By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Personality, poise and presentation paid off for one ACU student in the 2006 West Texas Fair and Rodeo Queen Scholarship Pageant.
Lara Klopp, junior animal science and pre-veterinary medicine major from Ramona, Calif., received the honor after winning the speech, personality and appearance categories in the pageant.
Klopp, a transfer student this year, said she enjoys rodeo and researched local rodeos because she wanted to participate.
“One things that’s really great about rodeo queen is that it gets you active in the community that you live in,” she said.
As the Rodeo Queen, Klopp’s responsibilities include attending appreciation dinners, participating in at least six rodeos within a 100-mile radius of Abilene and making appearances at West Texas Fair and Rodeo events, said Gail McMillan, the pageant’s director.
“I’ve been at the rodeo every night this week. Visiting with people in the stands, welcoming them, going up and down the midway,” Klopp said.
Klopp said she will visit local retirements homes and schools as well.
Klopp competed against four other contestants for both the title and a $2,000 scholarship that can be used at any school. Smaller prizes were awarded to the winners of each category, Klopp said.
McMillan said contestants are judged on “horsemanship, personality, speech and attire.”
In the speech competition, Klopp said she presented a three-minute speech on the state of Texas.
The speech had to be memorized and given on stage; speeches were judged on content, delivery, stage presence and personality, Klopp said.
A contestant’s personality is considered in each event – including the personal interview and horsemanship, Klopp said.
As for the appearance category, Klopp said, judges consider, “Not just how your clothes look, or how your hair and make-up looks; it’s also about how you present yourself – the way you walk, and the way you hold yourself when you’re speaking with somebody or sitting in an interview.”
McMillan said the three judges look for the contestant who will best represent the West Texas Fair and Rodeo while she wears her crown and banner.
“The judges feel like [Lara] fulfills that, and I agree,” McMillan said.
Klopp, who said she spent her “entire life” riding, was the 2004 rodeo queen in her hometown in California.
Horsemanship is Klopp’s favorite event, she said, because, “I like working together with my horse, being out there in the arena and competing.”
She plans to continue competition for a little longer before concentrating on her career, she said.
Klopp said she might participate in Miss Rodeo Texas in San Antonio because after winning a local pageant, she is eligible to participate.