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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who Will Be The Rodeo Queen?

Who Will Be The Rodeo Queen?

Three judges, a host of rodeo organizers and crowd of about 70 well-wishers gathered in the horse arena of the Bannock County Fairgrounds Friday afternoon to watch nine young ladies compete in the horsemanship phase of rodeo queen competition for the Wrangler Frontier Rodeo to be held in Pocatello in April.
The contestants, three in each of three age categories, led their horses through various required movements to exhibit their horsemanship skills and their poise while performing in front of a crowd. One girl in each category will be named senior queen, teen queen, and princess.     
“It’s all about the girls,” says Carma Madsen, royalty director for the Pocatello Frontier Rodeo Association, who has been organizing the queen competitions for 25 years. “I do it because I feel it gives the girls a good basis for life. They learn about public speaking, they gain self-confidence and they learn how to interact with people.”
Miss Rodeo Idaho, native Pocatellan Tricia Crump, agrees with that assessment of the value of rodeo queen competitions, or “queening,” as the initiated tend to call it.
“The experience I’ve had is something I could never learn from books,” she said. “So far her year as Miss Rodeo Idaho, has “blown my expectations away.”             Crump, who started her rodeo career by winning a mutton busting competition at 4 years of age, graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in agricultural economics. She is presently concentrating on her duties of representing all Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association rodeos in Idaho as an ambassador of the sport, while paying the bills by working at Red Lobster restaurant.
“Always keep a smile on your face,” is her advice to aspiring rodeo queens.
The horsemanship phase of the rodeo queen competition calls for the young ladies to perform a freestyle reining pattern that includes a number of required elements, such as lead changes, sliding stops, spins and backing up. The two older age groups also perform a predetermined pattern of particular moves, while riding on a horse that she has not previously trained on. At one point during their patterns, the competitors ride around the arena carrying the U.S. flag, while the spectators in the bleachers stand as the colors pass by.
Three judges experienced in horsemanship and queening score the performers for the skill and style. But they are also looking for the intangible qualities needed to be an effective representative of rodeo.   
Judge Courtney Crowe explained what makes a good rodeo queen.
“The girl’s personality has to come through as she rides. We look at how the crowd responds to her, and if she is ‘people-friendly.’ You want your rodeo queen to shine.” 
One of the girls competing in the princess category, 10-year-old Bailie Bramwell, of Rigby, competed on a horse named Squirrel. Bramwell also studies martial arts, and was the Pioneer Days princess in St. Anthony.
“It doesn’t matter if I win or lose,” she said. “I’m going to be back next year.”
Pocatello’s Wrangler Frontier Rodeo Queen competitors are:
Princess category (ages 8 – 13)
Shelbey Jo Kari Aldous, Pocatello
Bailie Bramwell, Rigby
Bailee Sage Noble, Wellsville, Utah
Teen Queen category (ages 16-14)
Taylor Ann Anderson, Paradise, Utah
Marcie Dena Bullock, Pocatello
Shaylee Jo England, Pocatello
Senior Queen (ages 17-23)
Dianna LaVern Drollette, Benson, Utah
Tiffany A. Gepford, Blackfoot
Cathy Joanna Ruby, Meridian

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