The American Royal (officially the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show) has been a major event in Kansas City for over a century. In October 1899, the American Royal began as the National Hereford Show. As the first national exposition of purebred cattle, the show attracted 55,000 attendees from across the country to see and sell livestock in the Kansas City stockyards. The event grew in popularity and by 1902, it was formally renamed the American Royal after C. F. Curtiss, the dean of agriculture at Iowa State College, likened the show to the British Royal Agricultural Fair.
Over the next few decades, the show underwent several changes, including the addition of the American Royal Queen and Coronation Ball. Since 1939, young women from around the country have traveled to Kansas City to vie for the American Royal Queen title. If selected, the Queen was responsible for representing the American Royal and promoting the event until the next Coronation Ball. This beaded gown and boots were worn by American Royal Queen Kay Hunter during the 1963 Ball. Ms. Hunter, of Cedar Hill, Missouri, was a student at the University of Missouri at the time. Although the Queen Coronation was eliminated in later years, it laid the foundation for the competitive Royal Ambassador Program. This co-ed program has existed since 1989, fulfilling the same duties and significance as the former Queen Coronation.
Creator: House of Bianchi
Subject: American Royal Livestock, Horse Show & Rodeo; Dancing
Contributing Institution: University of Missouri, Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection
Region: Kansas City Metro
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