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Miss Czech Slovak US Pageant

2009 Pageant
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Queen: Brianna Tichy, New Jersey
1st Runner Up: Teresa Mahoney, Oregon
2nd Runner Up: Carrie Brown, Nebraska
Grand Talent: Christy Dowling, Kansas
Runner Up Talent: Brianna Tichy
Authentic Kroj: Teresa Mahoney
Americanized Kroj: Christy Dowling
Oratory Award: Teresa Mahoney
Lois Fiala Czech/Slovak Heritage Award: Leilani Kurtak, Arizona
Heritage Involvement Award: Tanya Jech, Illinois
Sokol Award: Olivia Cada, Minnesota
Miss Congeniality: Olivia Cada
Contestants:
Michelle Barak, Texas
Olivia Buydos, Ohio
Amanda DeHoedt, Iowa
Samantha Hlinicky, Oklahoma
Kristy Kleinhans, Wisconsin
Valerie Smith, Missouri
Cindy Syrovatka, South Dakota
 

Brianna Tichy, New Jersey, of Woolwich, New Jersey was crowned 2009-10 Miss Czech Slovak United States, along with winning Talent Runner Up. Brianna attends the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She is working on her Bachelor's degree in International Studies, with a focus on Eastern Europe and Post-communist countries. She is the daughter of Fred Tichy and Bridget DeFiccio. With the title Brianna will recieve $1500 cash, $2500 towards a trip to the Czech or Slovak Republic and a special $250 special scholarship in memory of John Rokusek and much more. Teresa Mahoney, Oregon, of Portland, Oregon was 1st Runner Up, Authentic Kroj Winner and the Alicia "Fiala" Rokusek Oratory Award. Carrie Brown, Nebraska, of Omaha, Nebraska won 2nd Runner Up. Christine Dowling, Kansas, of Hays, Kansas won Americanized Kroj and Grand Talent Winner. Leilani Kurtak, Arizona of Tucson, Arizona received the Lois Fiala Spirit of Czech/Slovak Heritage award. Tanya Jech, Illinois of Westchester, Illinois won the Heritage Involvement Award. Olivia Cada, Minnesota, of Shorewood, Minnesota received the Sokol talent routine award and Miss Congeniality.

2009 Award Winners
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Above from Left to Right: Olivia Cada, Tanya Jech, Carrie Brown, Brianna Tichy, Teresa Mahoney, Leilani Kurtak, Christy Dowling

2009 Contestants
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2009 Court
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Carrie Brown - Nebraska

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Teresa Mahoney - Oregon

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Brianna Tichy - New Jersey

Thank you Brianna for a wonderful year!

Brianna Tichy – My year as 2009-10 Miss Czech Slovak US

                I had always heard that winning the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant was a life-changing experience, but this year, I proved this statement first hand.  I can honestly say, proving a fact has never been a greater pleasure for me.  My year has been and continues to be busy, hectic, and the most fun I have ever had.  I count years by the Czech Days, so I will recount my whirlwind of a year starting at the very beginning, August 2009.

                My year started with the realization of a childhood dream for me; winning the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant was something I had aspired to since attending Czech Days as a little girl.  August soon turned into September, when school started and I resumed my activities as the Vice President of the UNL Czech Komenský Club.  Soon, it was October and I had to get ready for one of my first multi-event weekends on October 3rd and 4th.  That weekend, I travelled to Yukon, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Czech Festival as well as to York, Nebraska for their festival.  I had a great time at both events and regret nothing of my midnight road trip.  Quickly, November was approaching, and with that came the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the event which brought about the downfall of communism in then Czechoslovakia.  On November 6th, I headed down to Kansas City, Missouri, where I attended a weekend long celebration of the Velvet Revolution.  There, I got to meet Sharon Valasek, the Honorary Counsel to the Czech Republic, as well as Daniel Kostoval, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Czech Embassy.  I had a really great time and celebrated the historic events that shaped both the Czech and Slovak Republics.  Too soon, the holidays approached and 2009 came to a close.

