Taylar Carter | PR Committee Volunteer
If the Cheyenne Frontier Days™ arrowhead and brand aren’t enough, then the widely known organization can be recognized by the two ladies who represent it. Miss Frontier, Jonna Brown, and her Lady-In-Waiting, Rylee Anderson, are the faces of the 2016 Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Western Celebration. These queens travel year round to represent not only the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, but also Cheyenne, Wyo.
Cat Casquarelli, Public Relations committee volunteer and mother of 2016’s Miss Frontier, has been in charge of hosting visiting royalty for the past three years. As the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration, you can only imagine the rodeo queens from around the world who want to come experience it, and we are happy to provide them with a great experience.
In the past, 25-28 queens were the most CFD had hosted. This year there’s a new record high with 39 visiting queens, three of whom are from Australia. Of the 50 states, there are only a few who have a representing queen who is unable to attend in 2016.
Casquarelli described the process, “We have a lot of host homes that have been doing this for years, and it’s a great program. We send them out a letter every year asking if they’re still interested. Once we get the girls’ applications in and find out what dates that they’re coming, we start matching them with host homes, and it’s really their highlight. They look forward to having the girls here every year. They’ll decorate their rooms, or maybe put them in a room that has CFD posters in it. The girls really appreciate that they’re able to do that because they travel out here with their own money.”
Arlene Kensinger started the program many years ago, and she and Esther Moore made it what it is now. One thing that has been a recent, primary focus of the program is crowd interaction. Fans go wild when they see rodeo royalty, especially if it is a queen from their own state. The royalty visiting Cheyenne Frontier Days™ are involved in giveaways during the rodeo. They throw out parachutes with coupons or t-shirts on them. They hide up in the crow’s nest and drop them down into the crowd. This is a neat experience for those who get to watch and participate.
If there is one thing the queens anticipate while they are here, it’s their flybys after the Grand Entry. They love that they get to be a part of our rodeo and be in the Cheyenne Frontier Days™ arena. Volunteers let the girls borrow their horses so they are able make these flybys happen. It is such a privilege and something they always look forward to.
Aside from rodeo interaction with visitors, they do so much more. They spread sponsor’s names by participating in giveaways; and they attend all the pancake breakfasts, the Thunderbirds air show, and all the parades on horseback. They do autographs after the rodeo, and meet with sponsors from their state. They visit all of the sponsor booths and have lunch at the sponsor tent. They go to Cowgirls of the West and model in a fashion show. These queens are busy throughout their time here.
Rodeo queens are a great way to spread the word to those who are less familiar with Cheyenne Frontier Days™. “They come here and not only do they represent their state, but they come here and they see what we do, and have such a great time here. Then they go back to their states and they’re actually advertising for us. It’s a win-win for everybody involved,” Casquarelli said.
Two big names you can expect to see are Miss Rodeo Wyoming and Miss Rodeo America. Miss Rodeo Wyoming, Nicki Seckman, was formerly Miss Cody Stampede of Cody, Wyo. Seckman will be in attendance July 22-28. Miss Rodeo America, Katherine Merck, formerly Miss Rodeo Washington, will be in attendance for the whole week, except the last weekend. This will be Merck’s fourth year at CFD, and we are excited to have her for such a great length of time. The longest a Miss Rodeo America has previously spent at Cheyenne Frontier Days™ was three days.
In an interview Casquarelli was asked which queen she was most excited about. She pointed and smiled at Miss Frontier, who was sitting right next to her at the time. Miss Frontier, Jonna Brown, just so happens to be Cat’s daughter. Casquarelli is extremely proud of Jonna and has decided to focus primarily on her, as she finishes her Miss Frontier year. Casquarelli has a great group of volunteers helping with queens, including her daughter and Jonna’s twin sister, Gracie Brown. Gracie is stepping up to assist with royalty coordinator duties for 2016.
Casquarelli expressed she was extremely excited for Merck to be here for a fourth year, and that she will be here for her birthday. “I am really excited about that and that she is choosing to stay as long as possible. That just shows what a great program we have for these queens,” Cat said.
Casquarelli recently had a queen call and ask if it was too late to come to CFD. Of course, Casquarelli said no and added one more to the list of visiting queens. “I am excited for all of them to be here, and for all of them to have a wonderful time. I always look forward to Rodeo America because we got to have her the year before, representing her state.”
We want to offer a big welcome to all of the royalty who will be making their way to the 2016 Daddy of ‘Em All®. Make sure you catch one of them for an autograph and a picture!