Dixie Roundup Rodeo season kicks off with coronation of royal beauties

ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Sunbowl bloomed with beauty Thursday as contestants dressed in sequined western wear and cowgirl hats waited to find out who would be the lucky girl chosen to be the next Dixie Roundup rodeo queen and princess – as one reign ends, another begins.

McKinley Drake and McKayla Jimmerson at St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Queen and Princess Contest, Dixie Sunbowl, 150 South 400 East St. George, Utah, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
L-R: Dixie Roundup Rodeo Princess 2015, McKinley Drake; Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen 2016, McKayla Jimmerson. St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen and Princess Contest, Dixie Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The “82nd annual St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen and Princess Contest” culminated in ceremony Thursday evening when the reigning queen and princess passed their crowns to their successors, bringing in a new court for 2016.

This year’s pageant included five contestants. The queen category had two competitors while three girls vied for the title of princess.

The reigning queen from 2015, Sara Kemp, relinquished her crown to McKayla Jimmerson, who took the title of queen, as well as awards for speech, horsemanship, modeling, testing, and appearance in the queen category.

The reigning princess from 2015, McKinley Drake, passed her tiara to Ashton Anderson, who won the princess crown. Anderson was also awarded for appearance, interview, horsemanship and testing.

Competitors for queen also included Courtney Payne, who was named first runner-up to queen for the second year in a row, and was awarded in the interview and photogenic categories.

Competitors for princess also included Cierra Christensen and Aubrey Schaffer. Schaffer was named first runner-up to princess and Miss Congeniality – a title Christensen held in 2015.

Dixie Roundup royalty is about more than beauty. These girls work hard all year to participate and even harder if they are crowned. The queen and princess travel throughout Utah attending community events and making appearances while at the same time representing the St. George Lions Club.

This competition teaches the girls many skills, said contest Chairman Tara Coughlin, who’s been involved with the competition for seven years.  It also gives the girls an opportunity to be involved and to be a role model for other kids, she said.

L - R: Courtney Payne, McKayla Jimmerson, Ashton Anderson, Cierra Christensen, and Aubrey Schaffer, 2016 St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen and Princess Contest, Dixie Sunbowl, 150 South 400 East St. George, Utah, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
L-R: First runner-up to queen 2016 Courtney Payne, 2016 Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen McKayla Jimmerson; 2016 Dixie Roundup Rodeo Princess Ashton Anderson, competitor and 2015 Miss Congeniality Cierra Christensen, 1st runner-up to princess and Miss Congeniality 2016 Aubrey Schaffer. St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo royalty coronation at the Dixie Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The queen and princess are awarded scholarships, as well as saddles, equipment, tiaras and other prizes.

For 2016 Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen McKayla Jimmerson, it’s the sport of the event and the opportunities for community service that fuel her passion to participate.

“I’m looking forward to representing the most amazing sport on dirt,” she said, “and I enjoy supporting my community and the Lions Club.”

Newly crowned Dixie Roundup Rodeo Princess Ashton Anderson said, “I love the rodeo and the Dixie Roundup is special – it’s the place where I decided I was going to be a rodeo queen.”

Anderson’s been preparing for the moment of being crowned Dixie Roundup Rodeo princess, she said, actually for her entire life.

“Im really looking forward to inspiring little girls to follow their dreams,” she said.

Jimmerson and Anderson will show off their rodeo skills at the 82nd annual Dixie Roundup Sept. 15, 16 and 17.

The queen title is open to ladies between the ages of 17 and 24; princesses must be between 14 and 16.

In St. George, during the early days of the Great Depression, local cowboys held impromptu rodeos behind the Tabernacle. Using wagons and trucks to form a makeshift arena, competitors roped and wrangled for spectators. The newly-formed Lions Club decided to support the popular pastime by holding an official competition.

While many of the traditions surrounding the event have changed, the heart of the three-day celebration remains. The Dixie Roundup is a point of pride for the Lions Club, and the long held tradition of the Dixie Round Up Rodeo Queen and Princess Contest is part of that rich history.

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • .... May 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Just to help out the RealMcBoy. this is about the women getting votes. not about the horses and sheep

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