SAN ANGELO, Texas- From the 1950s to the 1970s, San Angelo was the proud home of the Miss Wool of America pageant- a national organization that highlighted the importance of the wool industry. At the time, San Angelo was the “Wool Capitol” of the world.
The pageant gathered contestants from wool-producing states to come to West Texas and vie for the prestigious title. The women were college-aged and eager to have the chance to represent the wool and fashion industries. The winner was instantly a public figure, traveling the world with a team of professionals helping her advocate for high-quality, American wool.
San Angelo was put into the spotlight along with one lucky lady. The event was televised and featured many celebrities of the era as hosts, judges, and performers. Those who didn’t take home the crown were still put in the public eye and were representatives of their state’s wool production.
While the young ladies were in the Concho Valley, they did more than just compete. The city embraced them with open-arms and shared all of the charm San Angelo had to offer. From ranch tours to river parades, the women had the experience of a lifetime.
Lynda Allen Haile and Suzanne Sugg were both contestants in the Miss Wool of America Pageant in the 1960s. They explained just how much the pageant contributed to the culture of San Angelo and how vital the event was to the wool industry. Both expressed the pageant greatly impacted their personal lives as well.
Haile was Miss Wool of Texas in 1964. She spent a full year traveling the state and showing off a 50-piece wool wardrobe. Being a Sterling City native and growing up in a ranching family, she was incredibly passionate about the organization’s values. Haile went on to work in the fashion industry and is still involved with her family’s ranch.
Sugg represented Oklahoma in the national pageant after becoming involved in the industry through the “Make it Yourself with Wool” contest. She went on to start a Miss Wool of Oklahoma in her home state and then became a public relations representative for one of the national titleholders, spending a year on the road with Miss Wool. Sugg ended up settling in San Angelo after falling in love with both the area- and one of its gentlemen.
The Miss Wool of America pageant drew attention to the wool industry during this time period as well as brought high-end designers to San Angelo. The appreciation for agriculture still runs deep in this city, though it is not the wool capitol anymore. Times have certainly changed and progressed, but the culture demonstrated through the Miss Wool organization remains. It is truly a “crown jewel” in San Angelo’s history.