ROYAL TRAINING: A RECAP OF THE ANNUAL WATERMELON QUEEN TRAINING WEEKEND

April 29th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

The 2015 National Watermelon Queen, Emily Brown of Vincennes, Indiana, was crowned earlier this year at the National Watermelon Association’s annual convention (look for an interview with Emily in an upcoming blog entry). The national queen stays very busy throughout the year, but did you know that there are eight other queens who represent various states and regional watermelon associations.

The queens will be tasked with promoting their area’s watermelon crop and will represent the watermelon industry special events, store openings, schools, festivals and parades. They’ll also perform media interviews and may be asked to speak to large groups of people.

All those interviews and appearances mean their speaking and presentation skills need to be sharp. To help with that (and much more), the queens paid a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend for a weekend of training sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

On the agenda were sessions about performing media interviews, how to make the most of an event or in-store demo, and even lessons on appearances and etiquette. The day started off with Watermelon 101, transitioned to Queen 101 and continued with communications and presentation training. To wrap up the day, hosts from Bayer CropScience presented on the company, the crop and the watermelon’s many attributes. Bayer presenters included Caitlin Tierney, Chuck Elam, Russ Beckham and Rob Beets. And that was just one day.

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The weekend kicked off with a reception on Friday, where the queens met with Bayer CropScience leadership, the National Watermelon Promotion Board team, and also North Carolina NWPB board member and vice president Tony Moore of Moore’s Produce. Not only do the nine watermelon queens come for training, but several states also send their first runner up to be trained for coverage if and when they are double booked during their promotional year.

Saturday afternoon’s media and communications training was facilitated by agency professionals with Porter Novelli. Sunday morning was spent back at the Bayer Bee Care Center with presentations and a tour of the facility by Becky Langer and Sarah Myers with Bayer CropScience.

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During their time in Raleigh, the queens were hosted at the Bayer Crop Science Bee Care Center (above and below). While there, they learned about the important role that bees play in bringing watermelon (and many other crops) to life.

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National Watermelon Promotion Board Executive Director Mark Arney (left) and Chuck Elam (right) from Bayer CropScience/Nunhems USA were also in attendance at the Bee Care Center. Did you know that bees help pollenate more than 100 crops in the U.S. and more than a third of the foods that we eat? Check out our past blog entry for more info about the amazing work that bees do.

UP NEXT: TWO Watermelon Recipes

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AN INTERVIEW WITH THE 2015 NATIONAL WATERMELON QUEEN

April 21st, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

In February, the National Watermelon Association convened for its annual convention in La Quinta, California. The five-day agenda included many important topics, but among the most important was the selection and crowning of the 2015 National Watermelon Queen. Emily_Brown

Seven contestants competed for the title — each a watermelon queen representing her respective region — and Emily Brown emerged as the newest royal watermelon leader. Emily is a nursing student at Vincennes University, and the reigning Illiana chapter queen.

Over the next 12 months, Emily will travel the nation, promoting watermelon at state fairs, conventions, trade shows, festivals and in-store events. It’s a busy schedule, no doubt about it, but she was nice enough to take some time for a quick interview about her new role as the National Watermelon Queen.

THANKS FOR AGREEING TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED NOW THAT YOU’RE THE NATIONAL WATERMELON QUEEN?

My life is full of adventure now that I have become the National Watermelon Queen!  The adventures will continue throughout my year and I will continue to be taken away by the opportunities that are presented to me.

EVERY WATERMELON QUEEN HAS SOME SORT OF BACKGROUND TIE TO WATERMELON. WHAT’S YOURS?

My first job was actually working in the watermelon fields turning vines and pulling weeds.  When I started college, I started working as a secretary for a watermelon broker and learned so much more.  I also genuinely love watermelon and it really is my favorite fruit!

WHAT PART OF BEING WATERMELON QUEEN ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?

I get to promote watermelon and the watermelon industry and travel the vast U.S. and beyond, so what’s not to look forward to!  My goal is to work hard at every promotion and not take my year as National Watermelon Queen for granted because a year flies by pretty quickly.

NOW THAT YOU’RE QUEEN, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE DURING YOUR REIGN?

Being a nursing major, health is a big deal to me. Informing the public about the nutritional benefits that watermelon has both on social media and in person at promotions is a key part of my watermelon mission this year. I’d also like to promote the versatility and affordability of this sweet, juicy fruit.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE GIRLS OUT THERE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE A WATERMELON QUEEN SOMEDAY?

For future watermelon queens: it’s necessary that you have a good work ethic, be approachable and outgoing, enjoy new adventures, and have a passion for watermelon. If you have those characteristics, the possibilities are endless.

UP NEXT: Fun Facts for Earth Day

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A QUEEN IS CROWNED AT THE 2015 NATIONAL WATERMELON ASSOCIATION CONVENTION!

February 23rd, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

It’s February, which means the members of the National Watermelon Association (NWA) came together this past weekend for the group’s annual convention in La Quinta, California.

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The convention featured the usual meetings and seminars about all things watermelon, but the NWA members also took time to have a little fun. There was a seed-spitting contest and a watermelon-eating contest, but the highlight of the four-day gathering was the selection and crowing of the 2015 National Watermelon Queen.

Regional watermelon queens from around the nation squared off in a grueling process to determine which one would earn the national title. Alright, it probably wasn’t “grueling” — in fact, I’m told the process is actually quite enjoyable for the queens — but the judges and potential queens definitely took the selection process seriously.

In the end, the winner was Emily Brown of Vincennes, Indiana. Emily was previously the Illiana chapter Watermelon Queen and inherits the National Watermelon Queen title from Brandi Harrison. We interviewed Brandi here on the blog last year, and we’ll interview Emily in an entry in the near future.

Until then, a big congratulations goes out to Emily on her new position as the queen of the watermelon industry!

UP NEXT: How to cut a watermelon to avoid getting a messy face

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