Former queens reminisce about their crowning moment

Zirconia Alleyne

The ballots have been cast for Homecoming queen, and the men of the gridiron prepare to take on Louisiana Monroe on Saturday.

One of the most anticipated moments of the game will be during halftime when one of 22 candidates will be crowned the new queen of WKU.

But where did life take past Homecoming queens, and what are they doing now?

Betty (Thompson) McGuire, who won in 1979, remembered being on homecoming court a little differently.

There was no TopNet and there wasn’t an interview process. McGuire said all the promotion was done only through flyers and word of mouth.

“The candidates did not go through an interview process when we were in school,” she said. “(Students) also had to physically go vote in the Downing Center.”

After working in Lexington for 17 years, McGuire found her way back to Bowling Green as the manager/buyer at Caroline’s Boutique. However, her memories of  WKU and being crowned queen stuck with her.

During undergrad, McGuire was a scholarship twirler for the Big Red Marching Band. She said being on the field in a different role was “weird.”

“The announcement was a blur,” McGuire said. “After my name was announced the band cheered behind me.”

Since she couldn’t remember her crowning moment, her mother compiled a scrapbook of the event.

“It still brings back emotions from that day,” McGuire said.

Sybil (Mathis) Booker faced the Homecoming jitters twice during her undergraduate career. Sponsored by her sorority Delta Sigma Theta, the Paducah native was runner-up in 1994. She took home the crown in 1995. Booker said she was surprised to hear her name called.

“I was extremely excited and overwhelmed,” she said. “My whole family was there in the stands.”

Most of all, Booker said she enjoyed bonding with the other candidates.

“We were together pretty much every day that entire week,” she said. “I actually keep in touch with some of the girls on Facebook.”

After school, the education major taught middle school for seven years, became an assistant principal and got married.

Now, she resides in Aurora, Colo., with her husband and two children.

Booker said no matter where she’s lived she’s always felt connected to WKU.

“My kids know who Big Red is,” she said. “I was always proud to be a Hilltopper, but being in that elite group was really an honor.”

To the new queen, McGuire said enjoy the moment.

“Stay grounded,” she said. “After that, you feel a special connection with those who have been before and those who come after.”