TONASKET – For the third straight year, there was just one candidate for the Tonasket Founders Day Rodeo Queen title.
That didn’t lessen the smile on Sarah Quinlan’s face as she was crowned 2015 Miss Tonasket Rodeo by 2014 Queen Brisa Leep at Saturday’s Tonasket Comancheros Rodeo Club dinner and coronation ceremony.
Quinlan, from Chesaw, said that she had been inspired by past rodeo queens Leep, Karlie Henneman and 2013 Omak Stampede queen Breanna Howell.
“Since I started 4-H, I’ve known Breanna and Karlie and Brisa,” she saidl “They’ve been nothing but supportive and encouraged me to try out. I have watched them go through it and knew, yep, I wanted to try that.”
She said she did wish there had been some competition for the title, though, which is open to current or recent Tonasket and Oroville High School students.
“I wanted the experience of the competition,” Quinlan said. “Hopefully if I try for another rodeo queen title next year there will be some.”
Quinlan, the daughter of Lloyd and Michelle Quinlan, is a veteran of local rodeos, but has been working with a new horse.
“I’ve only had her since spring,” she said. “She’s from the Nelson Ranch. Her name is Honey, which is deceiving. We showed all last summer and we’re working things out.
“I’m really looking forward to the Founders Day Rodeo, and going to all the rodeos, getting closer to the other queens. Plus of course learning a little more and connecting more with my horse.”
Leep, in her farewell speech, said she thoroughly enjoyed her reign as queen and was reluctant to give up her crown.
“I had a fantastic time,” Leep said. “It was amazing, more than I expected. I watched three or four of my friends go through queening reigns. It was awesome to watch them go through it. For me to go through it for the first time was fantastic.
“I will definitely miss this. I had a blast… there were a few times I was ready to be done … but I look back and think, can I go for another year? Can I keep the crown? I don’t want to give it back. I had a fantastic year with everything. Thanks again to all the people who helped me, and all the sponsors.”