Bo Bourasa begins a year as Vale's rodeo queen. (The Enterprise/Carolyn Agrimis)
VALE – Bo Bourasa strides into the Enterprise office on recent Friday morning, her black cowboy hat and sparkling tiara turning the heads of office workers.
As she sits down to chat, the newly crowned Vale 4th of July Rodeo queen explains with a twinkle in her eye that she dreamed of being queen.
“Everyone’s been asking how it’s been to be queen,” she laughed. “It feels great!”
Bourasa, 19, inherited the title from the 2018 queen Kyla Wright on July 7, the final night of this year’s rodeo. Her first official appearance as Vale’s 2019 queen was at the Weiser Valley Roundup in Weiser a week later.
Horses have always been “a huge part” of Bourasa’s life.
“I was riding horses before I could even walk,” she said. As a child Bourasa would ride in the horse shows in Ontario and started competing around the age of seven or eight, she said.
Bourasa’s newest position isn’t her first time serving as rodeo royalty. In 2017, Bourasa was Miss Owyhee County Fair & Rodeo. She said that the role prepared her for being Vale’s rodeo queen.
“When I was a little girl it was always like, ‘I want to be like you,’ ‘I want to be like that someday,’ said Bourasa of the rodeo queen position. “To have kids look up to me means so much to me, I want people to ask questions and ask how my life is going.”
Bourasa was born in Nampa, began school in Ontario, and moved to Vale in the fourth grade. She said that she’s always felt like she was “raised here” and a part of the Vale community.
Giving back to the community is one goal for her year as queen.
“I want to get our name out there,” she said. “I want to advertise the rodeo and I want to represent it well.”
Jaquelle Heid, Vale rodeo queen coordinator, is working with Bourasa to plan out how her year as queen will accomplish those goals.
“We’re going to do a lot of fundraising,” said Heid on the night of Bourasa’s coronation. “We want to do some clinics as far as teaching young girls not only about speech and modeling but horsemanship and how to be a role model and eventually a rodeo queen.”
Heid said that the clinics would help expand the competition for the Vale title.
Bourasa was the only contestant this year. She said that she would also like to see the competition expand.
“I feel like girls don’t hear about us. Our name doesn’t get out very much,” said Bourasa.
Bourasa said some girls were “scared” of the competition or didn’t “think that they could do it” which deterred them from trying out.
“I believe that by doing these clinics it will help girls gain confidence to actually try out for the rodeo and want to be involved in it,” she said.
During this year’s tryout, judges assessed qualities such public speaking, knowledge of current events, and rodeo expertise.
“One of the questions that they asked was, ‘Which sport would you compete in and can you show us?’,” explained Bourasa.
She chose barrel racing and had to demonstrate “right then and there” in the arena, she said.
“It was so fun,” said Bourasa.
This summer, when she’s not representing Vale at various rodeos or roundups around the region, Bourasa will be keeping busy. She works at the Clothes for Does consignment store in Ontario and is a volunteer leader for a local 4-H club – something that she has been involved with for her “whole life.”
In her downtime, Bourasa said that she is “always playing with horses,” whether that means working with her rodeo horse Maui or others her family owns.
This fall, Bourasa will be a sophomore at Eastern Oregon University, studying elementary education.
“I want to make time to come home to make time to be involved with the community,” she said.
“My goal is maybe two or three or more activities with the community a month,” said Bourasa. “Getting involved with the elementary schools or just little things like that, I think that would be fun.”
In addition to representing her hometown in rodeos and giving back to the community, Bourasa is looking forward to spending time with her mom, B.J. Bourasa.
B.J. was rodeo queen in 1990.
“To have already been [queen] and to have her do it is emotional. I’m very proud,” said B.J. on the night of Bo’s coronation. “She’s grown alot, she’s already gotten a lot from it. It’s made her a better person, and she’s worked really hard.”
Bourasa said that she wants people to know that “it is hard work and it takes a lot of time.”
“It’s more about who you are rather than what people see,” she said. “That’s how I want people to see us: as who we are as people and how we interact with others, how we are involved with the community.”
“It’s not all about beauty and big hair and lipstick,” she said.
Carolyn Agrimis: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.