TONASKET – The Tonasket Commancheros crowned a new queen Saturday (Nov. 14) evening at their annual Rodeo Queen and Sponsor Appreciation dinner.
2015 Queen Sarah Quinlan turned over her crown to Trinity Dejong, stating Dejong would be “meeting a lot of nice people and making a lot of good friends” during her year-long tenure as queen.
Dejong, a junior at Tonasket High School, said she moved to Tonasket in 2012 and immediately got involved in sports, including the Tigers’ softball team. She said she rode her first horse at the age of eight, and has long dreamed of becoming a Rodeo Queen.
“I think it will allow me to put in a lot of time in the community and rodeo. Ever since the age of 16, I thought I would like to represent my community this way,” said Dejong. “Thank you, Sarah, for inspiring me.”
Time in the community will include presiding over both the Tonasket Rodeo and Founders Day events and representing the Commancheros at their Demolition Derby, Tractor Pulls and auctions; as well as traveling around the state with the Omak Stampede Queen and the Methow Valley Rodeo Queen.
“I hope you know what you’ve gotten yourself into,” said commentator Al Parsons of Molsen. “There’s going to be a lot of hitching up the trailer and traveling. I hope you’ve got a dog, because you’re going to need one; or a friend to travel with.”
If Parsons jokingly made the year seem like a long one, Quinlan dispersed those fears.
“It seems like just yesterday I was in Trinity’s shoes,” Quinlan reflected. “I made a lot of good friends and great memories. But I have a little sister now that’s a princess, so I get to stay involved.”
Erin Quinlan is this year’s Okanogan County Junior Rodeo Association (OCJRA) Princess. The junior rodeo queen, Michaela Allen of Okanogan, was also in attendance at the event.
The dinner was held in the Tonasket High School Commons, which had been magically transformed into an elegant setting by decorator Roslyn Ray. Oroville’s Cory Pellegrini played guitar and sang, and dinner was served by Kimberly Gasho and Gina Inlow.
“Let this day be the start of the greatest year in this young lady’s life,” said Parsons as he blessed the food.
An event recently added to the Tonasket Rodeo Grounds’ calendar is Roger Sawyer’s New Year’s Eve Party.
“We used to have a private party at home, but last year we decided to make it a community event, and filled up an ice rink in the arena,” said Mrs. Sawyer. “We had a bonfire and people brought food for a big potluck. Everyone is invited.”
If you haven’t met her by then, be sure and say hello to the new Rodeo Queen.