Longtime Greeley resident picked as Silver Queen at State Fair | TheFencePost.com

Longtime Greeley resident picked as Silver Queen at State Fair

Adrienne Saia Isaac
For The Fence Post

Photo courtesy of John Jaques/Pueblo ChieftainErna Schulzkump, a former Greeley resident, is joined by her daughter, Carol Ortega, and her son-in-law, Steve Ortega, after she was named the 2009 Colorado State Fair Silver Queen in August.

She’s not your typical beauty queen, but Erna Schulzkump doesn’t need to parade around in a bikini to prove that she deserves to win pageants.

By showcasing her spunky personality and crocheting talents, Erna was selected as the Colorado State Fair’s 2009 Silver Queen.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” Erna, a longtime Greeley resident, said about her win.

This was the 92-year-old’s first pageant – and she almost didn’t go.

When asked to participate by one of activity leaders in her nursing home, Erna politely turned down the offer. When she was asked a second time, she gave in.

“I thought, I’m not going to pass this opportunity up,” she said.

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She competed against 14 other contestants in interview and talent portions. Erna displayed her crocheted handiwork for her talent.

“I’ve been crocheting for over 20 years,” said Erna, who taught herself to crochet. “I made over 20 afghans and sweaters galore.”

She said that most of her crocheted items go to her two daughters, Carol of Trinidad and Donna, who lives in California. She also spreads the hand-made love among her five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

And who in Colorado wouldn’t welcome wearing a hand-crocheted sweater in winter over a bikini?

In addition to being family matriarch, Erna’s now a local celebrity who must fulfill her obligations as the 2009 Silver Queen.

“It’s been a wonderful experience and it’s not done yet.”

Erna, a Greeley resident for 50 years, rode in a convertible in the Colorado State Fair parade on Aug. 29 in Pueblo; she will also be featured in Trinidad’s parade on Sept. 7.

But don’t think that the fun stops after Labor Day – Erna’s a tough lady to keep up with.

Carol warned us that Erna would be tough to catch in her room at Trinidad State Nursing Home, because she’s a busy lady.

“Our activity group leaders always have something going for us all the time,” Erna said.

She would definitely do her pageant experience all over again and implores other seniors to adopt her adventurous spirit.

“If you have an opportunity like this one, to have an experience, don’t pass it up!”