The Duncan Banner
For more than 20 years, the Noon Lions Club Rodeo has been represented by young women across the county and surrounding areas competing for the title of Rodeo Queen. This year, the club is changing things up a bit.
For the rodeo’s 33rd year, young men, as well as the ladies, will be invited to be contestants for the honor of Rodeo Ambassador, which will be announced at the rodeo June 27-29 at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center. Though the idea to include guys came by the way of a joke, it turned into a genuine possibility.
“Two or three years ago, I was approached by the younger brother of one of our queens and he asked if he could compete too,” said Joe Henderson, event chairman. “I think he was kidding but it certainly woke us up to the idea and we don’t want to leave the young men out if they want to compete.”
In order to join in on the contest, the young men and women must be between the ages of 8-23 and unmarried. Having some horse riding experience is a plus, but not necessary.
“They must be present to win,” Henderson said. “I would like them to be able to ride in some of the parades but it’s not a requirement.”
What is a requirement is that the contestants sign an agreement when tickets are released to them and that they understand the rules. Representing the rodeo and selling tickets is a responsibility and not one to take lightly.
The funds the tickets bring in not only help pay for prizes contestants are working toward but to help the rodeo and the projects the Lions Club participate in such as their eyeglasses program and the scholarships they provide.
“There are some qualifications the contestants must meet in order to win,” said Henderson. “A minimum amount of money must be turned in to be an ambassador and there is another minimum amount to win the trailer.”
First place winner is the contestant who raises the most money and they receive a brand new horse trailer worth about $10,000. Second place receives a saddle that’s around $700 in worth.
“The average turn in of the winner in the last five years is in excess of $5,000,” said Henderson. “This doesn’t just have to be ticket sales, it can be donations to the individual for the cause.”
Henderson said they generally have the contestants turn in the sum of their fundraising by May 15 and he’s hoping to have tickets ready to sell by April 15. However, interested contestants can start right now raising money by donations.
“We try to give all the contestants 60 days to sell their tickets or get donations,” he said. “We keep it as fair as possible because we want all the contestants to feel like they have a good opportunity to win.”
Competing for the title of Rodeo Ambassador is more than having the desire to win for yourself, but the desire to help a cause that does good in the community. Usually, the winners get even more involved with the rodeo.
“They usually come back and help work the rodeo for years after,” Henderson said. “They become true volunteers in their own right.”
For those interested in the Rodeo Ambassador competition, contact Joe Henderson at 580-252-7388 or 580-656-3701.