Amy Hadden MarshCitizen Telegram ContributorRifle, CO Colorado

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July 25, 2012
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County Fair: Meet the rodeo royalty

Each summer at the Garfield County Fair, three young women are crowned queen, attendant and princess. They represent the fair and rodeo at events around the state for one year. Here's an inside look at Queen Annie McNeel, Attendant Shalie Kae Jones and Princess Alli Paige Sexton, who will pass their crowns to a new reign after this year's fair.

School: Coal Ridge High, 2012 graduateCollege plans: Freshman at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling this fallHobbies: Horseback riding, showing and raising livestock, volleyballRecent honors and awards: Garfield County Fair:2010 Grand Champion Pig 2011 Reserve Grand Champion Lamb 2010 & 2011 Reserve Grand Champion Horse Exhibitor Colorado State Fair: 2010 Champion Senior Goat Showmanship2011 Reserve Champion Medium Weight Market Goat 2011 Third place overall Senior Ranch Horse Exhibitor National Western Stock Show:2012 Third Place Senior Goat Showmanship Why did you decide to compete for Queen of the Rodeo?To give back to the Garfield County Fair just a small part of what the fair has given me over the years. How did you feel when you were crowned Queen? Surprised and excited!What is the most fun thing you've done during your reign? Representing Garfield County at the National Western Stock Show and assisting with the Gold Buckle seating at the PRCA rodeo.Describe your riding career.I have been riding since I was 2. My grandparents gave me my own pony when I was 6 and I showed her at the CQHSA All-Breed shows. I moved on to my mom's old barrel horse and showed him in 4-H for two years. Then I found my dream horse, Dr. Bojangles, at the Painted Pitchfork Sale in Rifle. I saw him in the brochure and went to find him at the sale as soon as we pulled in. I asked his owner if I could ride him. He said yes, and it's been a love affair from then on. Who is your role model? Roy Rogers; he loved his horse Trigger and always treated people with respect and kindness.What makes a good role model? Someone you can look up to, who has good morals and does the right thing even when it's hard to do.How has being queen changed you?I've really had to organize my time. Plus I'm working on being flexible and making things work out as best I can. How will this title help you in the future?The queen is offered a college scholarship from the Clough Family Foundation that will be really helpful as I head to college this fall. I have met a lot of people and hope that these will lead to lifelong friendships.What is your advice for girls who want to be rodeo queen?Try out! There are so many opportunities available that are really a lot of fun. It is well worth the time and effort.

School: Rifle High, freshmanHobbies: Rodeo, volleyball, showing livestockRecent honors and awards: 2009 Reserve Grand Champion Market LambOpen 4D Barrel Racing ChampionThree-time world champion barrel racing qualifierWhy did you compete for attendant?To be a rodeo spokesman and show pride in my community.How did you feel when you were named attendant?Very proud of myself.What is the most fun thing you've done during your reign?Being in the spotlight of the rodeo and talking to the younger generation.Describe your riding career.I work for Dina Miller, who is a horse trainer. She has helped me with my rodeo dream. I hope to continue in rodeo as I grow up.Who is your role model?My mom. She has helped me succeed in everything I do.What makes a good role model?Someone you can trust and look up to.How has being attendant changed you?It has made me more responsible and helped me appreciate my community.How will this title help you in the future?By being able to have more communication with the people in the community. What is your advice for girls who want to be attendant?Stay true to yourself and follow your dreams.

School: Riverside Middle School, eighth gradeHobbies: Volleyball, horseback riding, barrel racing, singingRecent honors and awards: I am in honor choir and an honor roll student.Why did you compete for princess? I thought it would be a good experience to be in front of judges to prepare for future job interviews. How did you feel when you were named princess?I felt successful and couldn't really believe I got the title.What is the most fun thing you've done during your reign? Traveling to different towns, meeting new people, and shopping for our clothes. What has been the most fun is riding my horse Shelby. Describe your riding career. I started riding horses when I was very little and competed in my first rodeo before I was 2. I stopped riding for a few years and started up again a little over a year ago. I enjoy it and want to continue to work hard to improve.Who is your role model? Tammy Goza, my mom's best friend. She has taught me a lot about horses and has been part of my life from the day I was born. What makes a good role model? Someone who makes good choices and is willing to help people out.How has being princess changed you? It has given me more self confidence and improved my riding.How will this title help you in the future? It will show people that I am willing to work hard.What is your advice for girls who want to be princess? Be yourself, work hard, have fun.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 25, 2012 07:06PM Published Jul 25, 2012 07:02PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.