The seven competitors at the Rodeo Royalty contest pose with the outgoing Rodeo Queen, Jordan Harvan, during the horsemanship phase of the competition held August 13. Contributed photo

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, The Sonoita Rodeo Royalty contest was held on August 13 at the Sonoita Fairgrounds. The Royalty contest is held to select three girls to represent the Sonoita Rodeo at rodeos and events across Arizona. The Queen, Princess, and Little Miss are ambassadors to the sport of rodeo, representing the Sonoita Rodeo and this community.

After a full day of competition, Kennedi Stinson, a high school senior from Sierra Vista, was crowned Rodeo Queen, Dakota Hardy, of Vail, was named Rodeo Princess, and Bentley Ann Brunelle, of Marana, was named Little Miss. The horsemanship award was won by Tru Hall. Isabella Nordling won the personality award.

Seven contestants competed in horsemanship in the morning, completed a written test based on their rodeo and horse knowledge, and took part in a private interview. The day concluded with an evening session where the girls each gave a speech, modeled, and answered questions. Each section of the competition was graded.

“It was a great competition, and each contestant did an extraordinary job.  They are all amazing young ladies and each deserving of the crown. I look forward to seeing them all at future competitions,” Royalty coordinator Rachella Westbrook said. “I’m excited about the upcoming year with our new Royalty who have already hit the ground running being exceptional representatives of the Sonoita Rodeo.”

The Sonoita Rodeo Royalty will be on hand at the 107th Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo this weekend, Sept. 3 -5 at the Sonoita Fairgrounds. The Junior Rodeo will start at 12p.m. each day, followed by the pro rodeo at 2p.m. There will be a steak fry and dance, with live music, on Saturday and Sunday evening.