AFTER an almost 30 year break Warwick will again play host to the coveted Miss Rodeo Australia finals, with the competition today returning to the city where it started.

Way back in 1977 the Rose City launched the first Miss Rodeo Australia competition. The driving force behind the initial event was Irene Kinast, a dynamic local woman, who was introduced to the sport after migrating from Germany.

She loved the arena action, but felt a "feminine" influence could benefit both rodeo events and the young women chosen to represent the sport.

From the start the quest enjoyed strong support with Warwick audiences queuing for a seat in the full-to-capacity Kings Theatre to watch the judging.

Eventually though diplomacy denoted that the judging for the prestigious title be shared among other rodeo strongholds like Tamworth.

But this year the national quest, which comes under the Australian Professional Rodeo Association, returns to Warwick with judging kicking off here today. Warwick's Ros Flood, who was a judge for the very first queen quest, is one of the organising committee members for the 2015 title.

She said it was an honour to be involved in the competition again and she was thrilled to see it return to the Rose City.

"People think rodeo queens and it's tiaras, buckles and boots, but the truth is in modern arenas this is am ambassador role," she explained.

"The successful entrant is a vital part of the promotional and information campaign when it comes to Australian rodeo at a national and international level."

Mrs Flood has just returned from the Miss Rodeo America quest, where she said the winner was recognised as the official face of rodeo.

"It was truly impressive to watch how the pageant is run in the states," she said.

"There were 32 entries, each had been rodeo queen at a regional rodeo before winning their state title, so they had considerable experience being in the public eye. "There were eight days of judging and each event from horsemanship to public speaking was sold out.

"And the winner was poised and graceful and articulate and intelligent and an outstanding ambassador for the sport of rodeo." While she acknowledges the Australian quest has some way to go before reaching the glitzy heights of American rodeo royalty she said her committee's goal was to take the competition to the next level.

"The sport of rodeo is growing here and we need an ambassador that can play a vital role in that promotional campaign," Mrs Flood said.

"I'm excited about the opportunities it offers those young women, who are successful.

"There is a trip overseas, a chance to network with some of the predominant people in rodeo internationally and invitations to some major events on the international rodeo calendar."

The judging of Miss Rodeo Australia will start at the Coffee Club tonight and continue with the horsemanship judging at the Warwick Showgrounds tomorrow.

The rodeo queens will have personal interviews with the judges at brunch at Café Jacqui's tomorrow before the announcement that night during dinner at the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre in Warwick. There will be entertainment at the heritage centre, Amy and Emily Bradfield will recite poetry and the queen entrants will present their final speeches. Outgoing Miss Rodeo Australia Mallory Doyle will crown the new winner.

Tickets for tomorrow night's dinner from the APRA office at the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre in Alice St, phone 4661 8183.



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