The Miss Texas competition was founded in 1937 as a scholarship contest for young women. The winner represents Texas in the Miss America pageant; three winners have gone on to be crowned Miss America (but none since 1975). Almost all contestants have either received or are in the process of earning college or postgraduate degrees and utilize Miss Texas scholarship awards for furthering their education.
To become Miss Texas, a contestant must first win a local competition, a process requiring personal commitment, hard work, and talent. A young woman may compete at the local and state level more than once, but may only compete in the national Miss America competition one time. Hundreds of women participate each year in the local pageants, culminating in the selection of local finalists who compete for the Miss Texas title in July. The state pageant was held in Fort Worth for 36 years before relocating to the University of Texas at Arlington's Texas Hall in 2009. In 2012, the pageant moved to the Allen Event Center in suburban Collin County. 2014 marked the beginning of the Miss Texas pageant at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson, Texas.
Once chosen, Miss Texas and the local winners become representatives of their generation, using their stature to address community service matters and other contemporary issues, which are of particular relevance to young Texans and women.
In 2010, Miss Texas celebrated its 75th anniversary, and Randy Pruett wrote a book, A Dream as Big as Texas, to document the stories of the 75 women that were crowned Miss Texas.
In the long-running television series Dallas, the character Sue Ellen Ewing had purportedly won the title of Miss Texas in 1967, long before the events of the show took place (1978–91). She had entered the pageant as Miss Dallas.
The song "Almost" by the band Bowling for Soup features the line, "I almost dropped out of school at fourteen where I almost made out with the Homecoming Queen, who almost went on to be Miss Texas, but lost to a slut with much bigger breasts."