Miss Vacant Lot of the World

The Miss Vacant Lot of the World contest was started in 1972. It was part of the Annual Armadillo Exposition and Confab held in Victoria, Texas. The contest rules were as follows:

The contest will be open to women between the ages of 18 and 65. Mandatory requirements of the contest will be certified proof of one of the following happening to the contestant while a child: broken arm or leg, dog bite, one or more of the various childhood diseases, such as measles, chickenpox, mumps, etc. If medical evidence cannot be provided, a note from the mother will be accepted. Contestants will have three minutes in the final judging to exhibit their talents, which can be anything. Judging will be on the basis of dress and talent. Beauty will not be a factor.

Valley Morning Star - May 26, 1975

Here's what I was able to find out about the first six winners of the Miss Vacant Lot title:

1972: Cindy Hudler won for her "dance of the Dasypodidae" which involved waltzing around a vacant lot in an armadillo suit.
1973: Modine Gunch won for standing on her head while spinning a hula-hoop on one leg.
1974: Algeria Sadberry won for playing a song through her nose.
1975: Elvira Rose Hunt (aka Karen Janecka) won for stuffing 264 pennies in her mouth.
1976: Linda Strelczyk won by stuffing 200 poptop tabs into her size 36EEE bikini bra while singing a song titled "Keep Your Finger Out Of It; It Don't Belong To You."
1977: A 200-pound woman (unnamed) won for dressing like an armadillo and singing an armadillo song.

Some of the prizes that the winners received included a trophy, a $25 check, a gift certificate, a bouquet of weeds, and a picture of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. They also got to wear the Armadillo Crown.

The contest was discontinued in 1979. The organizers noted, "you can only tell the same joke so many times." However, it seems that it was revived at various times, such as in the late 1980s and again in 2011.
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 13, 2017
     Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | 1970s

Speaking of armadillos and strange I remembered this bit of obscure weirdness from 37 years ago:

Check out Great Midwest Trivia Contest's posting of the "Armadillo's Come In Pairs" song attributed by them Grandmaster Patrick Short.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze on 11/13/17 at 09:30 AM
1973: Given the name "Modine Gunch," a career in show biz was just lying there, waiting for her.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 11/13/17 at 10:29 AM
I could not get the link to work earlier but here is the "Armadillos Come in Pairs" song:

Posted by Floormaster on 11/13/17 at 12:41 PM
I had the privilege of attending in '74 and '75. As I recall, the festival queen's full title was Miss Vacant Lot of the World and Surrounding Counties.

There were issues with centering the festival on a wild animal. Armadillo races were staple items the years that I went. I heard that by the '80s concerns were being voiced about cruelty to animals. There were also some worries about Hansen's disease (leprosy). Armadillos can contract and carry it, and are actually the best study animal for its medical aspects; something to do with their low core body temperature. A quarter of U.S. leprosy cases may be related to handling armadillos. However 95% of people are immune to it, so stay calm and find something else to play with.
Posted by R'Chard on 11/14/17 at 01:08 PM
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