Possums Unlimited Retires the Possum Queen Contest – Sept. 24, 2016.

What do you do when a local tradition run out of steam? That’s where we are with our “Possum Queen Race”. It started out pretty much as a practical joke but became a practical means for fund raising for The Front Porch Stage.

As with most new things, the Queen’s race was a huge success, and we owe those early queens a debt of gratitude for their grace and good humor. For several years it was true that, at a penny a vote, the contest was “the best election that money could buy”.

Being a Possum Queen is a distinct honor and we will always have a special appreciation for those ladies who chose, or were chosen, to serve. They are a very special group of women who, despite any possum jokes, gave us their time and energies in support of the Front Porch Stage. We will always honor them. All twenty one of them! We also honor the Possum Princesses, all seven of them!

So it comes to this: With some nostalgic sadness, we are ending the two-decade-old tradition known to us as “The Possum Queen Race”. Our partnership with Possums Unlimited will continue.

We will be honoring all our “has been” Possum Queens in our Parade and Picnic September 24, 2016.  Montgomery County Possum Queens will gather that day for their final day as “has-beens” as we honor them with a final parade and procession. They will  forever be the only ladies to ever hold the titles and reign as Possum Queen or Princess.

See the table below listing the Possum Queens from beginning to end.

Now and Forever, we celebrate our Montgomery County Possum Queens.

All Hail the Queens!!

History of the Possum Queen

Montgomery County Arkansas is home to an unusual bunch of folks with a fine tradition of having a sense of humor. You never know what will happen when someone watching reruns will have an idea that sticks wherever it’s thrown.

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Such might be said for the Montgomery Possum Queen.  Seems one of the fellers here was watching old reruns of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and realized that the social order in Mount Ida and Montgomery County needed a little shove. As it would happen that feller figured out that we needed a Possum Queen to balance things, so he rounded up some jammers, revealed his plans, and they proceeded to find a queen.

A "Wanna-Be" Possum Queen campaigns for votes. At a penny a vote, it's the best election money can buy!

A “Wanna-Be” Possum Queen campaigns for votes. At a penny a vote, it’s the best election money can buy!

They didn’t have to look too far! A banjo player’s wife fit the bill, so they made her queen. When some of the other wives and ladies heard about this, there was an uproar that they too deserved to be queens. It was quickly decided that they had opened a barrel of trouble, so they decided they needed to organize to quell the ladies. At this point some of the ladies said “we’ll handle this ourselves, thank you very much”. Possums Unlimited was born! Now it’s been going on for several years and we’ve crowned a bunch of queens and have a whole flock of Princesses.

The "Has-Been" Queens' Float in the 2012 Possum Parade

The “Has-Been” Queens’ Float in the 2012 Possum Parade

We “elect” a very special person to represent the Front Porch Stage and Possums Unlimited each year. They must be of a certain age, live in Montgomery County, and have a certain temperament, along with a very good sense of humor. Granny Clampett pretty much was the perfect Possum Queen!

All in all, we have nineteen “Has-been Queens”, one reigning queen, and “Wannabees” running for the honor, prestige and the just plain glory of being the Montgomery County Arkansas Possum Queen. At a penny a vote, it’s the best election money can buy!!!

2009 Queen Anita passes the torch to 2010 Queen Jane.

2009 Queen Anita passes the torch to 2010 Queen Jane.

On the occasion that no qualified candidates run, Possums Unlimited and The Nocturnal Order of the Possum choose a suitable subject and elevate their status to royalty! The celebration for the Crowning of the Queen takes place the last weekend of September with a parade, the coronation and special guests to entertain the royal court.

We invite everyone to come enjoy the day and the pomp and pageantry of the Coronation of the Montgomery County Possum Queen!

2016 marked the 11th anniversary of the Possum Picnic, but, unfortunately, there will be no 21st Possum Queen!!  A huge THANK YOU to all of the ladies who have diligently served and who have helped The Front Porch Stage for these many years.

The Possum Queens of Montgomery County

1996_Possum_Queen_1501996Roseanne Adams
1996_Possum_Queen_1501997Madene Hughbanks
1996_Possum_Queen_1501998Toogie Swindle
1996_Possum_Queen_1501999Wanda Clenney
1996_Possum_Queen_1502000Patti Lashley
1996_Possum_Queen_1502001Nolene Bobo
2002_Possum_Queen_1502002Betty Williams
1996_Possum_Queen_1502003Mary Offitt
1996_Possum_Queen_1502004Lynn Howard
1996_Possum_Queen_1502005JoAnn Cozby
1996_Possum_Queen_1502006Sue West
2007_Possum_Queen_1502007Winifred Eggleston
2008_Possum_Queen_1502008Barbara Black
2009_Possum_Queen_1502009Anita Watson
2010_Possum_Queen_1502010Jane Babbitt
2011_Possum_Queen_1502011Jerline Qualls
2012_Possum_Queen_1502012Donna Jones
2013_Possum_Queen_1502013Deborah Adams
2014_Possum_Queen_1502014Brenda Minton
2015_Possum_Queen_1502015Donna Wilburn
2015_Possum_Queen_1502016Barbara Sprague
2016_Possum_Queen_150Honorary Possum Queen ForeverJean Shepard
2016_Possum_Queen_150Honorary Possum Queen ForeverJanet Z. Capua