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Linda McElroy: 1971 Vale rodeo queen’s life 50 years after coronation

Linda McElroy, cattle rancher and 1971 Vale rodeo queen. (Austin Johnson/ The Enterprise)

VALE - Linda McElroy drank iced tea as she sat in Perk, occasionally waving to friends coming in and out of the coffee shop in the community she has known most of her life.

Decades have passed since she was crowned Vale rodeo queen, but with a working ranch to run and grandkids to mentor, it would be a mistake to suggest she’s slowed down in the slightest.

“It’s hard for me to believe it’s been 50 years,” McElroy said.

The date at the top of the Enterprise archival print of June 16, 1971, confirms it: “Linda Basey named rodeo queen.” She was 19, and the newspaper included photographs of her at the ceremony.

“My grandkids thought they were cool . . .