                With the winter came an interminable wait for the next Czech-Slovak activities to begin.  Finally, I was able to get back in action in March, kicking off the second half of my year—and what a second half it was! On March 27th, I was given the chance to travel to St. Louis to take part in the St. Louis Sokol’s Spring Czech Festival.  It was a great afternoon, full of dancing and food, but my favorite part was the beautiful authentic kroje people were wearing!  In no time at all, it was back to Lincoln, just in time for the busiest weekend of my reign so far—the University of Nebraska’s Symposium on Czech and Slovak Settlers, as well as judging the Miss Czech-Slovak Minnesota Pageant.  I attended the symposium as not only the National Czech Queen, but also the new President of the UNL Czech Komenský Club.  It was an amazing week, making me regret its ending.  Some of the highlights were video chatting during a question and answer session with a group of Czech Students who had studied at the University of Nebraska, as well as getting to meet Martin Mejstrik, one of the two students who started the Velvet Revolution and former Czech senator.  Once the week was finished, I headed north to Minnesota, where I had the pleasure of judging the Miss Minnesota Czech-Slovak Pageant.  April gave way to May, another busy month for me.  I balanced finals week as well as attending the Lincoln Czech Festival the first weekend.  Two weeks later, I moved out of Lincoln and headed home, to New Jersey, stopping by Houby Days in Cedar Rapids Iowa on the way, the home to the Miss Iowa Czech-Slovak Pageant.  I had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the rebuilding process that Cedar Rapids is still undergoing after to floods of 2008.  Since then, I have been busy getting ready for August as well as doing some Czech and Slovak activities on the east coast, such as the New York Czech and Slovak Festival I attended the last weekend of May.

                While the time is flying by until August, I still have a few more events to tackle until the time comes to pass on the crown.  In fact, in June, I will attend the Czechoslovak Festival in Phillips, Wisconsin where the Miss Wisconsin Czech-Slovak Pageant is held.  After that, I will head to the Wilson Czech Festival in Wilson, Kansas and the Miss Kansas Czech-Slovak Pageant. After that weekend Wilber Czech Days will be here!  I am looking forward to all of these events, as well as the events after Czech Days.  While I may not be the reigning Miss Czech-Slovak US in a few short months, you won’t be seeing any less of me!  The pageant has changed my life, and made me even more aware of my Czech ancestry—something I never thought possible.  After the pageant, you can find me in Prague, Czech Republic, studying at Charles University.  I would like to thank the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant, WFLA, all of its sponsors, and my friends and family for making this year so memorable—I wouldn’t be able to achieve any of this without your support!

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New Update April 22

March

After a long and agonizing wait, I kicked off my spring and summer traveling with a trip to St. Louis on March 27th.   The festival was put on by Sokol St. Louis and was so much fun. When I arrived at the Sokol, Iwas met with a lively crowd of people enjoying some great Czech and Slovak food and music.  Throughout the day, I spent our time dancing, talking to the lovely Czechs and Slovaks of St. Louis> It was amazing to talk to other girls so passionate about their heritage.  Who knows, maybe there is a future Missouri Queen among them!  Later in the day, we also took part in a kroje fashion show.  The people there had some fabulous Moravian kroje that were a treat to see!  The day was a success, ending with a few polkas and lots of kolače.  I would like to congratulate Morgan on becoming the Miss Czech-Slovak Missouri and thank the people of the St. Louis Sokol—especially Dan Triska, Matt Stasa, and Dana Scott.  This wonderful festival would not have been possible without their efforts!

 

April

 

So far, April has been a big month for me. The first week was a whirl of Czech and Slovak events, starting with a Symposium on Czech and Slovak Settlers on the Great Plains entitled “Czech and Slovak Americans: International Perspectives from the Great Plains” at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I am now the president of the Czech Komenský Club.  While the Symposium didn’t start until Wednesday night, I spent the afternoon showing Martín Mejstřík, the former Czech Senator and one of the student leaders of the Velvet Revolution around Wilber. It was really great to show a native Czech around Wilber and to share with them a bit about the Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant.  That night, the symposium was officially kicked-off with a receotion at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln.  The next two days, I spent my time going from one talk on Czech ome of the highlights and Slovak topics to another.  Some of the highlights included a night of Czech and Slovak Opera by the UNL School of Music, a keynote speech by Martín Mejstřík, and the Czech Language Foundation banquet.  I had a great time and got to see lots of familiar faces and new ones alike.  It was great to see the Midwestern honorary consul of the Czech Republic, Sharon Valasek, and her Slovak counterpart, Ross Marine again.  I would like to thank Míla Šašková-Pierce and everyone else who made this event possible.  It was such a great event and I am proud to have been able to attend it at my university during my time as national queen.

