Cauhape wins Rodeo Queen title
With a smile and her arm raised in victory, Valerie Cauhape, 20, made her “queen lap” at the Sponsors’ Team Penning Friday evening, after she was crowned this year’s Miss Truckee Rodeo.
“It was such a thrill; there is nothing like it,” she said.
The pageant Aug.3 went smoother that she originally thought, she said, although she was concerned that the interview didn’t go well.
“The other competitors had all done a really good job, and throughout the competition, I felt that it was pretty much anybody’s game,” she said.
But in the end, Cauhape swept the awards for congeniality, personality and appearance, and most photogenic. Another participant, Marika Curtin, won the remaining award for horsemanship. Cauhape’s prizes were a queen belt buckle, a crown that she will pass on to next year’s Queen, and jewelry for each award she won.
In the weeks prior to the crowning, the contestants participated in meetings, rodeo ticket sales and other activities. During the pageant, they rode a pattern on their horses and were interviewed. Judging was based on things like how helpful they were, their attitudes, how they presented themselves, their horsemanship skills, knowledge of the rodeo and their general awareness of current events.
Carol Pauli, the Queen coordinator and co-chair of the rodeo, chose the judges based on their experienced in many different types of equine skills. A qualified judge and highway patrolman in Nevada, a woman who has competed in several pageants, and a roper were among those who selected the Queen this year. Pauli and another woman observed the girls before the pageant and gave input as well.
“Each one of those girls was just adorable in their own special way, and [Cauhape] was the one who stood out,” Pauli said.
It impressed her when Cauhape showed up for a meeting she was told was at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, when it was really at 11 a.m. Instead of complaining, she offered to help with other things. It was this willingness to participate that distinguished her as the Queen, said Pauli.
“She has the most charming personality, she is extremely helpful…and she has a certain grace about her,” she said. “She’s just a beautiful young lady, inside and out.”
Cauhape graduated from Truckee high school in 2001 and is now attending school at Chico State. With a major in Exercise Physiology and minors in Sociology and Chemistry, she is thinking of becoming a physical therapist. She has competed in Hunter and Jumper for three or four years and then began with Dressage when she was a freshman in high school. The Miss Truckee Rodeo Pageant was the first time Cauhape has participated in the rodeo.
“Seeing the inside of the sport of the rodeo, it showed me how fascinated everything really is, and I think it’s something that I want to keep up with,” she said.
Cauhape and Pauli will be meeting soon to determine her schedule for the upcoming weeks. She plans to make appearances at and help out with other rodeos.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.