A Wasatch County girl is the first Utahn to be crowned the National Rodeo Queen in over a decade.
Midway resident McKardy Kelly was crowned the National High School Rodeo Queen at the National Rodeo in Rock Springs Wyoming on Saturday. Representing the state of Utah, the 16-year old was crowned over 41 other contestants from other states in the US, Canadian provinces, Mexico and Australia. McKardy said being crowned National Rodeo Queen was a lifelong goal.
“It’s been a dream for forever,” McKardy explained. “When I was a little girl, I wanted to compete in rodeo queen contests. The very first contest I competed in was the Mountain Valley Stampede Rodeo when I was about 10 years old. So, I’ve always wanted to be the national high school rodeo queen and represent this amazing association. Even before I even started queening my mom was a rodeo queen, my grandma was a rodeo queen and my family are rodeo announcers, so it runs deep in my blood to rodeo.”
The competition included several categories including personal interviews, speech, modeling, on stage impromptu questions, and of course horsemanship.
“I ride an 11-year-old gelding named Gee Whiz,” McKardy continued. “He has a super spunky personality, but he’s very good at what he does, and he loves it. He’s spoiled rotten. I love him so much and he did great at Nationals this year and was able to win the horsemanship category. I couldn’t do it without him.”
The day after being crowned McKardy was welcomed home to Midway with a parade.
“It was so cool,” McKardy said. “My whole community got together to do this parade. My friends and my family were there, I’m really grateful for my whole family for being there. My heart was so full, and it was so amazing to just see everybody rally around me. I’m truly blessed to live where I live.”
She says although rodeoing takes up a lot of her time McKardy also enjoys spending time with her family in the outdoors.
“I show pigs in the County Fair every year as well as my brothers do too,” McKardy continued. “I love spending time in the Utah mountains and all the many lakes we have. I love to go out and paddleboard and crawdad fish. Spend time outside and spend time with my family they mean a lot to me. Rodeo queening and rodeo takes up a lot of my time, so that that’s my main focus.”
McKardy also competes in barrel racing on the high school circuit. She hopes to qualify for nationals in that event in the coming year.
Up next for McKardy is going to rodeos around Utah. Later in the year she’ll go to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and the American Rodeo in Texas.
“There’s so many people that got me to where I am, and I’m truly blessed to have those people in my life,” McKardy said. “I’m grateful for everybody that came out on Sunday. It was an experience that I will never forget, and it was really heartwarming to see all of them there. And for the National High School Rodeo Association for letting me have this experience. I’m excited to represent this amazing association and for the qualities that it gives the upcoming youth.”
Read the original story at KPCW.org