By Ralphine Major
She grew up in South Knoxville. In 1962, she was a high school senior at South High School when she won Miss Majorette of America! While that was a huge honor, it was just the beginning. That same year, she was selected to twirl at The University of Tennessee! What amazing accomplishments for Judy Barton Cox, who is probably best known as a Former Head Majorette for The University of Tennessee (UT) Pride of the Southland Marching Band.
“In 1965, Dr. W. J. Julian, UT band director, asked me to organize a twirling camp for twirlers. I directed the camp for 40 years before retiring,” Judy said. “Kathy McCarrell Smith directs the twirling camp now and is doing a wonderful job!” More titles and honors came to the Knoxville native that year. “In 1965 I was selected as the first Miss UT,” Judy added. “Twirling not only paid for my education with a scholarship, it allowed me to travel to many states teaching and judging competitions.” Even today, Judy stays connected to the university and the majorette program. “I am still delighted to be asked to judge UT Majorettes tryouts each year,” she said.
When I contacted Judy earlier this year, she was looking forward to seeing the band on the field in the fall. Now that fall is here, I think of her whenever the Pride of the Southland takes the field. I imagine the talented majorette marching downfield, baton twirling, and think of how she has led the way for so many!
Words of Faith: Judy’s favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 40:31(KJV): “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”