"The queens represent the rodeo in the community," said Cal Crader, general chairman for the 59th annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, which runs Wednesday through Saturday. There will also be slack performances, open to the public, beginning on Monday.
"The main reason for having the queens is to promote the rodeo," Crader continued. "The queens make rounds to nursing homes and the hospital, as well as give television and radio interviews for the rodeo."
This year's rodeo queen is Katie Patterson, while Micayla Gray is the junior miss.
Patterson, 22, grew up in Advance. A frequent rodeo contestant herself, she admitted she almost didn't enter the queen pageant.
"I'd rather have my old boots and jeans on than do the pageant thing," she said.
But her younger sister, who was entered in the junior miss, convinced Patterson to do it.
Patterson said she was "extremely surprised" to win the title -- and is glad she entered.
"I already know that it's going to be a lot of fun," she said. At the rodeo, the royalty is responsible for being in the grand entry, conducting the winners laps, helping get stock out of the arena during some events, as well as signing autographs and meeting with rodeo patrons. Throughout the week, as Crader mentioned, the queens go along with Jaycees and the rodeo clowns for several public relations events.
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