Junior Rodeo Royalty Resigns

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Payson Pro Rodeo Teen Queen Hester Kane and Junior Teen Queen Emilie Acord had a contract with the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee that they thought would see them through May and their reigns as Payson rodeo royalty.


But with just 2 1/2 months left as junior court representatives, the committee asked the girls to sign new contracts, which removed their mothers as their chaperones.


The girls said they also were told that part of their duties as junior court royalty was to train for the position of Payson Rodeo Queen.


In a letter of resignation to the Pro Rodeo Committee, signed by Kane and Acord, Kane wrote that the teen queens are just as their titles describe them.


"It does not say attendant, lady in waiting, lady in training, nor does it state that we are still in a learning process," Kane said during her resignation before the committee.


The Payson Pro Rodeo Queen and Teen Queen and Junior Teen all won their titles the same way -- by demonstrating excellence in horsemanship, speech, modeling and personal interviews, she told the committee.


Diane and Bill Armstrong, members of the Pro Rodeo Committee, declined comment on the girls' resignations.They referred questions to Becky Derwort, the rodeo committee's scholarship committee chairman, who also declined comment.


The girls also told the committee they objected to a clause in their new contract that gave Holly Ryan, the new queen director, the exclusive right to choose the queens' chaperones.


"I would ask members of the rodeo committee if (your) daughter was a Junior Queen or a Teen Queen," Kane said, "would you, as parents, give legal authority to someone else to choose your granddaughter's or daughter's chaperone?


"The Junior Court Queens are minors and I believe the legal authority over us as minors rests solely with our parents."


With only a few months left in their duties, Kane told the committee that they saw no reason to change their contracts with the committee and would prefer, instead, to resign.


The mothers of both girls said they were pleased that their daughters stood up for themselves.

"I'm very proud of my daughter and Emilie," Terry Kane said Thursday. "They stood up for what they believed."


Becky Acord said, "They have been true ambassadors for the Payson Rodeo and they are two of the most remarkable young women you'd ever want to meet."

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