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June 13, 2013

Rodeo queen picks Duncan for backdrop

DUNCAN — Lauren Elise Wade may live in Enid, but this 15-year-old is traveling around the state and promoting Duncan.

She is the Chisholm Trail Stampede PRCA Rodeo Queen for 2013 and on Wednesday, she was in Duncan specifically for a photo shoot at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.

Elise, which she goes by, was here in May for the annual rodeo. She has a warm spot in her heart for this area, mostly because it goes back to when she first began her rodeo queen adventures in 2007 when she was 8. She was Miss Oklahoma Rodeo Princess that year and her father, Doug Wade, said she was able to work with Clem McSpadden, who died the following year. He was the grandnephew of Will Rogers and a rodeo broadcaster, among other accomplishments.

“It is just heartwarming to be here. It is such an honor,” Elise said. Her father worked with rodeo organizer Barbara Davis in coordinating the photo shoot, which was done by Dawn Muncy of Enid. Besides the stop at CTHC, she was also going to visit Mike Terry at his auto dealership, Mike Terry Auto Family. Terry provided pickups for some of the photos, with the bronze statue in the background.

“It’s important to be in Duncan and to represent the Chisholm Trail Stampede. This is the best kept secret in the south and one of the most exciting and innovative indoor rodeos around,” Doug said.

Davis said it’s been years since the CT Stampede PRCA Rodeo has seen so much interest.

“We wanted to get back into the PRCA rules of the rodeo and horsemanship. We are excited to promote our queen,” she said.

Elise’s father is also excited, because he and his wife, Sandra, are dedicated to education. He said many young girls don’t realize that rodeo queen responsibilities can also bring them scholarships for education. He said that can be up to $50,000.

“The neat thing about the Miss Rodeo program is what it can do for young people,” he said. While most people are aware of what athletics offers, especially for boys, this program gives young girls a chance to have role models and pursue their education.

Following the visit in May by his daughter, along with Miss Rodeo America Chenae Shiner, he said that gave young Duncan girls a chance to meet the role models.

Elise though, is still adjusting to being a role model.

“It’s hard to picture myself as one of those girls that I look up to, like Miss Rodeo America. But after being here in Duncan and doing the autograph session and seeing the younger girls looking at me like I look at my role models, you cherish that for a long time,” she said in between photo sets.

Elise also is a competitive barrel racer and during the shoot, talked about meeting former Lt. Governor Jari Askins, a Duncan native, at Remington Park recently. Elise is a member of the board of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Youth Association and loves to ride her horse, GI Jazz. She also has a coveted trophy from the AQHYA World Championships.

CTHC Executive Director Stacy Cramer was also excited that the Wades had chosen the facility for the backdrop of the promotional photographs.

“She is probably the most prominent person we’ve had here in some time for a photo shoot,” she said. The last celebrity on the grounds for a commercial shoot was Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, just over a year ago in May 2012.

Cramer said she’s always amazed at how many people, especially from this area, who have not been inside the museum.

“We are a world class museum. We are a top tourism attraction,” she said. Cramer was delighted that the bronze statue would be in some of the images, since she said, it is an icon that represents the history of the Chisholm Trail and the cowboy spirit.

The photos will also be used as Elise competes for the title of Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Teen, which is July 24-27.

Cramer added that each year, the CTHC promotes National Day of the Cowboy, which is July 27.  On April 4, Oklahoma Sen. Don Barrington recognized NDOC with an official bill, making the state the fifth one to pass the bill.

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