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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment October 21, 2018

10/2/2018 12:48:00 PM
Cornett selected as Sisters Rodeo Queen
photo by Cody Rheault
+ click to enlarge
photo by Cody Rheault

By Bonnie Malone

The 2019 Sisters Rodeo Queen is Riann Cornett of Bend. She was selected on Sunday, September 23, from six highly qualified candidates to represent Sisters Rodeo in the Columbia River Circuit Rodeos and other rodeos.

Riann is a Bend native, a 2016 graduate of Bend High School. She is the current Crooked River Roundup Queen and a 2016 Jefferson County Fair and Rodeo Princess.

The active equestrian was dual enrolled at Mountain View High School to qualify for membership in Bend FFA (Future Farmers of America). She was a four-year member of 4H until she became a member of Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET), competing successfully as a four-year varsity athlete. She qualified for both state and regional competitions.

Cornett is the daughter of Jenny and Jeff Cornett of Bend. Her sister, Jenna, described her older sister as a person of excellent character. "She is kind, caring and always putting everyone else first. She means the world to me," Jenna expressed.

The Cornett family began attending Sisters Rodeo when Riann was six, dressed in pink flannel, cowboy boots and a "very tiny straw hat." She was thrilled by the events of rodeo, and especially liked watching the queens in the grand entry and seeking their autographs later. She knew then that she was going to be in that romantic group of rodeo queens someday.

With her efforts in 4H and FFA, exhibiting horses, goats and pigs, Riann developed skills for a future in horse competitions. She also got over her almost disabling shyness about speaking in front of crowds.

"Riann was so terrified of speaking publicly," her father noted. "FFA taught her the skills to be able to do that with confidence. She has come full circle from a childhood at Sisters Rodeo to now being in a leadership position as the queen."

Rodeo queens are chosen by a panel of judges who interview each candidate with a list of questions. The candidates then present their prepared speeches to a crowd of rodeo guests.

After the speeches, they take their horses into the arena to ride a designated pattern that shows the skills and communication between the horse and rider in a series of figure eights at fast and slow canters. The horse must also stop, stand still and back with consistency. Finally, a rider demonstrates her handling of her horse running at high speed around the arena, with the classic rodeo wave to the crowd.

In the last challenge, the candidate carries a flapping, noisy flag as she gallops her mount around the oval a second time. Riann's 4-year-old sorrel gelding, Tequila, performed like a mature, seasoned horse on Sunday, despite his youth.

"To me, being Sisters Rodeo Queen is the equivalent of being Miss Rodeo Oregon," said Riann. "I am so thrilled to represent Sisters."

Her future includes studying animal science, but for now, she is spending this year preparing for her new position and doing advanced training of Tequila.

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