The 50th annual Pioneer Days Rodeo in Clovis, New Mexico, kicked off with a community breakfast Friday, June 3rd, at the Brick Street Warehouse.
The Pioneer Days Rodeo started Thursday night after a two-year hiatus. On Friday morning, the 2020-22 State Fair Queen Deanne Guthrie was on hand along with the rodeo princesses and queens to officially kick things off.
Various celebrities and officials were on hand, and the mood was festive. Ernie Kos, the Executive Director of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, was the emcee and shared the weekend’s excitement with everyone.
She introduced Mayor Mike Morris, highlighted events happening over the weekend, welcomed a few more community leaders to speak, and then introduced Tristyn McDaniel.
Tristyn McDaniel recently completed her second year of law school, and she helped her Mom (owner of Brick Street Warehouse) get breakfast going until Ernie introduced her.
McDaniel is also a former rodeo queen, and as she introduced the new generation of Jr. Princesses and Queens, there was a sense of pride in her voice. Far from being a popularity contest, the Jr. Princesses and Queens must raise funds, learn public speaking, and much more. It was fun to talk to the ladies; the older ones were poised, confident, and excellent public speakers who were proud of their community. The younger ladies looked up to the older ones, and everyone enjoyed meeting before their official duties got underway.
Over the rodeo weekend, the Rodeo Royalty toured the city’s events, each acting as community goodwill ambassadors, and they also rode in the Saturday parade.
In addition to the rodeo queens, former royalty made an appearance at breakfast! Shalei Bennett, former rodeo queen, was joined by her daughter, Landry Bennett, a national barrel racing qualifier.
As the event ended and the royal court prepared to be shuttled around the city to different events, McDaniel took a moment to speak with Lilly Gonzalez, the Little Buckaroo Jr. Princess.
While their conversation was personal, it was apparent McDaniel was sharing wisdom and encouragement from her time as rodeo royalty, and Ms. Gonzalez seemed to appreciate it.
McDaniel and Gonzalez’s moment highlighted what the entire weekend was about: people in Clovis are proud of their community, and the whole community came together to celebrate the return of the rodeo.
Take a look at the videos, and keep your eyes peeled for more about the 50th Annual Pioneer Days Rodeo!