Princess Jean Ufkin and Queen Cindy (Wigness) Hawkins before the Homecoming parade.Jeff Seifert places the crown on Cindy (Wigness) Hawkins while Tom Walsh looks on during the coronation ceremony in 1972.Queen attendants prior to riding in the Homecoming parade, from left, Mary Jo Boulton, Heidi Johnson and Sheree Boe.

A (surprise) crowning achievement

•(Wigness) Hawkins recalls '72 Homecoming queen coronation

As she stood on the stage with the four other candidates during the crowning of the Minneota Homecoming Queen ceremony 47 years ago, Cindy Wigness remained calm and collected.

But Wigness, now Cindy Hawkins, wasn't without a nervous disposition because of her confidence in being named the 1972 queen.

"Actually, I was 100 percent sure I wasn't going to win," she said. "I think everyone thought Jean Ufkin would win because she was the prettiest and the nicest."

But (Wigness) Hawkins, the daughter of the late Orville "O.J." and Joyce Wigness, was crowned the winner by football captains Jeff Seifert and Tom Walsh. Tom Traen, another captain, was her escort that night. The cheerleaders began the pepfest and coronation on Thursday night by leading the crowd in cheers in the gym.

The Pep Club and Rat Club then performed skits, which was followed by inspirational talks by head football coach Dale Yost and the tri-captains. The lights were then dimmed and the high school band played "Fanfare and Recessional" while the queen candidates and escorts were introduced.

And then it was time for the dramatic moment when Seifert settled the crown on the head of Wigness.

"I literally was in shock," she recalled. "I never gave it a thought that I might win. But I truly was honored." In fact, (Wigness) Hawkins was so confident that she would not be wearing the crown that she didn't even feel the need to buy a dress for the occasion.

"I borrowed one," she laughed.

The five queen candidates were chosen by the 1972-73 senior class, while the queen was voted on by the students in grades 7-12. Ufkin, who was best friends with (Wigness) Hawkins, was named Princess.

The queen attendants that year were Sheree Boe, Mary Jo Boulton and Heidi Johnson. The queen and her royalty then rode in the Homecoming parade on Friday afternoon. The parade featured floats from each of the high school classes, as well as a faculty float and the band.

"I remember riding in a car in the parade," Hawkins noted.

"I think we went on the same parade route as they do for Boxelder Bug Days."

The royalty also rode around the football field at halftime of the Homecoming game Friday night. The tri-captains presented the new Homecoming Queen with a football signed by the entire team. "It really was one of the best times of my life," the personable Hawkins said.

"I will never forget it." Hawkins currently lives in Minnetonka with her husband, Greg.

They have been married for 41 years and have two children and five grandchildren.

Hawkins returns to Minneota in the summer months to visit friends and to take in events such as Boxelder Bug Days.

"Nothing beats good old Minneota," she said. And every time she hears or reads about an upcoming Homecoming, she reminisces back to the night of her crowning achievement.

"I smile every time," she said. "I'm old now, but I remember."

Cindy (Wigness) Hawkins today

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