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Sun, June 16

Queens for a year<BR>Two Prescott teens give up their crowns after 12 months of living for the rodeo <BR>

Both girls said they enjoyed spending time with their actual and acquired families, traveling throughout the year to various rodeos.

"I don't know what I'd do if (my mom) couldn't go with me," Hill said.

Since her mother, Chris, is an artist, she can arrange her work schedule around the rodeo schedule.

"That really allowed me the freedom and privilege to be a rodeo queen," Hill said of her mother's job.

And Cole said her parents, Tim and Tracy Wiederaenders, help out a lot, too.

"My dad always says he just drives the truck," she said, "like if we have a fashion problem and ask him about it, he says, 'I just drive the truck.' But he's always there. He fills in all the little cracks and blanks that I need help with."

And her mother is Cole's biggest fan.

"My mom is one big cheer crowd," she said. "You could fill up a stadium with her cheering."

Aside from cheering, Cole's mom helps her with the horse and with hair and make-up and moral support.

Then there's the rodeo family.

"There are so many wonderful people involved in rodeo or queening," Hill said, "and you kind of become a family with them."

"I love how much of a team effort it is," Cole said. "It becomes a huge family because we know each other so well."

For example, when the girls participated in the Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona pageant one year ago, they had to do everything without the help of their parents.

Cole said during that time, Hill helped her with her hair, and even though they weren't supposed to, the younger girls managed to spend time with the older girls.

"We weren't allowed to go into the big girls' rooms, but we snuck in there and hid under the beds and talked," she said.

Both girls said they enjoyed living in the same town and representing the state together. They promoted rodeo locally at the mall and the VA hospital.

"We met lots of fun people," Cole said of the girls' Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day trips to the VA. "We were just letting them know what we do, lifting their spirits and making friends, and letting them know they're welcome to come to the rodeo and join us."

Cole said they would not have been able to promote the rodeo together had they lived in different cities.

"It was lots of fun traveling with Katie," she said. "It's awesome that we're both from Prescott."

Hill agreed. "We were kind of a team," she said of herself and Cole. "It was really nice having her be from Prescott."

Cole said her favorite part of reigning as Miss Junior Teen Rodeo Arizona was making so many friends. But making friends also made it hard to leave them at the end of each rodeo.

And Hill said that even though "it's tough when you miss a lot of school," she also added, "I was fortunate enough to get straight 'A's."

Quite a feat, considering everything the girls must know to earn the title of Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona or Miss Junior Teen Rodeo Arizona.

"It is so much work," Hill said. "A lot of people don't understand all the time that goes into it."

Hill said rodeo pageant contestants must go through horsemanship, rodeo knowledge and personal interviews, as well as reining patterns, speeches, modeling, extemporaneous questions and fashion shows.

Cole, who also brought home straight 'A's this year, said she learned a lot about making friends and gained quite a bit of self-confidence from her year.

"I was really shy before," she said.

And although making friends, giving speeches and traveling to rodeos really highlighted the queen experience for both girls, their positions were all about promoting the sport of rodeo.

"We educate the public on what the rodeo is, its Western heritage and the cowboys' way of life," Hill said.

And, Cole said, "Rodeo is America's number one sport. There's no doubt about it."

Hill said she is considering future queen pageants, such as Prescott Frontier Days queen, and will continue to help the Horse Breakers Unlimited in promoting and selling its horses.

Cole said she is looking forward to a year off with her family and horses, which she considers part of her family, and competing in reining. She also said she may compete for another queen title later.

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