Two Weld County women among finalists in Miss Rodeo Colorado Pageant | MyWindsorNow.com

Two Weld County women among finalists in Miss Rodeo Colorado Pageant

Tommy Simmons
tsimmons@greeleytribune.com

For Alex Hyland, the horsemanship portion of the Miss Rodeo Colorado Pageant felt like a first date.

She, like the six other candidates, only met her mount, a 5-year-old mustang, 10 minutes before she rode him into the Stampede Arena Wednesday morning. The stands were quiet at 9 a.m., but a panel of judges sat in the southern seats and watched as Hyland rode the horse across the arena's packed dirt. They would evaluate her on her control of the horse and her riding ability.

The horsemanship competition is one of several included in the pageant. Candidates also compete in such areas as personality and public speaking, making the pageant a test of a variety of skills.

"It's not just a beauty pageant," Barb Johnson, the candidates' chaperone, said. "You have to be the complete package."

Johnson was also at the arena Wednesday morning. She watched from a covered balcony as another candidate, Kirsten Peterson of Gilcrest, rode into the arena after Hyland left.

Peterson hasn't competed in the pageant for the last two years because she was establishing herself as a special education teacher at Highland High School in Ault. Now 24, she is facing her last year of eligibility as a candidate.

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The fact she is a finalist in the pageant isn't surprising. She said her parents were never interested in horses, but her sister and her Nebraska extended family were. Through their influence, the first time she rode a horse, she was not yet a year old.

Even with more than two decades of experience, though, she still said the horsemanship competition was intimidating, because she didn't know her horse well.

She said Wednesday she was looking forward to the fashion show, another Miss Rodeo Colorado event, scheduled to take place 5:30 p.m. today. That event allows candidates to showcase their own style in clothes of their choice.

"I have more of a rustic Western, old-school style," she said. "I'm looking forward to bringing that to the table."

It's also when the judges will announce the winner of the competition, Johnson said. Miss Rodeo Colorado terms begin on the first day of each year, so whoever wins the honor will serve as lady in waiting until then.

"Only one girl will walk away with the title," Johnson said, "but seven girls will have the experience of a lifetime."

Miss Rodeo Colorado contestants

The judges of the Miss Rodeo Colorado Pageant will announce the winner at Friday night’s fashion show. There are seven finalists:

» Alex Hyland of Windsor

» Kirsten Peterson of Gilcrest

» Sara Bishop of Longmont

» Allison Mitchell of Woodland Park

» Ashley Watson of Montrose

» Sara Coblentz of Gunnison

» Sierra Knodle of Evergreen

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