WHO WILL BE QUEEN?
A love for riding is evident from this year's Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Queen's Court.
The members of the court Simi Swanson, Jennifer Johnson and Kelsey Billings have been riding since a young age and continue to enjoy the activity.
"Fun to be around," said Johnson, who recently graduated from Cove High School.
"Watched girls (from previous Queen Courts) run down before, and thought it looked really fun," said Billings, who also graduated from Cove.
"I love riding," said Swanson, who will be a senior at Union this fall.
Swanson won a champion ground breaking award at the Union County Fair with her horse, PS Quincey's Ghost Rocket (Shady), which she purchased and trained.
She was also on the Catherine Creek Court in 2000 using her horse, Manhattan Express (Manny), who she will be using at the Livestock Show.
Swanson is very involved with the community. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Union Dance Team and FFA.
She was also the Greenhand President of FFA in the ninth grade and has received the Star FFA Chapter Award for the last three years. Swanson has been on the basketball team, golf team and was a teacher's aide for three years.
Swanson's other activities include 4-H Union County Ambassador, Teen Leader of small animals, Youth in Action, cooking, sewing, food preservation, fiber arts and horse 4-H.
Swanson said she has been waiting to be on the court for awhile.
"Really wanted to do this for a long time," she said. "Happy to get out there and do it."
Billings said she has been riding from a young age.
"I love to ride," she said. "To show."
Billings has done many things in 4-H including cooking, showing horses and lambs.
She has played baseball for many years and was on the volleyball team at school.
Johnson said she could never figure out why she enjoyed riding so much.
"I've thought about that a lot," she said.
She said it is easier to get around, that's for sure.
Since Johnson was old enough to crawl, she imagined herself as a horse. Instead of walking, she galloped across floors wearing out the knees of her pants.
Johnson's parents thought she would outgrow it, but she did not. She begged her father for a horse when she was eight, and he bought it.
"Just excited to be on the court, I guess," Johnson said.
The Queen's Horsemanship was Sunday. The Queen's Coronation is Thursday at 7 p.m.