Buckles, boots and rodeo queens
AS A schoolgirl, Ella Waugh remembers getting dressed up in her rodeo gear to welcome the annual Warwick Rodeo Queen to her school.
"I loved getting dressed up, and we really looked up to the girls with their buckles, boots and hats - and now it is me," she said.
I think I'd have done the whole thing for nothing but there was a crown, a great buckle, new hats and shirts, flowers and a sash, which will have pride of place at home for my whole life.
"Going on the school visits before the rodeo was one of the highlights for me of being the Warwick Rodeo Queen."
Ms Waugh never missed a Warwick Rodeo growing up in the area and loved the whole atmosphere.
"I felt I was a good age, I love horses, I love the rodeo and I wanted to be a part of what went on and to see the rodeo from a different aspect, so I decided to enter the Rodeo Queen quest," she said.
"It was more than a thrill to win but I didn't realise how good it was going to be.
"The school visits were great, the street parade was special but the rush I got out of leading the grand entry was spectacular.
"I'd campdrafted before so it was an honour to be standing beside the best of the best at the presentations - especially the Warwick Gold Cup.
"Then presenting buckles and sashes to the rodeo winners, all the young guns, it was fun but a real adrenalin rush under the lights."
She said she had achieved all her aims and more from entering the quest.
"I made new friends, it was another life experience, even beyond what I'd thought it would be, [and gained] a better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes and the amount of work the committee does, and all the volunteers too," she said.
"Kate Christensen and her committee took all the hassles out of the duties I had to perform; they offered guidance everywhere and were great - really supportive.
"Then there were the prizes. I think I'd have done the whole thing for nothing but there was a crown, a great buckle, new hats and shirts, flowers and a sash, which will have pride of place at home for my whole life, and then the overnight stay at Spicer's at The Gap.
"It was a $1000 per night stay with all the food and drink included. I could never afford such a thing, but it was wonderful."
Ms Waugh has no hesitation in recommending the quest to any young ladies who are up to the challenge.
"But be prepared for two weeks of the best time of your life representing Australia's Most Famous Rodeo.
"Don't enter too young, have a good horse to ride, get help from the quest committee - they can even help with clothing and saddlery - and enjoy yourself," she said.
"I'm so pleased I decided to enter the quest, it's something I'll remember all my life with no regrets whatsoever."