One contestant to compete for Miss Rodeo Oregon crown
This year's Miss Rodeo Oregon pageant, hosted once again at the Clackamas County Fair and Canby Rodeo, is going to look a bit different than the past few years as there is just one contestant in the running.
And that contestant is a familiar face. She is Samantha Henricks, who competed as one of four contestants in last year's pageant when the crown ultimately went to Taylor Skramstad of Umapine. Skramstad will hold the 2019 crown through December, when she will compete for the Miss Rodeo America 2020 title.
According to National Director for Miss Rodeo Oregon Lynn Haynes, Oregon's pageant did have three contestants this year, but two had to drop out due to family situations. Haynes suggested there seems to be something in the water as the turnout across many states is low this year. She said Colorado, which usually turns out 15-16 contestants, has just four this year.
Fortunately for Oregon though, Haynes offered nothing but praise for the one and only Henricks.
"We may only have one contestant, but she's quality," Haynes said. "So we're excited for her that she came back."
And it's not uncommon for a contestant to return in the pageant world.
"My sister, who was Miss Rodeo Idaho, tried out three times before she got Idaho," Haynes said. "Chenae (Shiner) Vest tried out five times for Miss Rodeo Utah and became Miss Rodeo America…So it does happen."
Henricks is hopeful it will happen for her. Even though she's the only one in the running, she does have to receive a cumulative score of at least 70 percent to obtain the title.
"I don't think anything is changed for me when it comes to why I want to be Miss Rodeo Oregon," said Henricks. "However, I think often times you are put in a situation at the right place and the right time, and hopefully this year is my year."
Henricks is 23 years old and hails from Grants Pass Oregon, where she works as a medical assistant and enjoys fishing, trail riding, playing volleyball, camping and spending time with family. She also volunteers her time as head coach for both the Grants Pass High School and North Valley High School equestrian teams.
"I have a special place in my heart for the youth in my community," Henricks said. "I currently coach two local high school equestrian teams and grew up in the 4H program. I believe the future of the sport of rodeo lies within youth programs like these as well as FFA and high school rodeo. As 2020 Miss Rodeo Oregon, it would be a focus to submerge myself into these programs to spark more rodeo interest."
While Henricks has extensive experience with horses, she's somewhat known for riding a different animal: the mule.
"Riding a mule in a horse-dominated sport granted me the confidence to stand out and be unique," Henricks said.
For the pageant, Henricks will be riding a quarter horse, but if she seizes the crown, that's a different story.
"If I get the chance to hold the title in 2020, I may have to find one opportunity to get on a mule!" she said.
Jokes aside, Henricks has a genuine desire to represent Oregon well and a deep understanding of the ideal Miss Rodeo Oregon.
"I have always seen Miss Rodeo Oregon as an ideal horsewoman, spokesperson and role model," Henricks said. "In my eyes, she symbolizes the youth of Oregon who want to embrace and further promote the sport of rodeo.
"She is a modern cowgirl who exemplifies grace, dignity and leadership," she continued. "My ability to become Miss Rodeo Oregon is reflected in these qualities. This would allow me the chance to be a voice for the sport of rodeo, our western heritage and the strong family values it stands for.
"To serve as 2020 Miss Rodeo Oregon would be a special privilege and an incredible opportunity."
Henricks will take part in the Miss Rodeo Oregon pageant throughout the week of the Clackamas County Fair, Aug. 13-17. She will participate in knowledge-based tests and interviews, horse showmanship, media interaction, a fashion show and more.
The final decision and crowning takes place on the final night of the Canby Rodeo on Saturday, Aug. 17. For tickets, visit Clackamas.us/fair.
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