Tonganoxie 4-H’er prepares for national queen competition
As a young child, Courtenay DeHoff started her horse-riding career by leisurely showing off her pony at 4-H competitions.
That was all over with though, once she was introduced to the exciting world of barrel racing.
Ever since, the Tonganoxie High School junior has devoted herself to the energetic competitions of a rodeo cowgirl.
Most recently DeHoff was named the 2006 Kansas High School Rodeo Queen at the Kansas State High School Finals Rodeo held June 9-11 in Topeka. She will now move on to the national competition to compete for the national title of High School Rodeo Queen on July 24-30 in Springfield, Ill.
Although she ran unopposed in the statewide event, she said the experience was still hard work and good practice.
"I just went in there and did it like I would do at nationals," she said.
DeHoff first had a ten-minute interview with all the judges where they could ask her any question they came up with. She then showed off her skills on a horse by completing required activities such as figure eights and being able to ride quickly around the ring while holding a flag perfectly straight.
She was also given an impromptu question to answer in front of the entire audience. After modeling a leather western dress for that same audience she gave a prepared speech in which her topic of choice was the 50-year history of the High School Rodeo competition.
"People don't realize the amount of work that goes into it," she said.
There to help her make it through the event were her friends and family members. She said they cheered during the competition and were extremely excited when she won.
"You would have thought I had won Miss America," she said.
Cindy DeHoff said the attribute that made her daughter a good candidate for rodeo queen was her ability to take on difficult challenges and still have a good attitude and remain composed.
"Being a queen you have to be professional all the time," she said. "You have to take care of your body, and no matter where you are there is someone watching you."
As part of her Kansas High School Rodeo Queen title, DeHoff will be in charge of every grand entry at the rodeos held in Kansas. She will also have to make many public appearances.
DeHoff said her favorite thing about competing in rodeo competitions has been the people she has met along the way. She said she has made many friends throughout her experiences that have helped her in many ways.
After high school, DeHoff said she doesn't know exactly which college she wants to attend. She said she knew one thing for sure though -- she would not be giving up rodeos anytime soon.
"I love horses," she said. "Whether I'm a lawyer or a barrel trainer, I plan to always be around horses."