Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo: 2011 Rodeo Queen had quite a year
It has been a busy year for 19-year-old Emily Goswick.
The Prescott High School graduate has been burning up the highway meeting her obligations as the 2011 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Queen and her studies at Biola University in La Miranda, Calif., where she is an art major.
Goswick will give up her title when Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo crowns the 2012 rodeo queen at 12 noon, July 4 a the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. The event is free and open to the public.
"It is sad to give up the title, but this year has been hard with all the traveling. I also run track, middle distance, and sometimes I had to choose between the two," Goswick stated.
There is more to being a rodeo queen that high hair and sparkly clothes.
Throughout her yearlong reign, Goswick has written monthly articles for "Bridle and Bit," made appearances in parades and rodeos, attended dances, and visited veterans, the elderly and schools.
During these activities, it is Goswick's duty, as rodeo queen, to promote the rodeo and western lifestyle.
Promoting the western lifestyle comes easy to Goswick.
"I grew up on a ranch. My family has been here for five generations. I know all about riding, branding and roping," she said.
Rodeo queen contestants often begin competing at the junior level, and work their way through the senior court before entering the queen competition.
Goswick, however, started at the top.
"This is my first title. I have always been around rodeo and saw the queens. What interested me about entering the competition was keeping my family heritage alive. I am a good kid-I don't drink, I don't party and I don't sleep around. I though I would be a good role model for other young girls," she explained.
It is not unusual for rodeo queens to enter the Arizona Rodeo Queen contest after their reign as local queen is finished. Goswick admits it is in the back of her mind-but not until she finishes college.
While Goswick "loves the big hair and sparkly outfits," the part she really enjoyed as rodeo queen was "visiting veterans and schools. I think that is what being rodeo queen is about-inspiring people."
The rodeo queen pageant takes place about a week before the opening day of the rodeo.
Cowgirls compete in three age groups: junior court, 12 to 14 years of age; senior court, 15 to 16 years of age; and rodeo queen, 17 to 12 years of age.
Kay Miles, royalty chairperson, said that despite the fact that rodeo queen programs are disappearing across the nation, officials at the Prescott Frontier Days World's Oldest Rodeo, are trying to "hold fast to tradition. This rodeo is based in tradition."
Diane Judge-Cox, a member of the board of directors of the Prescott Frontier Days World's Oldest Rodeo, reported that the pool of queen contestants has grown.
Miles stated, "I can honestly say I don't know any other pageants that draw this many contestants."
This year, the pageant included two junior contestants, three senior court contestants and six queen contestants.
Since all contestants participate in rodeo events, it is necessary that all the young women know how to ride, have their own horse, or access to a horse.
The first step in becoming a rodeo queen or a member of her court, is attending Cowgirl 101, a clinic that explains what it takes to be rodeo royalty.
Each young woman must complete an application and attend orientation. During orientation, pageant officials demonstrate the pattern the contestants must ride to show their horsemanship.
During the pageant, three judges observe and score the contestants on horsemanship, photogenic quality, speech, modeling and interview.
In addition to riding, horsemanship includes general knowledge about horses and saddles. The judges test the contestant's rodeo knowledge during the interview process.
Miles said that in addition to horsemanship, the judges looking for poise and polish, and the desire to be part of rodeo and western history.
During her year as rodeo queen, Goswick has gained confidence in herself and improved her public speaking.
For girls who think being a rodeo queen might be in their future, Goswick's advice is "Try it. Go for it. There are so many girls capable of being rodeo queen. There are also lots of people willing to help. I would probably suggest starting with the junior court."
The question remains, where do rodeo queens find their sparkly clothes? Goswick shops online, and if necessary, adds the "glam" herself.