For 27 years, the Lumbee Regional Development Association has crowned Miss Lumbees and Junior Miss Lumbees.
Lumbee Homecoming 2002 is no exception.
However, this year marked the creation of an equivalent male pageant and the coronation of a Mr. Lumbee.
"For the longest time, women thought it was unfair that there was no pageant for guys," said inaugural winner Patrick Brian Strickland. "It was time to have the roles reversed and have them cheer us on."
Strickland, 23, is a 2001 UNCP graduate. He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Public Management program with a concentration in criminal justice. He plans to get a doctorate in political science and become a campaign manager.
The standing-room-only competition was held at the Givens Performing Arts Center at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke on July 2.
Strickland said former Miss UNCP Jessica Reid coached him on posture, speech and attire, and that competitors practiced for two months on the opening number. That category was worth 30 percent of the scoring and featured contestants in black jeans and leather next to Harley Davidson motorcycles.
For his talent, Strickland sang "You're Still You" by Josh Grobar, and wore a white robe, red shirt and blue lounge pants for the loungewear competition, inspired by the July 4th holiday.
Lastly, the business wear category was worth 30 percent.
"I was almost certain I would place," he said. "But I had some awesome competition."
Instead of a diamond tiara, Strickland received a silver ring that he wears on the fourth finger of his right hand. It has a crest imprinted on the front and the word "LUMBEE" in turquoise on one side of the band. It also announces the pageant's year, in this case, number one.
He also received a silver belt buckle with a turquoise stone.
His duties include attending community functions and supporting the 40,000-strong Lumbee Nation. He is looking forward to National Reading Day when he will visit area schools.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "I think I'll retire after this."