Sometimes being a feminist is a real downer.
Just ask Missy, who is the youngest of 8 contestants for this year’s Rodeo Queen for our county. Her mother (uh, that would be me) quizzed her relentlessly about why she wanted to be RQ, what RQs in fact do, and how she planned on coping with potential Mean Girl stuff. So I’m posting an interview with my little feminist-in-training, RQ wannabe.
Idahospud: What are you hoping to accomplish by competing for the title of Rodeo Queen?
Missy: I want to spend more time with my horse, and learn how to be a better public speaker and presenter so that when my opinions will REALLY make a difference, I’ll be able to voice them more confidently.
Idahospud: What does being a Rodeo Queen entail?
Missy: A Rodeo Queen educates people about rodeo, and buzzes at other rodeos to represent her county. A Rodeo Queen also has to give 3-6 public speeches about that year’s fair and rodeo, and occasionally ride in parades.
Idahospud: What does the competition consist of?
Missy: First of all, a modeling/speech competition, where they will also ask you three questions from these catigories: Personality, Local Events, and Rodeo. Then there is a Horsemanship competition, where you have to ride a reining pattern to the best of your ablities.
Idahospud: So can you argue that this is more than a beauty pageant?
Missy: In a beauty pageant, you do your hair. In a Rodeo Queening contest, you do your horse’s hair and hope you don’t get muddy and/or kicked in the process. How many beauty pageant contestants do you know that have to clean pens, get dirty on a regular basis (usually AT the competition), know what a header and a heeler do, or have to chase bulls into various corners of the arena while making sure they don’t run over the cowboy that’s lying in the dirt? Rodeo Queening also has a lot to do with horsemanship, a really hard skill to gain. Your horse is not just for show, he is your partner, making the competition a team effort.
Idahospud: So why do only females compete for rodeo royalty? Why aren’t boys vying to be Rodeo King?
Missy: Big rodeo supporters, such as Wrangler and Dodge, usually have male representitives at rodeos that buzz with their flags and wear their company’s shirts, and getting to be one of these representitves is a lot like a Queening competition. It’s just a little less…glittery. There is also the All-Around Cowboy award that is given at many rodeos.
Idahospud: Competition among females is notorious for backbiting and mean behavior. How are you going to make the competition experience an opportunity to foster sisterhood among the contestants?
Missy: By not doing any backbiting myself, and by being friendly and not acting stuck-up, which usually makes you a target for mean behavior. Giving someone a sincere compliment helps ‘foster sisterhood’ too.