BRAWLEY — There is no better harbinger that the Cattle Call Rodeo is around the corner than the annual queen contest consisting of the horsemanship portion, which was held at the Cattle Call arena last Friday evening, and the coronation held the following night at Inferno Restaurant. In the celebration, Anne Locher of El Centro was crowned Cattle Call Queen for 2016.
Other Cattle Call royalty included Kamrin Dickerson of Brawley, 13, who was chosen as Teen Queen, Gianna Cox of El Centro, 11, as Junior Miss, and Genesis Whitt of Brawley, 7, as the new Little Miss.
During horsemanship, the younger two contestants entered the arena via truck accompanied by Jodi Rollins of Calipatria, who began the competition by singing the national anthem.
For those loving rodeo, this year’s competition did not disappoint with the queen and teen queen contestants all performing complex reigning patterns, including spins, sliding stops, and rollbacks.
The current royalty, Chelsey Roper, Keeley Poloni, Rylee Locher, and Chyenne Cox, also participated by demonstrating the patterns their counterparts needed to nail, and again the next night on stage at the Inferno by asking the current affair questions.
Co-chairmen of the Cattle Call Queen committee, Alexis Brown and Kaylynn Sampson, both former queens, put a program together for the contestants that promised to be exacting and supportive. It was their objective, along with fellow committee members, Carli Rose, Tracy Cox, Kati Luna, and Gracie Romero, to stage a superb contest that challenged the young ladies as well as groomed them for their upcoming duties.
“We are very happy how it turned out,” said Brown. “The girls worked very hard for this event. We want to also thank our supporters and everyone who turned out.”
The horsemanship competition not only demanded riding competence, but required skill in handling cattle, since that is one of the court’s duties during the three local rodeos as they help herd steers into the cattle holding area.
Unfortunately, during the riding competition, a stray steer managed to escape his pen and run through the backstage area near the horse boarding stables, exciting the horses. The steer was manipulated into the main arena during the segment where the Cattle Call Queen contestant was to ride an unfamiliar horse.
Anne Locher was on the ground holding the unfamiliar horse. As the handlers tried to guide the steer back into a pen, the animal struck five men who tried to take control of the situation.
Ambulances were called for safekeeping; one man who was attacked reportedly had a sprained ankle.
Locher eventually mounted the horse and exited the arena. The steer finally found the open gate, allowing the competition to continue.
But the previous night’s excitement was forgotten with the glamour and thrill of Saturday’s coronation in front of a packed house. Attendees were wowed by the beautiful, richly-colored full-length lambskin gowns worn by the contestants that were decorated with crystals and sequins and highlighted by matching dyed boots and white Stetson hats.
Other perennial favorites of the night were the dramatic speeches performed before the house, showcasing the talent of each young lady while not riding the horse. The girls all interwove this year’s rodeo theme, “Rope and Ride with Valley Pride, 60 years of Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo,” into their speeches.
The night ended with four coronations, prizes and awards, and tears of happiness.[envira-gallery id=”86065”]