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July 1, 2012

Rodeo Queen title is for a worthy cause

DUNCAN — Taylor Walker rode up on a painted pony and drove away with a new horse trailer, a sash and a crown.

Walker, 21, of Marlow, was named the 2012 Duncan Noon Lions Club Rodeo Queen during the event Saturday, held at Claud Gill Arena, south of the county fairgrounds. The event is an annual three day rodeo.

Getting the crown was only a small part of the prize, because for Walker, she discovered her involvement with the organization will have long lasting rewards.

She finds it a bit ironic that she was helping sell tickets for a fundraiser that benefits area children with eye exams and eyeglasses. That’s because her father is Dr. Wes Walker, an optometrist in Marlow.

“It goes for a good cause,” she said. But it wasn’t her father who encouraged her to run for rodeo queen. She said it was her uncle.

“I always thought I was too old to run for rodeo queen,” Walker said. “From the beginning, I was really motivated and wanted to do this.”

And her experiences with rodeos have been few. It’s only been a couple of years since she learned cutting, thanks to her fiance´ Bryson Baker of Comanche. Walker said she has rode horses for years, but mostly as a hobby. She and Bryson now go out and do cutting together.

“I heel and he heads,” she said.

She also has a younger sister, Avery, 17, who is an athlete at MHS and will be a senior this upcoming school year. Now her sister is learning how to ride horses and it has given them something to do together.

“This was a good experience. It really made me get out there and just talk to people,” she said. Walker said she’s usually shy, so this helped her overcome that trait.

Involvement with the organization this summer made her realize that helping others, even in a small way, has great benefits.

“I think it’s an excellent experience. I learned a lot and it benefits others which is a main goal of mine, which is to help people.”

Walker, a 2009 Marlow High School graduate, is attending Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton where she is studying to become a radiology technologist. Juggling her studies with selling rodeo tickets also helped her with time management. She has a year of school left before graduation in May 2013.

“When I decided I was going to run, I knew I would just sell a few each week,” she said. “This has made me think differently about donating to organizations.”

Plus, she’s more than happy to have a new trailer and has no intentions of ever painting it. The horse trailer bears all the business sponsors names and also lets people know she is the 2012 Duncan Noon Lions Rodeo Queen.

“It’s really nice. We’ve had a stock trailer for years, but this one has a tack room and I can keep everything there neat and tidy. It’s made things easier,” she said.

“Plus I drive a truck, a blue Chevy so the color is a perfect match with the title on it and Bryson’s truck is silver, so whichever truck we use to pull it, matches.”

Walker encourages any young area girls and women to consider running for next year’s rodeo queen.

“Knowing it was for a good cause inspired me.”

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