PRESCOTT - The competitors for rodeo royalty were riding, circling a practice ring, waving and trying various gaits in the hour before the winners were announced Sunday afternoon.
Some of the activity was practice. But some appeared to be a way to work off some nervous tension, the result of months of preparation and weeks of judging.
Elizabeth Siegfried, 15, a contestant for Senior Court, was what could only be described as cautiously optimistic. "I had competed before, for Junior Court, and when I did that, I thought that I had it, and I didn't," she said. "So now I think I have a good chance, but I don't want to get my hopes up."
In her quest for Junior Court, Trinity Tompkins, 11, was hoping for a little help from her grandfather's saddle, which she was using for the ceremony. Her mom, Tara, said she had her own days in competition a few years back.
"A lot of us had been competitors and our daughters follow in our footsteps," she said.
"It's really encouraging to watch the traditions and the different generations go through it."
"I think I did good this year," Desiree Johnson, 12, a Junior Court hopeful said. "I did better on my speech this year because I was super-shy last year."
Finally, it was time to head into the ring. Reigning Queen Megan Brush and Senior Court Jordan Ownby took laps around the ring, waving goodbye as their recorded farewell speeches played, and then Royalty Chairman Deanne Petty announced the 2015 Queen and Court:
Junior Court: Desiree Johnson.
"I was really shocked. I broke out in tears," she said. "It was really nerve-wracking."It's going to be super fun" representing the Prescott Rodeo, she added.
Senior Court: Elizabeth Siegfried.
"I'm so excited," she said. When her name was announced, "I thought I was going to pass out, but I didn't." She's hoping for "equal doses" of fun and work during the next year. "The work leads up to the fun, so you can't have fun without work," she said.
Queen: Sabrina Swearingin.
"I am in utter disbelief right now," she said after the ceremony. "This means the world to me. I am honored to be the 2015 Miss Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Queen." After a bit of jubilant crying, she noted that she had competed last year, lost, and "through the year I learned a lot, and came back and got it."
Smiling and taking photos was her mother, Gina Wolven, who said, "I'm so happy for her. (It took) tons of work for her, lots of time on her horse.
"She's earned it."
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