Miss Camp America (1995)

Miss Camp America (7)

“Miss Camp America actually started in the Bellaire living room of two individuals, Pat and David. They had three or four friends over one night, “Let's watch Miss America,” and they all sat around and sipped their expensive liquor and just had a high old time. And it was a lot of fun, so they started doing it a lot. They did it annually, and one time it was like, "Wouldn't it be cool if we dressed for this?" So they all came over in their little gowns, and they did the same kind of party.”

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America (10)

“When AIDS hit, it was like… “Wow, we could raise money doing this, you know?” And when I say they didn't accept them in hospitals and funeral homes, that was the tip of the iceberg. When people got kicked out of their apartments, and they're dying, or they're in an apartment, [...] they don't have any food in the house. Or, they don't have dog food. So we were raising money, people like Miss Camp were raising money in little private bar party kind of things...to buy dog food.”

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America (15)

“We did this within the community. We would go do a party at Mary's because it's a gay bar and you were safe and people who walked in the door weren't going to smite you down or whatever. And so it was like raising private funds. A lot of the drag queens did shows in bars for one dollar at a time, and that money was theirs. That was their breakfast the next day. But when AIDS hit, they started raising it for friends and for the community.”

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America 1995 (11)

“It went from the living room to the bars to the music hall downtown. It went to the biggest theater downtown, and what it was is fun. I can spend $100 to go to the music hall and be entertained by my people, and it's a good way to spend money. I did a lot of Miss Camp programs. They realized the need for AIDS, they realized the need for money."

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America 1995 (13)

“Everyone would pick a state-- or draw a state out of the bucket, so you didn't get to pick a state. And you would represent that state. There had to be a drag show involved, so they did a drag show, they had a TV in the back behind the stage, and everybody did the numbers [...] I think a couple of years they even did the commercials. So when they pick the top 10 on TV, we would come out, they would come out and announce the top 10. We had to line up 10 people on the stage. Maybe 2 or 3 of them were drag queens who had done numbers, or maybe a couple of them were in the chorus of that number and they had on funky outfits, and then we had back-stagehands who would also-- because they'd picked a state. So we had this conglomeration of people on stage, and then they'd pick the winner out of the hat, and when it was announced on TV, that winner may not a drag queen! Maybe a stagehand. So it wasn't a matter of who had the best costume, it was a matter of whoever got picked by the judges on television. And then they would rule the roost and they were kind of in charge of the next show.”

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America (9)

“One of the gentlemen was not healthy, and he moved to Florida, and the other one followed suit not too long after. And it just kind of folded, 'cause...it had run its course, you know? And a lot of people that were interested in it were in the golden ages, and it was not so much of a quick death sentence, but even they would succumb, and the populations came and went.”

--Judy Reeves

Miss Camp America  (4)
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Miss Camp America (1995)