Kyla Wright is preparing to turn over the crown to a new queen in Vale.

VALE – For Kyla Wright, 2017 Vale 4th of July Rodeo queen, memories of her reign will linger long after she hands over her tiara.

Those memories run the spectrum from big crowds stacked into bleachers at rodeos across the region to meeting new people. 

Yet two memories in particular still resonate for the 17-year-old Vale High School student.

One memory is a patriotic one. During several Vale High School football games last fall, Wright carried the American flag during the national anthem.

“It is a huge moment,” said Wright.

Then there are the memories of the children.

Wright said one of her favorite activities as queen was visiting local elementary schools and reading and talking with the students.

“The reaction of little kids when they see you - they get so excited. I like the kids. They are fun,” said Wright.

Wright said she wanted to be a rodeo queen since she was a child.

“My dad rodeoed and I always wanted to represent my home town,” said Wright.

But why become a rodeo queen?

Wright said it is a good question with a simple answer.

“It is a great way to meet new people. I have had experiences I would never had had if I didn’t do this,” said Wright.

Her experience as queen also assisted her in another way.

“It really helps with your communication and interacting with other people. You have to figure out what to do and what to ask people,” said Wright.

She said learning how to network not only helps her now but will pay off in the future.

“It is a quality I will need later in life. There is just a lot of communication, communication with the schools, with my queen coordinator and the rodeo board,” said Wright. 

And it is a busy gig, said Wright. 

As the queen representing Vale’s 4th of July Rodeo, Wright is expected to attend rodeos around the area -- “about 10 that I am required to go to. And I could pick and choose any other ones I wanted to go to.” 

Wright attended rodeos in Idaho and Harney and Baker counties. She also participated in the Snake River Stampede, the Malheur and Payette county fair and rodeos, the Idaho Cowboys Association Rodeo in Caldwell and the Jordan Valley Big Loop. 

“Along with the rodeos I attended the parade at the Owyhee County Fair and the Winter Wonderland Parade,” said Wright.

Wright represented Vale at the Nyssa Nite Rodeo as well.

Wright said becoming the Vale 4th of July Rodeo queen isn’t as simple as filling out an application. 

Each contestant must compete before a panel of three community members that serve as judges. Last year, Wright said she competed against eight others.

“There are speeches, questions and horsemanship and they grade you on all of that,” said Wright.

Wright said the speeches were delivered by each contestant at the rodeo luncheon. 

“I gave mine on my dad, Lee, on what a hero he is to me,” said Wright.

At the end of the competition the individual with the highest number of points is selected.

During the 2018 edition of the Vale Fourth of July Rodeo Wright said she would help with the queen competition.

“I will introduce everyone at the (rodeo) banquet July 2 at Wadleigh Park. I will also introduce the queen and during the rodeo I will help with calf roping,” said Wright.

She will also be the flag bearer during the anthem each night at the rodeo.

Wright said her time as queen has been everything she hoped it would be.

“It’s been a great opportunity,” said Wright. 

Reporter Pat Caldwell – [email protected], 541-473-3377.