Rodeo Royalty -- More Than Pretty Faces

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To rodeo queens and their courts, rodeo represents family and just a little glamour.

"My favorite thing is to see a cowboy or cowgirl pull onto the rodeo grounds, get parked and then you see his or her family pile out of the pickup," Audrey Hall said. Hall is queen of the Silver Spur.

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Gilbert Days Rodeo Royalty are: Ashley Bosack, senior princess, Chelsea Neese, queen, Chantel Miles, teen queen, Brittney Hamilton, princess and Codi Ross, Missy.

When contestants meet on the rodeo circuit, familiar faces often become close friends.

Rodeo royalty from across the state and New Mexico are signed up to ride in the 2007 parade.

"Rodeos offer a venue for kids of all ages to get a glimpse of Western history and good old fashioned fun," Chantel Miles said. Miles is the teen queen of Gilbert Days.

Earning the title of Rodeo Queen gives young women the opportunity to travel to new places and meet hundreds of different people.

Queens and their courts are responsible for promoting the sport.

"I believe that the role rodeos play in today's world is very meaningful. They provide entertainment for spectators, support the participants livelihood and represent our great nation's Western heritage," Kelly Horton said. She is the Turquoise Queen on New Mexico's Pro Rodeo Circuit.

Glamour

Chelsea Neese has grown to love the rodeo. As a child, she watched the "beautiful girls" wave and smile as they sat tall on their horses in parades.

"Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember wanting to be a rodeo queen -- and you know what? Dreams do come true," she said.

Competition

Cowgirls who dream of rodeo crowns to grace their Stetsons, need more than a winning smile.

There are horsemanship, personal interview and public speaking portions to the competition.

Horsemanship is an essential skill young women master to compete for the title of queen. There is no rodeo event competition requirement.

Horton participated in barrel racing through high school. Now she just rides for fun.

Team roping is Hall's favorite event. She is also in the process of working one of her young horses on barrels.

"The interview is the time when judges get to know the contestant by testing their knowledge of horses and the great sport of rodeo," Jill Hensley said. She won her title at Cave Creek's Fiesta Days Pro Rodeo.

"Rodeo is a sport that takes real talent, but beyond that, it takes passion," Hall said.

Also in the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo parade are, Miss Lost Dutchman Days Crystal Miner and queen of the Rex Allen Rodeo Days, Destiny Vaught.

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