Kristen White was crowned the 2016 Polk County Rodeo Queen Saturday, August 13th in the Commerical Building at the Polk County Fair Grounds.
Miss White was also voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants. Ashley Sides was named First Runner Up, while Katy Caldwell was selected as Second Runner-Up.
Aby Fortner was selected as Princess, and Elliott Dugan was chosen as Sweetheart. Camilla Booher was chosen as Sweetheart First Runner Up.
Cheyanne Windham won the Little Sweetheart competition, Cambreigh McReynolds was selected as the First Runner Up.
The Horsemanship Award went to Bennetta Morris. Bennetta was also selected as Senior Queen.
“Every year we have rodeo and rodeo royalty is a tradition,” said Phylis Caldwell. “We have slots for both boys and girls, this year we didn’t have any boys run. But we go from anywhere from kids who can sit on a horse and be led all the way up to what we call seniors. We’ve had a senior Queen in her sixties. This year’s senior queen is 22 years old.”
“They come in and fill out an application expressing their interest in running,” said Caldwell. “They do have to sell raffle tickets. That’s how we are able to fund the contest. After they’ve sold their tickets and have a sponsor, then we have two horsemanship contests which judges them on a specific pattern they are required to run. They are also judged on attitude, upkeep and care of their horse and how they present themselves.”
“There are specific dress rules,” said Caldwell. “You have to dress long sleeve shirt, hat, jeans, boots and belt. After the horsemanship contest, there is an interview process with two judges that ask anything they want to about their horse, feelings about rodeo, what they think they can do to help rodeo and about the rodeo way of life.”
“They are also judged on how they present themselves throughout the rodeo,” said Caldwell. “How they talk with people going through the stands. They will be an ambassador for Polk County. The Queen is required to represent in at least three other events throughout her year such as other rodeos, fair associations, cattleman’s association meetings for that ambassadorship,” said Caldwell.
“We have 13 judges this year, said Caldwell. “At each horsemanship contest there are two judges and a secret judge that wanders around. At the parade, there are two parade judges, one watching to see how well the contestant is presented and there is a secret judge, watching how they got ready. Watching to see if they helped anyone out. At the rodeo itself, we have secret judges walking around observing the contestants.”
It’s not a requirement, but this year all the contestants are from Polk County with the exception of one from Smithville,” said Caldwell.
“The new Queen, Princess and Senior Queen get to take a victory lap during the rodeo.”