Queen parades at Liberty Bowl

Julia King, center, points into the crowd during the parade down Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 31 before the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Day. King, who was crowned homecoming queen and is a senior at Papillion-La Vista South High School, was chosen to represent Nebraska on a float with more than 160 other homecoming queens across the United States.

One young Papillion woman traveled south for New Year’s Eve and party with more than 160 other members of high school royalty.

Julia King, a senior at Papillion-La Vista South High School, was crowned homecoming queen in 2012. Last year, she was sent a letter by the Homecoming Queens of Nebraska and was invited to attend the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 31 during the football game between Tulsa and Iowa State.

King said she was excited, to say the least.

“I didn’t think we’d be able to go, but my parents figured it out,” she said.

When they arrived in Memphis, King toured St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital with 162 other homecoming queens from 33 states. There she learned about St. Jude’s mission and viewed art and poetry children made.

On Dec. 30, King and the other homecoming queens, including two others representing Nebraska, rode in a float during a parade down Memphis’ Beale Street. Even with all the girls in dresses being crowded onto four floats, she said everyone had fun and was in good spirits.

“There was no drama at all,” King said with a laugh. “All the girls were so nice.”

Several people from the crowd cheered “Nebraska,” when they saw her sash, she said.

After the parade, the girls were escorted onto the field by members of the military. King said that’s when it hit her she was part of something.

“Surrounded by all those people, and the field is so huge — it was pretty crazy,” she said.

During halftime, the homecoming queens were invited onto the field to dance while The Temptations performed during the halftime concert.

“It was a blast,” King said. “I’m so happy I got to represent my state.”

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