Woodward, Okla. —
"It's not a beauty pageant," said Kallie Baker of the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma contest.
Appearance is part of the judging, certainly, but there is so much more. Rodeo queens must have the poise and personality to deal with interviews and modeling that go into a queen contest, plus they have to be able to ride and handle a horse.
Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Baker and Sydney Wyatt, who is the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Princess, have all of those characteristics and more.
Baker, from Mustang, started riding at a young age and competing in ranch sorting events when she was 7. She became more involved with the rodeo around the age of 12 when she started participating in barrel racing. Wyatt will be a 7th grader at Cherokee this fall and is active in 4-H. She started riding when she was 4 and competes in barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying.
"While we are at the different rodeos around the state our duties vary," Baker said. "This week they don't have us doing much except carrying the sponsorship flags during the grand entrance each night."
Most of their time during a rodeo is spent promoting the event by conducting interviews with all media outlets.
Wyatt and Baker were crowned during the state competition in Oklahoma City in July 2011, but their year representing the state didn't start until Jan. 1 of 2012.
"They gave us a grace period at the end of last year to get used to the duties of being a rodeo queen," Baker said.
Baker, who will be representing Oklahoma in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in December, said this has been a great experience.
"My schedule is crazy, I'm gone just about every week to a different rodeo," Baker said.
Baker and Wyatt travel together when the schedule allows and both attend the in-state rodeos.
"The only time we are not together is when I go to an out of state rodeo," Baker said.
During the pageants each contestant had to go through couple of interviews, a modeling session, photo shoot and horsemanship competition. Baker and Wyatt both feel much of their score was based on their horsemanship ability.
"The younger contestants get to bring their own horses and tack to the pageant for their horsemanship portion of the contest, I had to use a borrowed horse and tack for mine," Baker said.
There are 4 age groups for the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Scholarship pageant.
Contestants can start out in the Sweetheart Division for ages 3-7, where everyone is a winner and it gets the girls used to competing in the pageants.
Next is the 8-12 division, or Princess, 13-17 is the Miss Teen Rodeo Oklahoma and 18-24 for the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma.
Baker, who took the year off from college to serve as Miss Rodeo Oklahoma, said she is planning on going back to finish her degree in business next year.
"I would like to go to UCO or OSU to finish my degree," Baker said.
Baker will be competing in the Miss Rodeo America contest the first week of December in Las Vegas.
"The Miss Rodeo America is the ultimate level in rodeo pageants," Baker said.
The Miss Rodeo America pageant is held in conjunction with the PRCA Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.