Carrietta Schalesky claims Miss Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo Queen title
Much more than a Black Hills gold crown, new saddle, and prestigious title were at stake when six deserving horsewomen participated in a competition that tested their abilities. Personality, speech, and horsemanship were the events that well-rounded Carrietta Schalesky excelled in that earned her the title of Miss Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo Queen.
The BHSS queening competition has been an annual event for 30 years. The purpose is to crown a young woman who can represent the stock show for the year with dignity, knowledge, and dedication to the event and lifestyle. The contest took place Saturday, Jan. 26.
Schalesky grew up on a ranch that raises cattle, sheep, and horses outside of Faith, South Dakota. She began competing in princess contests when she was little, and had a dream of winning the MBHSS queen title every year her family attended. Rodeo queening runs in the family, as her mom held the Perkins County Rodeo Queen title in 1982. Schalesky followed in her footsteps and earned the same title a few years ago.
She’s also been crowned as the Miss Faith Stock Show, Estelline Rodeo Queen, Miss Rodeo Aberdeen, Lemmon Boss Cowman Rodeo Queen, and also competed in the 4-H Ambassadors and won those titles.
“This title is something I’ve been working for my entire life. I remember being a princess contestant and seeing the BHSS queen back then. On Saturday, there were all sorts of emotions and adrenaline and excitement that were constant through my head all day. I felt confident with how everything went.”
Even in the face of a challenge, Schalesky seemed to embody a queen’s persona. “I did have a mini disaster. When I went to change into my speech and modeling dress, it actually ripped. The sleeve had a huge hole in it. I had a backup dress, but the first one really represented my personality. I designed the second dress that way too, but it wasn’t as explosive in personality. I had to keep myself together, change, and get done what I needed to.”
Before the contest even started, plenty of hard work and time went into preparation. Schalesky spent the last two months pushing herself to be focused and refreshed on rodeo rules and horse health.
“A fellow rodeo queen would message me about every other day, sending me questions to test me so I had an outside source helping me figure out what I should be studying. The speech isn’t something you can really prepare for. It’s impromptu, so they give us 3 topics and we have 10 minutes to gather our thoughts, then give a speech that’s about a minute and a half. It prepares us for when we’re asked to speak in front of a crowd. That happens a lot to rodeo queens. I’m really glad they switched it over, it used to be prepared speeches for most contests.”
Schalesky said she enjoys the personal interview because it gives her and the judges a chance to get to know each other without other distractions, but her favorite event is the horsemanship.
There were 6 girls competing for the title. The day was filled with comments of pity for the judges because their job was proving to be difficult in choosing just one girl.
Meghan Proctor of Lusk, Wyoming was the 2018 MBHSS queen, and thought it was great there were so many girls at this year’s contest. “It just seems to grow every year, and it’s so good to see. Any one of these girls deserves the title; none of us are going to be sad no matter the outcome. Any of them are deserving and are going to represent the title well.”
Proctor began competing in rodeo when she was 5, and has also held the title of Miss High School Rodeo Wyoming in 2013.
“The best advice I can give to the next queen is to never give up who you are. There are people who will try to get you to play different roles or do different things for them. It’s good to help people, but never give up who you are or the things you believe in,” Proctor said. She was honored to represent the BHSS, and wanted to thank everyone, especially her family, who helped her during an amazing year.
Schalesky is ready to follow in Proctor’s footsteps and travel to as many South Dakota rodeos as possible, as well as out-of-state events. “I’ve never been to the Badlands Circuit Finals in North Dakota, so that would be really great if I could travel up there and represent the stock show. I’ve also never been to the Cheyenne Frontier Days, so it would be awesome to go there, too.”
Schalesky would like to thank the sponsors and supporters of the contest, especially Jerry Westphal, a yearly contributor to queening contests who donated a mink stole, and Cece Steen, the coordinator of the event. Stampers and Gold Diggers Jewelry sponsored the new crown.
Following her crowning, she said she still hasn’t been able to let it soak in because of all the excitement. “Because I have so much passion and this title holds a special palce in my heart, it was crazy that I was called to represent the stock show. When they called my name on Saturday night, I really couldn’t believe it. I really felt emotions flow and it was absolutely insane to accomplish one of the biggest dreams I’ve ever had.”