Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court crowns 2020 queen

Pheobe Lai, Staff Reporter

Cora Clift, a 17-year-old junior at Ellensburg High School, was crowned as Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court Queen this year. 

The pageant was completed in two days. The first competition day was on Oct. 19, 2019 at the Ellensburg Rodeo Arena. The second half of the pageant, the Royal Court Coronation Banquet, was held on Jan. 25 at CWU Ballroom. After the completion of the speeches, the 2020 Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court queen and princesses were crowned.

Cora Clift

Riel Hanson

Clift is very grateful for winning this year. According to Clift, she has been working towards competing in rodeo over 10 years by volunteering with the Ellensburg Rodeo. Her family also has a strong connection with the Ellensburg Rodeo.

“My father is on the rodeo board, and my mother is in the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, so it’s been in my life forever,” Clift said. “I’m really just excited to share with Clara and Abbey and get the Ellensburg Rodeo name out there.”

Clift said she is very honored to be a part of the coronation. She said rodeo is a very welcoming sport and if you are not into it, everybody is willing to bring you in. 

To Clift, rodeo is very important in her life since she has been riding horses since a very young age.

“I’ve grown up doing it my whole life. I started riding horses when I was three days old,” Clift said. “That was just something I’ve grown up to, and it’s really a cool opportunity to show other people how different rodeo and different events all work if they don’t know how it is.”

Clift also mentioned, as rodeo queen,  she will participate in more parades, other coronations,   meet and greets and a lot of autograph signings. 

“We are another marketing tool to help get our rodeo’s name out there,” Clift said. “Wherever we can go to get the Ellensburg rodeo name out, that is where we are going.” 

Clara Van Orman

Another nominee, Van Orman, was up for rodeo queen and is a senior student majoring in nursing at Washington State University.

Van Orman said she grew up watching rodeo and that it’s been a family tradition for as long as she can remember. 

To Van Orman, being a part of rodeo is very special. Van Orman said it is an extremely special and honorable decision to be a part of the rodeo to help carry on the legacy of the rodeo. She is looking forward to serving and giving back to the community as a member of the royal court. 

Van Orman mentioned there are many events they will be a part of while on the rodeo royal court. She said they’ll still be at the Ellensburg rodeo and will attend many rodeo parades around the state. She mentioned they will attend the events that help sponsor the Ellensburg Rodeo and events that are very meaningful to their community as well.

Abbey Roberts

The last girl who was up for nomination was Abbey Roberts, a senior student at Ellensburg High School.

Roberts mentioned rodeo is important to her because it’s something she is very passionate about. It’s something she grew up around, and it runs in her blood. She wants to leave a legacy as her other family members have done for her. 

Roberts mentioned she started competing in rodeo when she was 11 years old, and she’s 17 years old now. She said she feels very honored by having the opportunity to be a part of the rodeo.

“I feel very blessed that my family was able to put me in rodeo from a very young age, and I get to compete alongside a lot of my friends and rodeo families,” Roberts said. 

Roberts also mentioned some of the events and parades the girls will be a part of in 2020. 

“We will get to go to some of the elementary schools and talk to the little kids. We will be doing meet and greets with the public and autograph signings,” Roberts said. “We will also get to go to neighboring rodeos and rodeos in Washington state.”

Common Goals

Although they were competing against each other, they will all work towards a common goal, to promote the Ellensburg Rodeo royal court and get the name out to the world.

All three have a common tradition between them. Rodeo is a family legacy to them. They all agreed, joining the Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court is extremely important to them, and they feel honored being a part of the Ellensburg Rodeo.