCESS!!!!!! And something about Virginia Ham, which I thought was part of the catering. Obviously the whole pageant was going to HELL IN A HANDBASKET!!!!! And to make matters worse everywhere I turned I saw Stephanie with him, Terry Presley, my wicked evil twin brother. They were everywhere, head to head plotting, scheming, but what would be the result of their devious plans, WHAT!!! The strain was getting to me!!!!!!! Oh yeah, Layona Davenport won the contest. She had heard that it helped your chances to sleep with the judges, and since she didn’t know who the judges were, she just slept with everybody who attended the convention.

Chapter 6
1991 Miami
Stormy Weather

Miami, my home town, was a nightmare. My wicked evil twin brother showed up with his woman HE CLAIMED WAS THE REAL SYBIL!!!!! MY NERVES!!!!!!!! I mean she WASN’T A DRAG QUEEN!!!!!!! SHE WAS, WAS, YOU KNOW, A WOMAN!!!!!!! Not that I don’t like women. I adore them. But this one was claiming to be me, or claiming I was claiming to be her. It was all so confusing. With that slime Stephanie just smiling like Tammy Bakker at a two-for-one tacky makeup sale at Woolworths. And Teny whining “why does everyone always want to see Sybil, why doesn’t everyone want to see me?” (I had patiently explained to him that there wasn’t much of a market in the world or popularity for aging leprechauns, but some people just can’t face reality, sad isn’t it.) It was all too much. And then on top of it all that miserable excuse for a Queen, Layona Sofa, or whatever her name was, brought the entire Chicago Rehabilitation Ward (they called themselves the SHE DEVILS, never were truer words spoken) and then turned the pageant into a full blown extravaganza!!!!!! Sure I was still everybody’s reason for living, but it was just all becoming too, too much. IT ISN’T EASY BEING A SEX GODDESS LET ME TELL YOU. Anyway this thing from New York, who confused Vogueing with making faces won and I can’t even remember what her little pretentious one name was. Cher, or Mystique, or DOMINO, or something like that. And there’s Terry with that look of murder in his eyes, and Stephanie with that wicked, wicked, wicked, smile, and all those PATHETIC HAS-BEEN CONTESTANTS!!!!!! But I’ll show them. I’LL SHOW THEM ALL!!!!!! I’ve found an incredible Beverly Hills Doctor who has agreed to SURGICALLY IMPLANT A MICROPHONE IN MY THROAT AND THEY’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO STOP ME THEN, NEVER, I TELL YOU!!!!!!!! This year ALBUQUERQUE, and then THE WORLD!!!!!!


  1. 1992 IAGSDC Convention Program (Albuquerque). Also reprinted in Ten Years IAGSDC, SquareUPǃ issue 9 (October/November/December 1996) p.22-23, and 2001 IAGSC Convention Program (Vancouver) p.35-37