Gail Hooper, the 1953 Catfish Queen, is seen on a parade float in the mouth of a giant catfish at Pickwick Dam on August 3, 1953. Pickwick Dam is located in Hardin County which is nationally known as the “Catfish Capital of the World.” They host the National Catfish Derby each summer. The Catfish Queen contest took place during that Derby.
The next year, Gail Hooper was crowned Miss National Catfish Queen in 1954. Fittingly, she’s holding a 56-pound catfish at the Hotel New Yorker.