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Gladewater gets first Yamboree Queen

By Christina Lane
June 22, 2012 at 11 p.m.

GILMER - After a week of grieving, the House of Linder had a reason to celebrate Friday night as Mary Paige Linder was announced as the 75th East Texas Yamboree Queen.

Paige Linder is the first girl from Gladewater to be named Yamboree queen. She is also the first girl from Gladewater to be nominated for the honor.

"I am so blessed to have friends and family that support me in everything I do, and I think my family needs something to celebrate," Linder said.

In the past week, the Linders, Youngs and Burks have been mourning the loss of Brent Young, 45, and Kennedi Burks, 7 months, who died following a three-vehicle wreck near White Oak. Brent Young was Paige Linder's uncle, and Kennedi Burks was her cousin's daughter.

"Our family needed something positive to look forward to in the midst of all we've been through," Paige's mother, Blane Linder, said.

To be named Yamboree queen, seven service clubs nominated seven young women to represent them. For the past two weeks, the girls sold tickets to the Yamboree barn dance, vouchers to the queen's coronation, and 75th anniversary commemorative pins. They also accepted donations.

All money raised goes toward the Yamboree which - among many other things - provides scholarships to area students. The girl who raises the most money wins the crown. When the Linders could not be out in the community selling tickets and raising money after the recent deaths of their loved ones, their friends did it for them.

"We are thankful to all of our friends and family who supported us," Blane Linder said.

Not only will the anniversary year be the first for Gladewater to have a queen, it will also be known as a record-setting year. The seven girls collectively raised more than $329,800 - the most in Yamboree history - said Rick Holloway, president of the East Texas Yamboree Association.

"I want to say thank you girls very much for your hard work, dedication and sacrifice these past two weeks," Holloway said.

Holloway also showed appreciation to parents who endured stress during the two-week period, and to the local service clubs for "without them we would not have the candidates running for queen."

Shelby Denise Hutto of Harmony High School was named Yamboree princess. Ladies-in-waiting are Chelsey Lyn Alexander, Emily Paige Chevalier, Jasmin Danyale Jones, Kayla Nicole Smith and Angel Michelle Yochum.

Linder is sponsored by the Bluebonnet Literary Club. She is a student at Gladewater High School and the daughter of John and Blane Linder. She is the granddaughter of the late John Linder Sr. and Carolyn Linder, of Gladewater, and Rosemary and Galen Thomas, of Big Sandy.

At her high school, Linder is involved with National Honor Society, served as Future Farmers of America vice president, class favorite, Homecoming duchess, student council, varsity cheerleader, Key Club, class vice president, Yamboree Livestock board member and FFA show team. Her favorite subject is English.

"My philosophy in life is very simple," Linder said. "Matthew 5:16 says, 'So let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.' I get so caught up with the chaos, I forget my true purpose in life is to serve God. You can be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."

Linder enjoys traveling with her family, four wheeling on the farm, and spending time at the lake. She plans to attend Texas Tech University where she hopes to be a member of the Red Raider show team and obtain a business degree.

"I would like to take my place in the family business and become a third generation independent oil producer," she said.

The 75th annual East Texas Yamboree will be Oct. 17-20 in Gilmer.



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