To be selected Homecoming Queen, much like being selected to be a cheerleader, is a prestigious award for which most young women can only dream. In 1926, the OSU College of Agriculture nominated one Maudine Ormsby to rule over that year’s Homecoming festivities, but the young lady had two humongous problems to overcome. First of all, although she was seen around campus and ate her meals there, Maudine was not registered as a student at the Ohio State University. Secondly, unlike many of her fellow coeds, she was not exactly beautiful, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. Indeed, she was a large gal; she might have been the heaviest female on campus. On the other hand, Ms. Ormsby was ahead of her times, for she was one of the few practicing vegetarians in the region.
To the surprise of college officials, this rather homely female was elected Homecoming Queen for 1926. Those officials, perhaps with smiles on their faces, had refused to disqualify Ms. Ormsby over the technicality of not being enrolled, and as for her looks, no doubt the Ohio State brain trust realized that real, lasting beauty lies within the soul.
Surprisingly, the alumni and the students were more excited about Maudine’s victory than she was. She went along with the festivities, but never displayed either nervousness or excitement. She neither smiled nor frowned as the crown and cape were placed upon her. For Ms. Ormsby, it was just another day.
Later that evening, after the parade and other festivities had been completed, Maudine skipped the big dance. Perhaps that was a good decision, for she didn’t look like the most agile gal in the world. In fact, she could be described as having four left feet. So instead of attending the dance she contentedly spent her evening at a barn not far from the main campus.
You see, Maudine Ormsby was a cow. No, I’m not an insensitive male chauvinist pig describing an overweight lady. I’m talking about the kind of cow that moos, gives lots of milk, and eats hay. As a joke the College of Agriculture had nominated this creature for Homecoming Queen, and when the student body elected the hay burner, Ohio State officials went along with the funny business.
To this day some folks argue that the joke was an affront to the tradition and seriousness of Homecoming, but I think they protest too much. Although Maudine Ormsby was rather homely (if you are a bull, you may disagree), no real harm was done.
Although Maudine did not meet the physical standards of Ohio State’s Homecoming Queens either before or after 1926, Buckeye fans, with tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, would argue that she’s prettier than any Homecoming Queen ever elected at that “school up north.”