Name Dropping – Blythe Leonard Robertson
The BOTAR Ball will be held on October 20th at the Muehlebach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. This marks the 69th anniversary of the Ball, which is a benefit for the American Royal. This year’s BOTAR president is Blythe Leonard Robertson (Mrs. John Scott Robertson).
It takes two hands to count the number of BOTARs, BOTAR presidents and BOTAR pages in Blythe’s family. Even allowing for overlap, that’s a lot! She’s the third BOTAR president in her family, following her mother, Victoria Brigham Leonard, and her aunt, Blythe Brigham Launder. Blythe Robertson, her cousins Betsey Launder Haynes and Victoria Launder Fiori, and, most recently, her daughter Emma Robertson, have all been pages. In addition, everyone previously mentioned has been a BOTAR. (We suspect the next generation will waltz as soon as they can walk!) Blythe has fond memories of her time as a BOTAR, recalling that “Our 1991 year was a whirlwind of fun … Some of my favorite times were our after-rehearsal hijinks at The Old Stanley and The Levee. To this day, many of my BOTAR classmates remain my closest friends.” There were 31 BOTARs in 1991, which was considered a large class. The original Ball in 1949 featured just 12 BOTARs. Thirty two BOTARs will be presented in 2018.
This year’s calendar of events begins with the BOTAR Presidents’ Tea on September 8th. Past presidents will learn the names of the new BOTARs and will be treated to the first view of this year’s BOTAR gown. Next up is the Belles BBQ Bash at the American Royal Barbecue on September 14th. The event will feature Smokin’ Guns barbecue and a live band. The BOTAR Organization will debut its first all-female barbecue team. The following day, The BOTAR Organization will celebrate with a family-friendly lunch, activities for children and refreshments during the American Royal Cowtown Family Fun Day.
Blythe offered a hint about her plans for the Ball. “I had an ‘aha’ moment a few years ago while watching a movie. The inspiration for the year’s Ball comes from that. I fell in love with a song,” she said.
Being a BOTAR doesn’t end with the dance at the Ball. As Blythe explained, “Young BOTARs are involved throughout the BOTAR Organization, with their roles ranging from Ball decorations committee member to technology committee member, scrapbook photographer to American Royal school tour volunteer coordinator, new member education to rehearsals, and gowns to Belles BBQ Bash event planning. We have a vibrant membership, with approximately 300 volunteers.”
In addition to its other activities, the BOTAR Organization was one of the underwriters of the American Royal’s second annual Leadership Summit at the Kauffman Center. Alana Muller and Major General Maria Gervais were the speakers at the sold-out event.
The BOTAR Organization is one of the American Royal’s largest financial donors. The Organization maintains its tradition of giving school tours during the American Royal, while also being actively involved in the planning of the American Royal’s upcoming move. The interaction of the two is such that it will come as no surprise to loyal followers that Charlie Tetrick is the American Royal board chairman – and yes, Charlie is married to Tracy Lyons Tetrick, who was the 2017 BOTAR President. As Blythe said, “Lynn Parman, the American Royal chief executive officer, and Charlie Tetrick are a dynamic duo and are leading the American Royal into an exciting new chapter.” The new location will be in Kansas City, Kansas. Westward Ho! (To Wyandotte County, that is!)
Also featured in the August 18, 2018 issue of The Independent
By Heather N. Paxton
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