The parade at the State Fair of Texas this past Monday featured multiple people on stilts, a unicyclist and Ronald McDonald. It also included University of Dallas women’s basketball player Shelby Waldron.
Waldron competed in and won the National Elite Miss Texas beauty pageant in early August.
She and two other winners were featured in the parade on Oct. 2.
“I was really excited because I hadn’t been in a parade since my junior year of high school, so I kind of was like a newbie again,” Waldron said.
Waldron has competed in beauty pageants for most of her life, and twice won the title of Miss Beaumont in her hometown of Beaumont, Calif. Last spring, she won the Miss Waco pageant in order to qualify for the Miss Texas pageant.
In addition to competing in beauty pageants, Waldron is a senior on the women’s basketball team at the University of Dallas.
Waldron says that her mindset as an athlete carries over to her pageants.
“I know on my bio I say that I’m an athlete, so the judges often ask about being an athlete,” Waldron said. “I think it definitely helps in both, because you get the sense of teamwork but also doing your own thing, so that correlates with both. And competition — you have, you know, competitive fire, the drive to work hard, to practice, to make it happen.”
Waldron’s team is also a strong support system for her pageants.
“I know my phone was flooded from texts from everybody after it got posted that I won,” she said. “I felt very loved and supported from them.”
Teammate Michelle DeCoud went with Waldron to the fair.
“As a friend and, like, a teammate, I felt super proud even just to be walking around with Miss Texas,” DeCoud said. “When we were walking around the fair before the parade and Shelby was wearing her crown and sash, people would be like, ‘oh look it’s Miss Texas’ and ‘are you really Miss Texas?’ and it was just kind of fun to celebrate her accomplishment in that way and see people recognize her for being an awesome person.”
The parade went through most of the fair, wrapping around the cotton bowl as thousands of people were lined up to watch.
Waldron stood on her float with her formal tan dress, as well as her crown and sash smiling and waving for the 45-minute parade. Spectators waved back, took videos, and smiled right back at Miss Texas. Waldron says the kids that watch her are the most rewarding part.
“That’s a really cool part, doing stuff like that, making appearances or whatever, just to see little kids faces light up, like, ‘oh my god she looked at me, she’s waving at me, she said hi,’ that’s really cool,” Waldron said.
While Waldron will graduate UD this year, pageants are still in her future.
“I have the national pageant for the national elite organization next summer, so that’s my next goal,” she said. “Other than that, everything’s kind of up in the air. I’m not sure if I want to try, like, a Miss USA organization pageant. Probably not, because those are bigger and harder, but, I mean, it’s in the back of my mind always.”
You can catch Miss Texas on the basketball court on Nov. 15 as she and the Lady Crusaders take on Dallas Christian in their season opener at the Maher Center.
Editors Note – This article has been edited to clarify that Waldron won the National Elite Miss Texas pageant