The Yukon Rendezvous Sourdough (YSR) Queen School runs from November until the following February, when the next queen is chosen. Queen candidates, (QC’s) meet weekly for two hours with a break over Christmas time. It’s a compact, well tailored and well organized syllabus.

Every Yukon woman who will be at least 19 years of age at the beginning of the year’s competition is given a chance to enroll in the Queen School. There are no age, height, weight, or race requirement or restrictions. All it takes is an open heart and a willingness to learn and have fun.

The roughly three-month crash course and constant testing of one’s ability guarantees  transformation for the better in anyone’s life.

We learn how to work as a team under many stressful circumstances. We became more tolerant, knowledgeable and better informed. We compete as a team to challenge ourselves to a higher standard. Our real competitors are not other QCs, but ourselves.

We all start on the same ground. Nobody is a super model, emcee, fashion designer or historian. One just has to acquire all these skills within the next 2-3 months and do well to win the title. At the end of the day, we know that we are all winners in our world.

The following is a snapshot for those aspiring to be the next Queen, First or Second Princess, or Miss Congeniality .

On the first night of school, after a brief introduction, every QC will be given a syllabus that contains events on which the QC will be judged. It includes rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts, how points are allocated and the number of queen raffle tickets to be sold by the QC.

First order of the school is to get all the candidates fitted with three rental period costumes and headpieces. The costumes turn us into instant seamstresses: needle and thread to tighten oversized dresses and skirts, or safety pins to hold the pieces together.

We do whatever we can to get the dresses fitted. Not happy with the rental head pieces? Google showed us the 19th century fashion and some of us started to glue and paste feathers, gemstones, flowers, et cetera, so that we could make our own.  

A photography session turns every candidate into a princess or lady of the 19th century, which helps us rediscover another side of our potential.

Overnight, we become super models on the runway, as the fashion show is a judged event! Here, we are taught to be organized, use teamwork  and take care of our personal belongings. Each candidate has four outfits. What to wear and what accessories to put with it, takes careful planning and execution.

Many QCs join the contest to increase their public speaking skills. There are lots of opportunities to practise. There is a two-minute public speaking judged event, and you can be creative with the content.

I found the Etiquette dinner a tough event. We were taught to use cutlery from the outside in. Feeling very nervous, I started using the butter knife to cut my steak. It worked, but points were deducted.

If only Queen Victoria had used chopsticks and spoons, I would have done better.

Queen’s raffle tickets are the biggest fund raiser for YSR, and every QC is expected to sell a certain number of tickets.  This number is only 30 per cent of the overall mark. QC’s must learn to be creative and organised to get these sold.   

Other judged events include interviews with the judges, talent show, the Queen’s tea, visiting senior’s homes, day cares and some other events.

Feedback from previous QCs reveals a sense of personal achievement and long-term friendships being formed. are formed.

For anyone out there thinking of joining the queen contest, may I suggest you do it soon? This is a unique contest and, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Contact the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Office at 867-667-2148 to enroll.