SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Gone but not forgotten are the days of local royalty when Utahns would vote for their annual Pioneer Days Queen to best represent our state. In 1947, a century after the Mormon pioneers settled in Utah, the royalty celebrations were all the rage.
A year prior, a young 18-year-old student from the University of Utah named Colleen Robinson was hesitant to enter the inaugural competition, then called Covered Wagon Days.
Looking back in an interview decades later, Colleen recalls entering: “I told my roommate that I wasn’t sure about trying out, and she said, ‘Oh, Colleen, you should try out!’ And when I came home, my room was full of clothes… My beds were stacked sky-high with clothes, all the girls in the dorm had brought their things.”
With young women around the state entering, the decision was made to honor Miss Robinson as the 1947 Pioneer Days Queen.
As part of the festivities that season, she was officially crowned by Governor Maw in a coronation ceremony at the Utah State Capitol, with hundreds in attendance and a beautiful 40-pound dress to mark the occasion.
The rest of the year was chock-full of new responsibilities for the new Pioneer Days Queen, with royal appearances made in parades around the nation, starting with the Rose Parade in Pasadena.
In her year-long reign, she visited city after city. With each stop, from local events to county parades, Robinson made her presence known as Utah’s poised Pioneer Days royalty.