80th Annual Kids Rodeo selects its royalty

The 2017 Royalty Contest was held on Thursday evening at the Cowboy Church, with riding contest events at the Kids Rodeo Arena. Master of ceremonies for the modeling and interview contest was Arkansas Valley Fair 2016 Queen Blake Ramsey. Announcer for the rodeo events was Teresa Walz.

The contestants modeled and answered cowgirl questions as Ramsey thanked the sponsors, told jokes and acted as MC for the event. Queen contestants (14-17 age group) were Abigail Schmidt, Miss Rodney Schmidt Horseshoeing, and Jessie Pendleton, Miss TM Quarter Circle. Reese Dutton, Miss Lazy J Ranch, was the only contestant for 2017 Princess (10-13 age group). 2017 Tiny Tot contestants (6-9 age group) were Sadie Buhr, Miss Buhr Land and Cattle, and Donna Fern, Miss Hearts with Hooves Ranch.

The final decision for winners of the 2017 royalty competition was made after the horsemanship contest at the Kids Rodeo Arena. Last year’s royalty in each age group demonstrated the pattern to be ridden for judging. The girls were impressive in their horsemanship skills, demonstrating difficult maneuvers such as backing up the horse and riding swiftly around the arena, waving, when they finished, to the applause of the onlookers.

The final selections were 2017 Queen Abigail Schmidt, Queen’s First Attendant Jessie Pendleton; 2017 Princess Reese Dutton; 2017 Tiny Tot Princess Sadie Buhr, Tiny Tot Princess Attendant Donna Fern. Crowning and award of prizes took place in the arena, with 2017 royalty receiving gifts, flowers and sashes from 2016 Royalty: Jada Kissel, Kara Kissel, Kate Kissel and Jira Kissel.