The Days of '47 Queen and her two attendants, all Salt Lake area students, were chosen from among 90 entrants in ceremonies Saturday night in the Sons of Utah Pioneers Building.
Anne Madsen, 20, a junior majoring in education at the University of Utah, was named Days of '47 queen after a daylong pageant that included modeling, personal interviews and questioning by a panel of judges.The first attendant is Elizabeth Nebeker, 18, an Alta High School senior who plans to attend Brigham Young University. Second attendant is Maria Matthews, 19, a BYU junior majoring in microbiology.
All are descendants of the Utah pioneers, as the contest requires that each has at least one ancestor who entered the Salt Lake Valley before May 10, 1869. They were judged on their beauty, poise, and most of all on their ability to speak before a crowd.
Each was asked to answer two questions for the judges, ranging from what the pioneers ate to how the contestants handle their personal problems and set their priorities.
Virginia Boogert, Days of '47 royalty pageant chairman, said the winners are already scheduled to attend various events from the end of May through August, including many speaking engagements.
Perhaps the royalty's best-known activity is riding a float in the annual Days of '47 Parade downtown, although the three will participate in all of the activities celebrating the arrival of the pioneers.
Madsen, who won the title just hours before she turned 20, listed more than a dozen ancestors on her contest application. Among them is noted painter C.C.A. Christensen, some of whose work is displayed in the Manti Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Madsen acts with the Hale Center Theater and plans to become a teacher. She is the daughter of Ron and Patricia Madsen of Salt Lake City.
She said she entered the pageant because it was something her grandmother always wanted her to do. As a child, Madsen said she and her grandmother always watched the queen and her attendants ride by in the annual parade.
"It sounds kind of sappy, but it's not," Madsen said. "We'd go to the parade every year and she'd say, `You could do that.' "
When she was announced as the winner Saturday night, Madsen said her first thought was of her grandmother, after a moment of disbelief that she had really won.
Nebeker has pioneer ancestors on both sides of her family, including her mother's great-great grandfather, Ira Nathaniel Hinckley. Her goal is to become a doctor, and she will major in psychology. She is the daughter of Roland and Susan Nebeker of Sandy.
During an interview shortly after the pageant ended, Nebeker said she hoped her victory would make her more comfortable in front of large audiences. She said already her teeth hurt from so much smiling.
Matthews' pioneer ancestors include her mother's great-great grandmother, Sarah Huntsman Giles. She plans to enter other beauty contests as well as study for a career as a doctor. She is the daughter of Kelly and MaryLynn Matthews of Bountiful.
Matthews was a finalist in the Miss Teen Utah Pageant. She said when she was picked as second attendant, her first thought was, "Hold your shoulders back, head up."