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No Queen at This Year’s New Athens Homecoming

July 15, 1989

NEW ATHENS, Ill. (AP) _ For the first time in its 30-year history, the New Athens Homecoming Pageant won’t have a Miss New Athens to crown.

None of the town’s teen-age girls wanted to compete for the crowning Sunday night, organizers say.

″Maybe there’s a change in the wind,″ said Doni-Mae Rauch, co-chairman of the homecoming committee. ″It might be a thing of the past. It is a shame to see it go.″

The contest, sponsored by the New Athens Women’s Club, is not a beauty pageant. Rather, the girl age 16 to 19 who sells the most $1 tickets for raffle chances automatically becomes homecoming queen, Rauch said.

The money collected benefits the New Athens Commercial Club, which promotes business and industry in New Athens and the surrounding area.

″I am a little disappointed that nobody shows that much interest in helping the town nd raising the money,″ Miss New Athens 1988 Denise Range said. ″But hopefully it will happen again next year.″

The queen receives a cash prize plus a commission, jewelry, a sterling silver bowl, a tiara and a portrait session.

″For some reason this year, we didn’t find anyone willing to win a guaranteed $500 first prize plus a percentage of sales over $1,000,″ Rauch said.

Laurel Ruhmann, who became Miss New Athens in 1985 after selling 2,000 tickets, isn’t surprised by the lack of interest.

″I can kind of understand,″ she said. ″It’s hard work.″

The pageant won’t have a queen, but it might still have a raffle.

High school cheerleaders are selling tickets, as are the town’s Rotary Club, Lions Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Next year, the New Athens committee might open the contest to boys, just as neighboring Marissa is doing this year.

″We’re going to keep an eye on that,″ Rauch said. ″It is a very valid possibility and something we might consider.″

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