 

My week of Czech and Slovak events did not end with the symposium, in fact that was just the beginning.  After the symposium was finished, I traveled to Montgomery, Minnesota to judge the Miss Czech Slovak Minnesota Pageant on Saturday.  I was honored to be a judge for the Miss Czech Slovak MN Pageant.  All of the ladies competing did not make my job easy!  I would like to extend my congratulations to the new Minnesota Queen, Debbie Jindra, and her court; Michelle Malecha and Carla Kes.  During the pageant, we were served a delicious Czech dinner and to my surprise, I was awarded the key to the city of Montgomery, MN!  I had such a great time at the pageant and dance that ensued.  I even got to meet a “Masopust King,” which I found out is sort of like a Czech-Slovak King! I was really happy to see former 1st Runner-up during the festivities.  The fun continued to following morning with a royalty brunch with all of the old and new Minnesota royalty.  Everyone involved in the festival was so warm and welcoming, I had an amazing time!  I would like to thank the Miss Czech Slovak MN pageant committee for allowing me the honor of judging their pageant.  I would especially like to thank Jerry and Lorraine David for all of their hospitality and hard work.

 

Upcoming Events:

 

May 1st- Lincoln Czech Festival

 

May 14th-16th- IA Houby Days and Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant

 

June 18th-20th- Phillips, WI Czechoslovak Festival

 

 

Previous Update

October

 

October was such a great month for me! I had the most fun the weekend of the third and fourth, when I attended festivals in both Oklahoma and Nebraska.  When we arrived late that night, we were met with a group from Nebraska also visiting the Oklahoma Czech Festival, consisting of the current second runner-up Carrie Brown.  The next day, we all attended the Oklahoma Czech Festival in Yukon, OK.  I had such a great time! In the morning, I got a chance to ride through the parade, debuting the new Fiala Crown for the first time since the national pageant.  I also got to see the wonderful Oklahoma Czech and Slovak Singers and Dancers and enjoyed some really awesome Czech food.  At the festival, I got to see my friend and former Oklahoma Queen Samantha Hlinicky hand down her crown to the new Oklahoma Queen, Jaycee Jedlicka, to whom I would like to extend my congratulations.  Later in the day, everyone headed to the local and historic Czech Hall, where we opened the polka dance with a Grand March. Too soon, it was time to leave for an all-night car ride to York, Nebraska for their Czech Festival.  It was great to be able to support the York Chapter of the Nebraska Czechs, which is a relatively new chapter.  I would like to thank the Nebraska Czechs of York and extend an extra special thanks to the Kessler family—without them, this two day Czech festival marathon could not have occurred!

 

November

 

This November was an exceptionally great one as it marked the 20 year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in what was then Czechoslovakia on the 17th.  I was able to attend some amazing events celebrating this truly awesome historical landmark.  The festivities on November 6th, when I travelled to the Kansas City area to take part in the Kansas City Czech Society and University of Kansas’ joint celebration of the Velvet Revolution.  I arrived in Mission, Kansas on Friday night for a Banquet and Polka Party to commemorate the anniversary.  There, I met Kansas Queen Aubrey Ptacek and the Czech Honorary Consul to Kansas City, Sharon Valasek, who was instrument in getting me to the Kansas City area.  At the banquet, we enjoyed great food and music as well as amazing company.  The next night, Aubrey and I attended the showing of a new documentary entitled “The Accidental Army” about the Czech Legion* in World War I in the only World War I museum in the United States, located in Kansas City.  Here, I had a chance to not only see my Czech and Slovak friends again, but also spoke with Daniel Koštoval, the Deputy Chief of Mission for the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. 

 

The next week in Lincoln, the Czech Komenský Club hosted an entire week full of activities celebrating the Velvet Revolution called “Czech Week.”  Some of the highlights included the week’s kick-off with the international premier of the documentary “Revolution: Take Two” by Oscar-nominated director Carlos Borsch, a lecture on Czech Politics during 1989, and the end of the week Polka/Modern Czech Music Dance Party.  After this week filled with remembering the end of the communist era in Czechoslovakia, I have an even deeper pride in my Czech roots—something I never thought possible.

 

*For more information on the Czech Legion, please visit www.czechlegion.com

  

Know of any other Czech or Slovak events going on?  Let me know at briannatichy@aol.com, I would love to help celebrate Czech and Slovak cultures in any way I possibly can!

