WATERVILLE — Registration is open for a Christian-based camp for girls who want to learn about rodeo and being a rodeo queen.
Rodeo Queen University is scheduled for June 23-26 at the NCW District Fairgrounds in Waterville. Founder Jamie Rauch, Moses Lake, said the camp is open to girls and young women age 8-24. This will be the camp’s fifth year.
Rauch said she has been involved in rodeo and rodeo activities most of her life. “I’m a third-generation cowgirl.” She was Miss Moses Lake Roundup program director for the rodeo from 2002 to 2005, she said.
Rodeo Queen University grew out of trends she saw as she attended rodeos and rodeo queen competitions, she said, trends that troubled her. “It was all about glitz and glamor. It wasn’t about character.” Rodeo Queen University is designed to encourage girls, help them develop those character traits, teach them how to be leaders, she said. Her goal is to “mentor, educate, inspire, equip young women,” with skills that they can use their whole lives, she added. “Faith-based life skills.”
Any girl can attend, Rauch said, whether or not she has previous interest in rodeo. “No experience required.” She cited the experience of a girl at the 2015 camp who’d never been on a horse. The girl not only stayed on her pony, she stayed on while the horse trotted and broke into a lope – and sent pictures to her family.
Instructors include the 2016 Miss Rodeo America Katherine Merck, chosen by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and the 2016 Miss Rodeo USA Harmony Latham, chosen by the International Professional Rodeo Association. Rodeo Queen University will be the first time the queens from both organizations teach at the same camp, Rauch said.
Other instructors include 2016 Miss Rodeo USA first runner-up Paige Jerrett and 2013 Miss Rodeo Oregon Nicole Schrock.
Girls learn about public speaking, poise and presentation, they practice interviews and take an etiquette class. They learn basic equitation skills and some horse and rodeo knowledge. There’s chapel each evening and a service on Sunday. There’s also a mock pageant Sunday afternoon, where the girls show what they have learned.
Parents and girls can learn more about the program at www.rodeoqueenuniversity.com, or by contacting Rauch, email@example.com.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.