Cal Poly animal science senior Brittany Voss won the Miss California Rodeo Salinas 2010 competition at the California Rodeo Salinas in mid-July. Voss competed against four other young women from across the state in categories of horsemanship, personality, appearance and scholarship.
Voss is now the ambassador for the rodeo, which is held in Salinas, Calif., and in October she will begin traveling throughout California and Nevada to promote California Rodeo Salinas at several parades, on television and radio, marketing manager of California Rodeo Salinas, Mandy Roth, said.
“Brittany will go to local chambers of commerce and any other events the (California Cowboys Pro Rodeo Association) hosts as a part of the advertising campaign,” Roth said. “Her job is to mix, mingle and promote California rodeo to ultimately sell more tickets and make it more well known.”
For winning, Voss received $2,500 cash scholarship, a saddle blanket, a gold and silver belt buckle, western jewelry and a two horse trailer with her name on it as well as the dates for the 2011 California Rodeo Salinas, contest chairman Laurie LaVelle, said.
“The competition started in 1926 and is a way for girls 18 to 21 to show their horsemanship skills,” LaVelle said. “Brittany is a role model for youth and will represent us this year and next year at other rodeos in the state of California.”
Voss said that she has participated in competitions like this one since she was 15 and has held a title from different rodeos every year.
She ran for the Miss California Rodeo Salinas title last year but did not succeed, so Voss was especially happy to win this year because she is 21 — the maximum competing age.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of rodeo, it’s such an amazing sport,” Voss said. “The best way … to support was to be a rodeo queen and Salinas is a more coveted title and a lot like the Miss Rodeo California contest.”
Voss will be able to compete in the Miss Rodeo California contest after serving her year as the ambassador Miss California Rodeo Salinas, Roth said. The judging and scoring for the Miss California Rodeo Salinas is similar to the Miss Rodeo California, Voss said.
Miss California Rodeo Salinas scoring is broken up as 40 percent for horsemanship, 30 percent for personality, 20 percent for appearance and 10 percent for scholarship. In the horsemanship portion, the contestants brought their own horses to take them through a predetermined coarse, LaVelle said. Contestants then put their saddles on another contestant’s horse and run through the same course with the unfamiliar horse.
“This looks at how well-rounded they are at riding their own horse and another horse they are not familiar with,” LaVelle said.
Voss said she was most confident about the horsemanship and that her personal strongest point is the riding.
“No matter what happened I’d be able to show my colors in that particular area,” she said. “I had an awesome horse from Paso Robles named Floyd, and I was really lucky to be able to take him to the competition.”
Appearance and personality portions are judged at the same time but with different judges than the ones for horsemanship. This is done so that their wont be a biased if a judge really liked the personality of one girl, LaVelle said.
To judge personality, the five contestants met with the judges individually, then as a group at a dinner and once again in front of an audience answering impromptu questions about themselves, rodeo equipment and current events, Voss said. During all these events judges were evaluating the contestants on appearance as well.
“There is a certain way you present yourself as a rodeo queen,” Voss said. “Hats have to be shaped just right, clothes not only have to look good but fit well, make-up must be appropriate and boots have to match what you are wearing,” she said.
For the scholarship portion contestants took a test similar to the SAT with a proctor who was wasn’t a judge from the other categories. Voss had the best score and she said it’s because she’s been studying for the GRE to get into veterinary school.
“Hopefully that’s a good omen that I’ll do well on the GRE,” she said.
As the ambassador the the California Rodeo Salinas Voss is most excited to travel and go to different rodeos and parades to promote the sport and the California Rodeo Salinas, she said.
“It’s important and special to me,” she said. “I want to be the best spokeswoman I can be. I like going to schools and telling the kids to follow their dreams.”