 

 

Previous Update:

August

Wow, what a month!  After the pageant, my family and I stayed in Wilber for a few days more, letting me relax a little before heading back to New Jersey.  I have to confess, I was in a daze most of the time, not quite believing this all wasn’t a dream!  Once I had time to digest the fact that I was Queen for a bit, it was time to head back to the East Coast, where I had a whole new crowd of people eager to hear about how much fun I had in Wilber. After a couple of weeks at home, it was time to drive back to Lincoln, where I attend the University of Nebraska.  During the first week of school, I even got to represent the national pageant for the first time since Czech Days, at the University’s “Big Red Welcome” event.  Accompanying me was 2nd Runner Up Carrie Brown and Stefanie Vocasek, the current Nebraska Queen.  We helped support the UNL Komensky Club, of which I am Vice President, and manned the Czech Club booth in our kroje.  Carrie and Stefanie even brought a taste of Czech Days with them and took turns playing the dudy and accordion.  We had so much fun and got to talk to tons of people, Czechs and Non-Czechs alike, about how important it is to keep culture alive.  I would just like to take the time to thank everyone who supported me in Wilber at the pageant.  Everyone was truly amazing and I could not have done any of this without their help!  Even though it was not my first Czech Days, it will truly be one that I remember forever.

September

With school starting up, this month has been really busy!  Lately, I’ve been working to get my schedule for the year in order as well as getting back into the swing of classes.  I was really excited to be in Czech classes again, along with starting out the school year with some Komensky Club activities.  Since this year is the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, there should be a lot of great Czech activities going on all over the place.  I can’t wait to attend them!

Upcoming Events in October

-October 3: Oklahoma Czech Festival, Yukon, Oklahoma

-October 4: York CzechFest, York, Nebraska

 

2009 Miss Czech Slovak US

Brianna Tichy is the 2009-10 Miss Czech Slovak US. She represented New Jersey and is from Woodrich, NJ. She is 19 years old and the daughter of Fred Tichy and Bridget Deficcio. She plans to continue her education at University of NebraskaLincoln studying International Studies, focusing on Post-Communist countries, and then attend Graduate School.  She hopes to work in foreign diplomacy or international relations.  For this year, she also aspires to be the best Miss Czech-Slovak US!

When asked, how do you feel right now? “I am extremely happy, but in a state of shock.  I grew up watching the pageant as a little girl and wanting to be one of the queens, which I never thought was possibly since there was no New Jersey pageant.  I was ecstatic once I found out about the at-large program and pretty content to accomplish my dream of spreading cultural awareness through being a state queen.  Winning the pageant has been a dream come true for me.  I always thought being national queen was an out of reach idea, but now I feel like anything is possible once you dedicate yourself to it.  You can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”

With the title she plans to spread cultural awareness not just for the Czech and Slovak cultures, but for all cultures. She thinks being aware of themselves allowing one to not only be closer to their family, but understand him or herself better by understanding their ancestors.  She would also like to educate people about the modern Czech and Slovak Republics.  She said, “Yes, they were countries that our ancestors came from years ago, but they are also modern power players in today's increasingly global world.”  Finally, she would like to get more parts of the country involved in the Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant.  She says, “There are Czechs and Slovaks across the country that deserve to be represented.  Having wonderful ladies from more states would just make the pageant so much better.”

Currently she is taking Czech Language classes at the University of Nebraska and plans on continuing them through the highest classes offered (300 level).  In addition to the Czech classes, she is also actively involved in the UNL Komensky/Comenius Club.  This year, she will serve as one of the vice presidents as well as contributing to the newsletter, "Naš Svět" ("Our World").

Brianna is dedicated to a couple key issues.  In her words, “Firstly, I believe that it is important to celebrate one's heritage, no matter what it may be.  It does not matter if you are Czech or Slovak, but that you celebrate something.  In learning about your culture, you can become closer to your family, but also closer to people in other countries.  Heritage is a bridge across countries--one that deserves to be preserved in our ever-shrinking world.  I would also like to get people to celebrate not only past Czech and Slovak triumphs, but also the modern ones.  In the past, these nations have endured and overcome some of the most difficult hardships.  That will to survive and succeed still exists in modern times and it is time we start recognizing that.”

Brianna can be contacted via email at:
briannatichy@aol.com