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First and foremost cowgirls

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | November 17, 2022 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — Annabelle Booth said she was a great deal more confident going into this year’s Miss Moses Lake Roundup competition than she was in 2021.

“I ran flags for the Moses Lake Roundup and this is my second year running for Miss Moses Lake Roundup queen,” said Booth, 23, before the roundup’s annual queen pageant on Saturday. “I’m definitely more prepared than I was last year, and I knew exactly what to expect.”

Booth, who was Miss Last Stand Coulee City Rodeo in 2019, was one of four contestants — along with Milie Cobb, 19, of Ephrata; Jenna Penrose, 20, of Moses Lake; and Alexis Shoults, 19, of East Wenatchee — vying to wear the crown of Miss Moses Lake Roundup 2023. The four young women spent the day riding patterns on their own and other contestants’ horses, giving speeches, being interviewed by judges and answering questions about their favorite part of the Moses Lake Roundup and what they would do if they were thrown from a horse during a rodeo.

“I’d get back up and say ‘rodeo on!’” Booth told pageant emcee Emma Gunderson, herself a former Miss Moses Lake Roundup in 2017.

It paid off for Booth this year, who will wear the crown, the sash and the belt buckle of Miss Moses Lake Roundup 2023. Shoults was named first runner up and received the pageant’s horsemanship award, while Cobb was named second runner up and Penrose received the rodeo’s congeniality award.

“It feels very surreal at the moment,” Booth said following the pageant. “I’ve been working for this for a long time. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Booth will commence her official duties as Miss Moses Lake Roundup on Jan. 1, 2023, at the Coulee City Last Chance Rodeo banquet on New Year’s Eve along with current Roundup Queen Brianna Kin Kade. There Booth will kick off a full year of fundraisers, banquets and rodeos as the official representative and ambassador of the Columbia Basin Rodeo Association.

“I’ve traveled statewide and I’ve also traveled to Idaho to a few rodeos and events,” Kin Kade said. “My job is to represent the Columbia Basin Rodeo Association and the Moses Lake Roundup and bring people to our community and to show people the Western way of life in rodeo.”

Kin Kade added that when she doffs the sash as Miss Moses Lake Roundup, she’s going to spend some time preparing to compete next year in the Miss Rodeo Washington competition.

“It’s a higher level of competing,” she said. “You not only have to study rodeo knowledge and veterinary terms for horses, cattle and everything in between, but you have to study politics, current world problems, you have to know all of your tack, you have to competitors, cowboys, cowgirls, world standings, rules.”

“Everything that has to do with rodeo in the world as a whole is something you have to have knowledge on,” she added.

It’s a lot of work, Kin Kade explained, but it can pay off hugely if you win.

Audrey Ramsden, one of this year’s judges and herself a former Miss Moses Lake Roundup, said while horsemanship is a huge part of being a rodeo queen, being a confident public speaker, representative and even salesperson is a significant part of the job as well. In fact, Marsden said, the pageant prepared her for her current job as a lobbyist for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America in Denver by giving her the ability and confidence to get out, meet people and attempt to convince them of something important.

“When you’re out there talking to folks and, you know, grabbing a senator in the hallway to talk about your issues or whatever you’re trying to advocate on, it’s helped me in my career, in public speaking, in research, all of it,” she said.

Booth said one of the things she wants to do as rodeo queen is get the rodeo more involved in the actual Grant County Fair.

“A lot of the kids that we talk to and see are 4-Hers,” she said. “And the rodeo is not really a part of the fair. So, that’s my big step, I want to build that bridge and just get over there and help those kids and be there for them and be a role model.”

It was a sentiment echoed by each of the queen contestants, the desire to be the person in the ring the children attending could look up to.

“Being a role model for the younger generation,” said Cobb, who grew up on a cattle ranch near Ephrata and wants to teach agriculture. “They’ve always been a big impact on my life, and I want to be that impact for younger generations.”

Current Miss Rodeo Washington Lexi Hibbs — who will be competing in the Miss Rodeo America pageant in Las Vegas in late November — reminded everyone attending the Saturday pageant that while all of the knowledge, speech-making, question-answering, role-modeling and congeniality were important, there’s only one real reason young women vie to become rodeo queens.

“We are first and foremost cowgirls,” she said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup contestants Annabelle Booth (left) and Alexis Shoults talk as they prepare to compete during the pageant’s horsemanship round on Saturday morning.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup contestant Alexis Shoults prepares to unbuckle her horse’s bridle and speak with the judges as part of the pageant’s horsemanship competition on Saturday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Outgoing Miss Moses Lake Roundup Brianna Kin Kaid crowns Annabelle Booth as Miss Moses Lake Roundup for 2023.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup contestant Milie Cobb demonstrates her horsemanship skills on Saturday morning.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup contestant Jenna Penrose buckles her horse’s bridle following a series of questions from pageant judges.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup 2023 Annabelle Booth during the horsemanship portion of the rodeo’s pageant on Saturday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Annabelle Booth (left) and Jenna Penrose (right) ride the rail as part of the Miss Moses Lake Roundup pageant’s horsemanship competition on Saturday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Outgoing Miss Moses Lake Roundup Brianna Kin Kade (left) poses Saturday for a group photo with competitors to succeed her Annabelle Booth, Alexis Shoults, Jenna Penrose and Milie Cobb.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Contestant Jenna Penrose after finishing riding a pattern as part of the horsemanship portion of the Miss Moses Lake Roundup competition on Saturday. Penrose won the pageant’s congeniality award.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Miss Moses Lake Roundup 2023 Annabelle Booth during the horsemanship portion of the pageant on Saturday at the Harwood Pavillion.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Contestant Milie Cobb of Ephrata zips up her coat following a warmup exercise during the horsemanship portion of the Miss Moses Lake Roundup competition on Saturday. Cobb was second runner up.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Outgoing Miss Moses Lake Roundup Brianna Kin Kade (left) and contestant Jenna Penrose sit on the horses and talk outside the Harwood Pavillion at the Grant County Fairgrounds during the horsemanship portion of the Miss Moses Lake Roundup pageant on Saturday.

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