The 2013 Crawford County Fair Rodeo Queen candidates made riding look easy on Tuesday. Following a pre-determined pattern, the three candidates showed off their horsemanship skills in the first part of the third annual Rodeo Queen competition in Crawford County. But although it looked largely effortless, reigning Rodeo Queen Sam Sarley, 18, Win or Bust 4-H, Pittsburg, said that it’s not as easy as it may have looked.
“You have to do a pattern, and it was really hard last year because my horse was not a show horse,” Sarley said. “I was out here three or four times for hours with [my horse] because she didn’t know what was going on.”
The Crawford County Fair Rodeo Queen, now in its third year, is made up of three competitions: horsemanship, a performed speech, and rodeo ticket sales. The speeches will be performed on Thursday at Triple S Steakhouse in Girard. The winner will be announced next Thursday at the fairgrounds in the midst of the rodeo.
This year, only three are vying for the title of Rodeo Queen, but that’s more because of the age restrictions that have narrowed the field. Competitors must be 12-18, have been in 4-H for at least a year and have at least one year of eligibility left.
While there are many reasons to compete for Rodeo Queen, one of the biggest reasons is the loot that goes with the title. The queen gets a special saddle and belt buckle, the first runner-up gets a buckle of her own, the winners of the horsemanship and speech awards get their own special prizes, and there is also a Miss Congeniality award given out.
But it’s not just about the prizes and winnings.
“There’s so much more to this than that. There’s a lot of leadership. You have to be a good communicators. You have to go out in the public, write a speech and give it,” said Desiree Humble, fair board member and rodeo queen coordinator who was once the Kansas State High School Rodeo Queen herself. “They’re representing throughout the year. It’s going to be somebody wth all those characteristics and qualities.”
Sarley knows the power of being a rodeo queen, as she said the experience of being queen has made a difference on her. As queen, she’s ridden in parades, talked to various organizations and met many people she wouldn’t have met otherwise, she said. There are many rewards that come with being rodeo queen, she said, but responsibilities, too.
“It’s partly for the lovely saddle, but it’s also that people look up to you. Kids look up to you,” Sarley said. “People know you, kind of, and that’s cool to be a little celebrity in a small community.”
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