More than a crown
Rodeo queens have a unique job that goes far beyond the rodeo arena.
January 16, 2020
If you've ever attended the Waitsburg Celebration Days parade, there's no doubt you've seen the young ladies donning crowns and waving atop their horse. While smiling and waving is at the top of the list, a rodeo queen's duties go far beyond the parade route.
A rodeo queen's reign lasts for a year, give or take a month or so. They act as ambassadors for their event, their community, and the sport of rodeo in its entirety. When they aren't on horseback, they can be found speaking about their event at service clubs, schools, or even on TV. Being able to speak to diverse crowds is something rodeo queens learn how to do very quickly.
Part of all the speaking they do is focused on education. Ambassadors for the sport of rodeo, like many animal-involved sports, have to work diligently to share the welfare protocols and sport rules, as well as clear up any misconceptions, and rodeo queens are on the front lines. The crowns and tailored outfits are fun, but the real purpose of those nice shirts and shiny boots is to present the Queen in an approachable matter, so she can help share the correct information with the public.
Rodeo queens have to be poised and professional at all times, even when they are 'off the clock.' I served on a royalty court in 2013, and actually had a call from my advisor that I had been seen "picking my nose at a stoplight." Now, I'm not sure if I was actually picking my nose (I'd like to think there is no way I could have been), my point is that rodeo queens become very recognizable, very quickly. The potential booger of a situation I was in doesn't happen often, but it highlights just how watched the queens are, and why it is so important for them to act professionally during their year.
Speaking, poise, and appearance are all a huge part of the rodeo queen recipe, but their horsemanship skills are a key component. If your kid has asked where the "girl on the horse" is from, and you're able to see she is Miss Rodeo Washington, she has done her job. Parade routes, rodeo grand entries, and helping move cattle during a rodeo are common expectations for a queen. These events are loud and excitable, and it takes some practice to jump on a horse and participate with confidence.
Next time you are at a parade or rodeo, feel free to ask the queen about her event or her journey to becoming queen. From jackpot rodeos to national titleholders, rodeo queens love the sport, and their jobs, all the same.