Participants vying to be rodeo queen, princess




For princess contestant Kassandra Pechanec, 13, McCracken, the best part of the pageant is the speech.

"I just like talking to people," Pechanec said.

But for queen contestant Erin Marie Stone, 19, Andale, the speech is the most nerve-racking part.

Still, Stone thinks her performance in Friday's PRCA Rodeo Pageant went pretty well.

During the 2014 Miss Beef Empire Days pageant, the queen and princess contestants all mentioned the dedication and honor of holding such titles for something that means a lot to them — rodeo.

The girls used words like gregarious, hardworking and dedicated to describe themselves, and, after listening to their list of accomplishments and what the rodeo means to them, those words were reinforced.

Friday morning, the two queen and three princess contestants were first judged on their horsemanship, or the way to move their horse agilely in the pattern previously chosen by the judges and demonstrated by 2013 Miss BED Princess Abbie Schwab.

Lunch was served for those who attended the style show and, afterward, the contestants showed off their arena outfit and a fashion-forward outfit, commonly known as Western wear.

They each gave a two-minute speech selected on the sport of rodeo or Beef Empire Days, and had to answer one on-the-spot question about rodeo, followed by a personal interview with the judges.

Sharon Wormington, co-chairman of the Pageant Committee, said three judges would decide the fate of the winners: Jon Fort, who is well-versed in rodeo; Marcy Walker, who knows a lot about horses and riding; and Gail Eberle, who is the mother of a previous Beef Empire Days Queen and Miss Rodeo Kansas.

Both the 2014 Miss Beef Empire Days Queen and Princess were to be crowned at the Finney County Fairgrounds Grandstand Arena in front of the crowd Friday night, however, weather has postponed the announcement until today.

Before ending the style show Friday afternoon, the Pageant Committee made a tribute to John Garcia, a rodeo clown for many years for Beef Empire Days who always meant a lot to the girls.

The reigning Miss Rodeo Kansas Katera Harter gave a speech recognizing Garcia. She talked about what a good person he was, and how lucky she was to have met him.

"It was a true pleasure knowing him," Harter said, almost tearfully.

After Harter's speech, a plaque was given to his family.

Ending the style show, Abbie Schwab gave her farewell speech, because after Friday evening she will no longer be the Beef Empire Days Princess.

"I've never had this much fun," Schwab said. "It's been such a good experience."

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