San Benito Lifestyle

Miss San Benito Rodeo to be crowned June 15

Two contestants vie for year-long honor.

The 2019 Miss San Benito Rodeo Queen will be chosen this weekend as two contestants, Madeline Clarkson and Bonnie Mansmith, vie for the honor of representing the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo.

The contest will begin at 10 a.m. on June 15 at the Bolado Park Event Center, located at 9000 Airline Highway in Tres Pinos.

The public is invited to attend and watch the contestants compete for the judges. Contestants will answer a series of questions on their knowledge of horsemanship, tack and equipment. They will also be expected to demonstrate their understanding of the vaquero tradition of horse training. After the morning session, horsemanship will be judged in the arena.

The duties of Miss San Benito Rodeo include attendance at the annual Membership Barbecue, the Hollister Downtown Parade, the Grand Entry Parade at the Saddle Horse Show, the Rodeo Family Barbecue and the annual dinner. The winner will also represent the association throughout the year at events including the California Rodeo in Salinas, local community functions, the San Benito County Fair and the Junior Rodeo.

The 2019 Miss San Benito Rodeo will be officially introduced at the Hollister Concert at Guerra Winery on June 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The 86th Annual Rodeo will be held at Bolado Park in Tres Pinos on June 28-30. Several horse show-related events are scheduled throughout the week.

Rodeo queen contestants are judged as follows:

  • Horsemanship (40%)
  • Communication Skills (20%)
  • Appearance & Poise (15%)
  • Presentation (15%)
  • Scholarship (10%)

Meet the 2019 contestants:

Madeline Clarkson—I began riding at age 12 and rode English. After two years of English riding, I began riding western and found my passion. Over the years, I have competed in many rodeos, but the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo is my favorite. My favorite events are team roping and San Benito Toss. I enjoy working my horse riding in barrel races and competing in CGA events, where I have won multiple highpoint awards. I have also competed in the local San Benito County Junior Rodeo and Santa Cruz Saddle Lites Show.

I have participated in 4-H since the age of 12, and am a current member of the Fairview 4-H, where I am club president. During my time with 4-H, I have shown beef and dairy cattle at many fairs, including the San Benito County Fair. At the Monterey County Fair, I won the 4-H advanced beef showmanship class. I have also helped train service dogs for Cali Pals dog training for the past five years. I am currently attending my first year at West Valley College where I am a part of the orthopedic technician program. In my spare time I enjoy working on our cattle ranch, going on vacation, hiking, surfing and spending time on our houseboat. I also enjoy playing the piano and reading.

Bonnie Mansmith—I have grown up riding horses and have competed in the Saddle Horse Show from the Lead Line class to now the Lady’s Western Horsemanship class. Over these years, I have won many different awards. All of this has meant so much to me because I know what a great honor the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo is in my hometown.

My special interests include being on the Varsity High School Cheer Squad as team captain. I have participated in 4-H for 12 years, during which I completed the Emerald Star project and 4-H All Star. I have also been very active in Future Farmers of America, where I have received the green hand, chapter and state degrees. During my time with 4-H and FFA I have shown livestock. Other organizations I have participated in are the Circle of Friends and Rally Club. I have enjoyed these organizations and learned a lot while being able to give back to my community.


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Blaire Strohn

Blaire Strohn was a popular and vivacious reporter for BenitoLink. Blaire passed away Sept. 25, 2019 after doing her best for years to heroically ignore the limitations of Cystic Fibrosis. Despite these challenges, she was a graduate student at Oklahoma State University focusing on International Agriculture. Blaire also graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Communications. Born and raised on a cow/calf operation ranch in Paicines, Blaire was passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.