MOSES LAKE — On a day where Moses Lake Roundup rodeo fans were wearing purple in support of the Man Up Crusade to put an end to domestic violence in America, seven little girls from the Columbia Basin gave us the look of innocence.
They wore little pink cowboy hats with pink boots as they sat under the awning outside the Rodeo Queen University trailer Saturday afternoon. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, the hope is these precious souls will have never know domestic violence.
But on this day, it was about meeting “Sheroes,” drinking lemonade and learning table etiquette at the Cowgirl Tea Party sponsored by Rodeo Queen University. Big saucer eyes and chins pointed down soon evaporated for these under-8-year-olds from Othello.
They met one of their own in Miss Moses Lake Roundup Stephanie Tolley, who’s also from Othello. It was a special day with Rodeo Royalty from around the country. Miss Rodeo America Katherine Merck; Miss Rodeo Washington Macy LaValley; and Miss Rodeo Colorado Madelaine Mills sat in as Abbie Sorenson, Kayleigh Flores, Avery Schutte, Blake Schutte, Miley Steller, Kamryn Johnson and Peyton Tucker took their place around a table in their honor.
It was a golden moment as the young ones learned how life should be from role models making a difference.
Before winning the title of Miss Rodeo America, Merck was in her final year of Law School at Gonzaga University School of Law. She plans to run for a judicial position on the Washington State Supreme Court to promote ethical justice for land use, water rights, and agricultural estate planning. She’s also a former rugby player for the University of Notre Dame.
LaValley hopes to become a media specialist. She is active in the local rodeo associations, she also brings awareness to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery to stop child abuse, and the Rascal Rodeos in Washington.
Tolley started out participating in 4-H, the Washington High School equestrian team, as well as performance shows, barrel racing, and junior rodeos. She carried sponsor flags in Moses Lake Roundup and Othello Rodeo before becoming, Miss Rodeo Othello 2013.
The young ones didn’t know they were talking to the future of America — a future supreme court judge, future school teacher or a future television anchor — they just knew these women sitting at the table them got to ride around the arena carrying the American flag and waving at the crowd.
Now they did learn a little something about that wave. “Always look them in the eye when you wave,” Tolley explained with seven sets of little eyes glued on her motion.
Heads lifted, caution gave way to confidence as they waved at their companions sitting around the table. If all they learned that day at the Cowgirl Tea Party was how to hold their head high and live their life with confidence, it was all worth it.
Hopefully, these seven young ones will never need to know the purpose of the purple shirt as America erases domestic violence in their lifetime. Until then, may life be little pink cowboy hats and golden sunsets.