The Payson Rodeo Committee and its royalty board are looking for young women interested in representing the community and the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo as Queen.
The past few years the committee has had difficulty getting contestants in spite of the offer of a $1,000 scholarship at the end of the reign if the Rodeo Queen has enrolled in college or trade school, according to Ruth Klaver, a member of both the committee and board.
Other members of the committee's royalty board are Bill Armstrong, Bob Klaver and Phyllis Sales. Katie McNeeley is the Queen Coordinator.
Most of the board has had previous experience with the contest and McNeeley has been competing in queen and beauty contests since she was 8.
The royalty board is a new approach to recruiting contestants, selecting judges and helping the queen and her court through their reign, Klaver said.
Another change under consideration is having the Rodeo Queen's reign begin in January 2003, Klaver said.
Contestants must be interested in being the community's representative, be able to ride a horse and speak in public. They must also be able to commit to a year of service as the Rodeo Queen and have a willing attitude. The age requirement for contestants is being reviewed by the royalty board at this time, Sales said.
The commitment requires attendance at six designated Pro Rodeos, including the two in Payson. The Rodeo Committee provides the transportation costs to these six events.
The Rodeo Queen contest includes competition in horsemanship, public speaking, a private interview with the Rodeo Committee and modeling. The horsemanship portion of the contest involves not only riding, but knowledge of rodeo and handling horses, McNeeley said.
She said the clothing needed for the contest and during the reign can generally be purchased off the rack as Wrangler is the No. 1 sponsor of rodeos and queen contests. There are also exchange opportunities through queen clinics and at rodeoqueenclothing.com, McNeeley said.
Young women interested in competing for the title of Payson Pro Rodeo Queen should start studying and practicing for the various elements of competition now. Parental support is very important to a successful reign, McNeeley said. And it is also necessary for the young women to be able to get individuals and businesses, clubs and organizations to sponsor their efforts.
For more information the Klavers, Sales and McNeeley can all be contacted. The Klavers can be contacted after Oct. 1 at 474-8837. Sales is available at 474-9721 and McNeeley can be reached at 978-2054.
The royalty board is also inviting all Payson area businesses to get behind the Rodeo Queen program to help build the scholarship fund and make the winner and her court a truly successful ambassador for the community.
The Rodeo Queen was formally made the Official Ambassador of Payson in 1992 by a town council proclamation.
"It is great fun. You get to meet a lot of great people and do a really positive thing for everyone," McNeeley said.
Queens of the Payson Pro Rodeo
The Rodeo Queen is a long-standing tradition. It is not quite as old as the 119-year-old Payson Rodeo, but it will be 50 years old in 2004. The women who have held the title, and their attendants, represent many of the community's oldest families, as well as its fun-loving, competitive spirit.
The past Payson Rodeo Queens and their attendants:
1964, Dora Lee Anderson Connolly, queen; Peggy Jones Randall, Georgia Haught Stratton and Betty Emmett Mills, attendants.
1955, Betty Emmett Mills, queen; Peggy Jones Randall and Mary Ellen Musselman, attendants.
1956, Mary Lou Haley Panatopoulos, queen; Beverly Garrels Gibson and Emily Hollowell Ohlinger, attendants.
1957, Nancy Owsley, queen; Gladys Chatfield and Christine Ashby, attendants.
1958, Calleen Eaves Reinhold, queen; Odette Emmett Fulton and Fafi Owens, attendants.
1959, Sylvia Gray, queen; Margaret Emmett Hill and Charlene Halladay attendants.
1960, Mary Annelle Deming Mullen, queen; Carol Dimbat Owens and Leckie Jean Cline Ski, attendants.
1961, Margaret Emmett Hill, queen; Annie Emmett Ryan and Leckie Jean Cline Ski, attendants.
1962, Leckie Jean Cline Ski, queen; Annie Emmett Ryan and Carolyn Bishop Howell, attendants.
1963, Gwen Owens, queen; Linda Murray and Reva Bishop Thomas, attendants.
1964, Margaret Stinson McLane, queen; Stella Anderson Henney and Mary Chilson Randall, attendants.
1965, Reva Bishop Thomas, queen; Keith Zynda, Linda Hagaar and Sarah Pyle Luckie, attendants.
1966, Polly Brown, queen; Margaret Polk Skinner and Margaret Pyle Hill, attendants.
1967, Melody Lookingbill Neel, queen; Mimi Baughman Haught and Tommie Cline Martin, attendants.
1968, Tommie Cline Martin, queen; Darla Haught Underwood and Cheri Cloudt, attendants.
1969, Karen White Howell, queen; Cindy Haught Armstrong, Margaret Hunt Parker and Candee Randall, attendants.
1970, Charlene Creach Hunt, queen; Julie Schultz Cunningham, attendant.
1971, Jeanne Wilson, queen; Lauree Lee Parker Connolly and Jeanne Morris Cline, attendants.
1972, Lynn Young, queen; Barbie Hunt McRae, attendant.
1973, Margaret "Aunt Babe" Holder, queen; Pam Rhea Jones and Angela Taylor VanHorn, attendants.
1974, Angela Taylor VanHorn, queen; Kerry Hill Morris and Leanne Adams, attendants.
1975, Janie Banbury, queen; Jamie Wagner and Louise Hunt Wingfield, attendants.
1976, Jamie Wagner, queen; Toki Ferguson, attendant.
1977, Toki Ferguson, queen; Jonna Spreen Self, attendant.
1978, Jonna Spreen Self, queen; Verna Hunsaker and Deanna White Hancock, attendants.
1979, Melanie Haught, queen; Deanna White Hancock and Lori Ortega, attendants.
1980, Sherrie Wantland, queen; Lori Ortega, Shelly Jackson and Liz Lawton, attendants.
1981, Tammy Ewing, queen; Julie Ewing and Liz Lawton, attendants.
1982, Paula Pyatt, queen; Liz Lawton, princess; Michelle Foster and Joanne Sotello, attendants.
1983, Terry Sanders, queen; Linda Cannaday, attendant.
1984, Donna Cozart, queen; Shauna Franks, attendant.
1985 Laura Flood, queen; Frostie Parker, attendant.
1986, Lana Schall, queen; Ingrid Lante, attendant.
1987 - 1988 Kim Dorman, queen.
1989 Angel Antan, queen.
1990, Lani Parker, queen
1991-1992, Julie Don Haught, queen; Becky Smith, teen queen; Camae Parker, junior teen queen.
1993, Raylene Parker, queen.
1994, Krissy Dawes, queen; Eden Zang, teen queen; Kristy Wagoner, junior teen queen.
1995, Media Hunsaker, queen.
1996, Amanda Miller, queen; Shelli Shaw, teen queen; Jenna Williams, junior teen queen.
1997, Betsy Rice, queen; Kristy Wagoner, teen queen; Jackie Dawes, junior teen queen.
1998, Shelli Shaw, queen; Jamie Goble, teen queen; Tanya McCoy, junior teen queen.
1999-2000, Honey Ryan, queen; Hester Kane, teen queen; Emily Acord, junior teen queen.
2001, Brandyce Engler, queen.