Pauls Valley Democrat
The pieces are literally coming together for the 68th Heritage Days Rodeo and while longtime fans see nothing missing from making it the ideal weekend once again, one area that could still use a boost is finding a few more queen candidates.
Representing the Pauls Valley based event and putting out the call for girls ages 14-26, are co-coordinators Carrie English and her granddaughter Bailey Pyle, who pointed out how for first time since the event started that they only have one candidate currently going for rodeo queen.
Normally by three weeks before, there are a handful of young girls doing their best to sell the most tickets with registration closed, but the deadline is being left open until the start of the rodeo on June 27 in hopes of bringing in a few more participants.
“This is the least we’ve ever had,” said English. “We’ve usually have from 3-5 contestants.”
Pointing out how the time left should not be seen as an intimidating task, Pyle and English believe this the perfect moment to approach people for selling tickets as the season across Garvin County is at its peak. There is no one particular area where a candidate must be from and if someone is willing to work hard enough they still have a shot at taking the honor at the coronation on Saturday, June 29.
“It’s not impossible for a girl to come in and still win,” said Pyle. “Through June is when the rodeo is on everyone’s mind.”
Both coordinators can also attest to the excitement and long term benefits of competing for the queen title and while neither won the top spot, there was still a lot of pride continuing a tradition where almost every girl in their family tried for it. Pyle noted how there are benefits for every competitor, who each receive 10 percent of their total ticket sales as well as gifts for their hard work and that she cherishes how it helped her from building character to confidence.
“It was fun, but I’ve been raised in the rodeo club all my life so it’s just part of it,” said English. “It’s an adventure to be around these girls... It just becomes a part of what you do.”
In the end, 50 percent of the contestant’s score comes from those sales, while 25 percent goes for both horsemanship skills and interview and appearance. For that top winner there is a really nice hand crafted saddle in it for them, which is always something that encourages those who can’t seem to get enough time riding their four legged friends.
“It’s a really nice, beautiful Billy Cook saddle,” said English. “Something you’d be proud to own.”
Another part of why there’s no pressure comes from a lack of hostility between the girls, who develop lasting friendships participating in all of the activities leading through the final week, according to English. Pyle noted how even as they try to get people to buy the tickets, they also spend just about every morning that final week eating breakfast together, promoting their candidacy on the local radio stations and signing autographs as they greet rodeo attendees each night of the rodeo.
“Since I’ve been in charge the girls are always encouraging each other,” said Pyle. “They’re all very supportive.”
The only candidate so far is Shelby Foxworth out of Wynnewood and the hope is she will at least have one more person step up to continue the tradition of no less than two.
There is even hope that one of these girls will also be later inspired to become Miss Rodeo USA as well and English added how they also can help make that happen be it $250 toward the entry for the pageant or a rodeo clinic held in Pauls Valley.
“Almost all of the past several Miss Rodeo USAs have moved to Oklahoma in Garvin County,” said English, noting how the atmosphere of the rodeos here also seems to draw in likeminded individuals from across the country. “We’ve all become friends.”
For more information contact Pyle at 405-207-4855 or English at 405-207-4658.
Tickets in advance are $7 for adults and $3 for children. At the gate tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for kids.