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Princesses Bailey Dutcher and Shai Allen along with Queen Sarah Kunkle will represent the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo as its 2013 royalty. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
by Katy Nesbitt/The Observer
The contestants in the Chief Joseph Day Rodeo were treated to sunny skies Saturday as they put their horses through their paces at the Joseph Rodeo Grounds.
The girls are judged on horsemanship, speeches and ticket sales, but riding is the event at which they all strive hardest to excel.
Bailey Dutcher, Shai Allen, and Sarah Kunkle took turns performing in the western equitation, reining, grand entrance and barrel racing categories. Each horse was built for speed, and the girls put their steeds through their paces.
After the riding competitions, the contestants gave speeches on patriotism and rodeo. As any rodeo cowboy or attendee knows, rodeo is steeped in American patriotism. What the audience may not have known until this past weekend is that rodeo is the only sport derived from industry and the first professional rodeo was in Prescott, Ariz. in the late 1800s.
Rodeo is reminiscent of the brandings held on Wallowa County ranches in the spring, complete with roping and the occasional “bronc” breaking.
It may seem obvious that rodeo court members know how to ride and ride well, but the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo court excels each year. Saturday morning’s competition was no exception as they showed off their best western-style riding skills. It was evident that they had been
Sarah Kunkle of Enterprise was crowned queen Saturday night at the prime rib dinner served by T&T Catering. She’s a 17-year-old Enterprise High School junior who is active in horse and livestock 4-H clubs.
Kunkle follows in her sister Tricia’s boots. Tricia was the 2005 rodeo court queen. They also used the same horse, Tipper.
Of Tipper she said, “We have been a riding team for the last five years and he has taught me many lessons on patience, practice and perseverance. I ride western, English and
Princess Bailey Dutcher is also a junior at Enterprise High School. She is a member of FFA and 4-H. Of her horse she said, “My working partner of six years is Grumpy, my 1998 Dun mare. Together we tried our hand at roping through the Ranch Horse program.”
Last fall she put her passion for photography to work as the 2012 Hells Canyon Mule Days photographer. “Through photography I have been able to share my love of Wallowa County and all the beautiful places to see.”
Princess Shai Allen is 16 and a junior at Wallowa High School. She lives in Lostine and was on the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show court last summer.
She is a three-sport athlete, participating in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She is her FFA chapter’s historian and a member of the Rotary Club.
As they say, this isn’t Allen’s “first rodeo.”
“This past year I was honored to be on the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show court and represent Union County. I rode my 12-year-old quarter horse gelding, Oscar, all last year and we are ready to do it again,” said Allen.
The court’s first official event of the summer is the May 18 Spokane Lilac