Miss San Benito Rodeo to be Crowned on Saturday

Two contestants will compete to become Miss San Benito Rodeo 2018 on June 9.
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A new Miss San Benito Rodeo will be chosen this weekend as two contestants, Madeline Clarkson and Kelsee French, vie for the honor of representing the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo. 

The contest will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 9 at the Bolado Park Event Center, 9000 Airline Highway in Tres Pinos.

The public is invited to attend and watch the contestants as they compete for the judges. Contestants will answer a series of questions, quizzing them on their knowledge of horsemanship, tack, and equipment. They will be expected to understand the early vaquero tradition of horse training. After the morning judging, horsemanship will be judged in the arena.

Miss San Benito Rodeo will be officially introduced at the County Tribute Concert on Saturday, June 16 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The 85th Annual Rodeo wil be held at Bolado Park in Tres Pinos from June 22-24. There will be several events throughout the week related to the Horse Show and Rodeo. More information is available on their website

The Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo queen contestants are judged as follows:

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

Meet the 2018 contestants: 

Madeline Clarkson: I started 4-H at the age of 12 and I am currently an active member of Fairview 4-H where I am vice president of my club. Through 4-H I show both beef and dairy cattle at many fairs including our very own San Benito County Fair. My dairy cow won Supreme Dairy Cow two years in a row and I won advanced beef showmanship in 2017 as well. When I’m not working with my cattle I am helping train service dogs for Cali Pals dog training and have been for the past four years. I am part of the graduating class of 2018 at Ocean Grove Charter School. When I’m not at school or spending time with my animals, I enjoy spending time working on our cattle ranch, going on vacation, hiking, surfing, and spending time on our house boat. I also enjoy reading and drawing. At the age of 12 I began riding horses with an English trainer. After two years I began riding western and found my passion. Over the years I have been to many rodeos and I loved watching all the events. I have gone to the Grand National Rodeo three years in a row as well as going to NFR to see the finalist compete for the championship title. The San Benito Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo is one of my favorites because it is local people from our county. I have been to our hometown rodeo every year since I moved to Hollister. Outside of rodeo I enjoy working with my horse and going to barrel races as well as competing in CGA where I have won highpoint award at multiple shows. I have also competed at the San Benito County Junior Rodeo and the Santa Cruz County Saddle Lites show. When I am not competing, I enjoy going to my family cattle ranch with my dad and herding cattle.

Kelsee French: Hi, my name is Kelsee French. I am 18 years old and live in Hollister, Ca. In my free time, I spend time with my friends and family, playing with my dogs, and going to the gym. Being the healthiest and happiest I can be is a goal I strive to achieve everyday. I plan to attend Gavilan College to further my education to become a Physical Education teacher. In the arena, I love competing in various rodeos and barrel races across the Central Coast, and have recently fallen in love with the Reining Cow Horse World. Two major riding goals of mine are to qualify and compete at the WCBRA finals and the NRCHA Non-Pro finals. One of my favorite things at the San Benito County Horse Show and Rodeo is every year seeing the generations come together and have a great time.

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 PR dinner.

The winner will also represent the association throughout the year at such events as the California Rodeo in Salinas, local community functions, the San Benito County Fair, and the Junior Rodeo. 

The first Queen Contest for the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo was in 1939. It was then that Jean Medeiros was crowned Queen. The contest was interrupted during Work War II, and began again in 1991 when Saddle Horse and Rodeo President George Callens reintroduced the tradition. 

According the association's website, the competition, "…gave the girls of the county a way to show off their horsemanship and personality." 


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Blaire Strohn is 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, she is passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.