Queen Rosie Rogers
Rosie’s family moved to Ouray County from Telluride when she was eight months old. She has been riding horses since the age of four and is now 17 and entering her senior year of high school in Ridgway. This year she will ride two horses in the rodeo, Sparky and Pistol. Rosie rides horses a minimum of three or four times a week and says the biggest challenge of being in rodeo royalty is the balancing act she must play between school, volleyball practice, 4-H, babysitting, work, summer homework and attending the rodeo practices that take place three times a week. Rosie has participated in the Ouray County Rodeo Royalty for five years; she was a princess for two years, queen attendant for two years and this year she will wear the queen’s crown. The biggest challenge for Rosie, which is common with many young riders, was moving past her fear of horses after she fell off at the age of eight and suffered a concussion. Now, she loves the species because of the companionship that can be developed between humans and equines. “You can get such a close relationship with horses, they actually know you. Horses become more than a pet because they are your friend,” said Rosie.
Queen’s Attendant Ashlynn Killip
Ashlynn began riding horses at the age of four and is now 15 and home-schooled. She lives in Olathe and participates in Ouray County 4-H because her father was raised in the area. Ashlynn said her family has “every kind of animal but turkeys and alpaca” on their farm. In 4-H, she has raised goats, swine and steers and has shown horses. This year she will ride a horse named Sam, whom she trained herself and rides every day. “Right now, horses are my entire life, I just love everything about them,” she said. Ashlynn has competed for rodeo royalty twice before and this is her first year to receive the honor. The biggest challenge she has overcome as a horsewoman was training Sam. “It was really hard, but he turned out to be a great horse,” she said.
Princess Skylar Smith
Skylar, who is 12 years old, did not like riding horses as a small child; she began taking lessons at the age of seven but began to enjoy riding at the age of nine. This year she will ride a horse named Skunk in the rodeo and will ride Bo as a show horse in 4-H. Between the two horses she rides five days a week, some of the time is spent going to Grand Junction, where Bo is boarded with a trainer. Skylar’s family has had a ranch in Ridgway since she was four years old; they moved here year-round from Telluride two years ago. In past years she has raised swine and steers, and shown dogs and horses in 4-H. Skylar likes knowing the personalities of horses and watching as their moods change from day to day.
Princess Attendant Darshawn Flowers
Darshawn is 12 years old and has been riding horses her entire life. This year she will be riding Spoof, a horse she has trained to be in the rodeo. Training Spoof from a typical ranch horse into “royalty” has been the biggest challenge for Darshawn as a horsewoman. She rides three or four days a week and this is her third year competing in rodeo. Darshawn’s family has ranched in Ouray County for three generations. In 4-H, she raises swine and shows her horse. On her family's property are cattle, horses, pigs, dogs, cats and a llama. Darshawn plans to compete in barrel racing when she is older and gets a younger horse. She attends Colorado West Christian School in Montrose. Darshawn loves talking to her horse and the connection they have. “He is my best friend,” she said.