All hail the slug queen!

In a pageant in Eugene, Ore., the slimiest contestant wins.

Published September 23, 2008 12:41AM (EDT)

What with all the news out there about the economy, the election, and now Heidi Klum letting William Shatner rip off her clothes, I figured I'd write about something totally different. Totally unexpected. Totally slimy.

Yes, my friends. It is the yearly contest, held each September in Eugene, Ore., to crown a slug queen. According to the Wall Street Journal, which apparently also decided to devote some page space to something other than financial crises, the slug queen competition is a highlight of the blandly named Eugene Celebration. Men and women alike vie for the title, which features costumes with handmade fabric "slime trails," and adopt crazy names, like the 1993 winner, Queen Bananita Sluginsky. According to the Journal, "It began because some rebellious local politicians wanted to make a snide statement about other Oregon pageants -- Portland's Rose Queen, Lebanon's Strawberry Queen and the state's Miss Rodeo."

But what started as a snide statement has devolved (evolved?) into a beloved local tradition -- one whose winners aren't your typical Miss Americas (and, presumably, the Slug Queen contest does not involve a bathing suit competition). Check out this description of past Slug Queens from the WSJ:

"Past winners have included an accordion player, an attorney, a librarian, a teacher and a mailman. Yes, four Slug Queens have been men, including the father of seven and a full-time drag queen. One has cerebral palsy and won the pageant in his wheelchair. One former queen, a woman, makes biodegradable caskets for a living."

Now, that's a beauty contest I can get behind.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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