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Senior named Rodeo Queen

Lining up for the final wave to the judges, Kathleen von Oehsen, ’04, sat nervously on the back of her horse. Even after her name boomed through the arena’s loud speakers, it did not occur to her until later that she was the Rodeo Queen of Coarsegold.

“My mom cried and my dad was happy that I got free stuff,” von Oehsen said. “I was really happy that I had won. I was surprised though because I thought another girl from Coarsegold would win.”

Winning the runner-up title in her first year of the Rodeo Queen competition in 2003 opened von Oehsen’s eyes to a new aspect of horseback riding.

“It was never really a goal or dream of mine,” von Oehsen said. “I had tried dancing, ballet, tap and modeling, but riding clicked. Then, I started barrel racing and reining.”

From modeling to years of horseback riding practice, von Oehsen has become an accomplished horsewoman, and others have noticed.

“I have been riding with her for about six years and she is so amazing,” Tara Thompson, ’04, said. “She knows the exact motions and has the etiquette style that is needed to make a queen.”

While she was still sitting in the saddle, von Oehsen was unable to express her joy, so others present took the liberty.

“Kathleen is an amazing girl and a great rider,” Thompson said. “When they announced that Kathleen was the winner, it was so exciting. I jumped and screamed. She did such a great job and I’m very happy for her. She definitely deserved the title of rodeo queen.”

Even though the title of Rodeo Queen comes with wearing a sash stating that fact, von Oehsen believes there is more to bearing the name of queen than that.

“I think the Rodeo Queen is someone who represents the sport of Rodeo,” von Oehsen said. “You have to look queenly while riding and always be smiling. You are a mascot representing Coarsegold.”

Rodeo Queen competitions are based on many different elements, including horsemanship, appearance, equitation, personality and even the final wave to the judges.

“Winning Rodeo Queen was a huge honor because of all the elements involved,” von Oehsen said. “I won the competitions for equitation, horsemanship, appearance, wave, reining and I had to sell 500 raffle tickets.”

Von Oehsen has traveled all over California competing in horseback riding events.

“I started doing high school rodeo my junior year,” von Oehsen said. “Before, I strictly did barrel racing. I won buckle barrel racing, a halter, trophies and ribbons.”

After wining a non-professional rodeo at Coarsegold, von Oehsen plans to compete next at the state rodeo against other non-pro queens.

“After winning at Coarsegold, I’m kind of forced to continue participating in rodeo,” von Oehsen said. “My mom and trainer think I should go onto state since I won CCPRA. Before I go though, I need to brush up on my personality and speaking abilities.”

Von Oehsen will next be competing at the National High School Rodeo Association competition, May 8, at the Riverdale Rodeo grounds from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. An awards ceremony will follow the competition.

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