ST. GEORGE – A young woman with deep roots in St. George was named queen of The Days of ’47 for 2016 at a pageant held Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
Baylee Rose Hogan was not only named queen but was selected by fellow contestants for the Annie Taylor Hyde Award for kindness, friendliness and congeniality. It was the first time in pageant history that both honors have been bestowed upon one young woman.
“I’m just so honored to have this opportunity to represent my pioneers and be an example, hopefully, to other young women who have the same standards and want to stand up for something,” Hogan said during an interview with St. George News Monday. “I’m just so humbled and grateful for this opportunity.”
The Days of ’47 is an annual celebration held in Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day to commemorate the arrival of early Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Pioneer Day is a Utah State holiday, held July 24 each year, and Salt Lake area festivities include a rodeo and parade.
The pageant was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Hogan will be accompanied by first attendant Rachel Kennedy of Brigham City and second attendant Stephanie Bland of Smithfield.
Hogan, 20, was born and raised in St. George and grew up two blocks from the St. George LDS Temple.
“I think that looking back and keeping our ancestors’ memory very close to us, we can make better decisions,” she said. Hogan is a descendant of Samuel Bennett, who helped build the St. George LDS Temple, and Frederick Formaster, after whom Foremaster Ridge is named, she said.
“I just have a love of St. George,” Hogan said. “I went to West Elementary, I graduated from Dixie High. I would go to the Dixie Rock with my friends, I could not be more proud to be from Dixie.”
Hogan served an 18-month LDS mission to Milan, Italy, and returned just two weeks before the pageant. Entering the pageant right after getting home was a good idea, she said. Many of her friends had come home from missions and not had any immediate plans.
“They had time to kill before school or work (started), and they kind of felt there wasn’t much meaning to what they were doing,” Hogan said, “so I told my mom, ‘I want something to do at home. I want a purpose and a goal to work towards.'”
Hogan and her mother were impressed by the atmosphere and the opportunity of the Days of ’47 pageant.
“It goes kind of hand-in-hand with my mission, representing the pioneers and what they believed in.”
Baylee Hogan is the daughter of Monte and Christine Hansen of St. George and is a classically-trained vocalist with a focus in Latin, opera and operetta. She is also a pianist and is fluent in Italian and American Sign Language, a media statement.
Hogan was crowned Miss St. George in 2012 and was named first attendant in the Miss St. George pageant in 2011.
The theme of this year’s pageant was “Pioneers: Inspiring Today’s Generation,” Hogan said. Rather than a talent segment, the contestants gave a 40-second statement on the subject as well as private and on-stage interviews.
Hogan’s duties as queen will include attending many events, primarily during the Days of ’47 celebration. She is moving to Provo within the next month and plans to attend either Brigham Young University or Utah Valley University.
The Days of ’47 pageant was sponsored by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers in partnership with The Days of ’47 Inc.
“Here in St. George we have a very strong community of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers,” Hogan said.
“I’ve been to the museum many times and seen the beautiful pictures of our wonderful pioneers, and I always felt a really, a big connection to them.”
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