CROWNED: Miss Rodeo Australia named in Warwick
AUSTRALIA officially has a new Miss Rodeo after Dakota Michaelis representing Petersborough was crowned in Warwick tonight.
Two Warwick women did their hometown proud by taking home three sashes between them.
Ashleigh Grant, who was representing Warwick Rodeo, was overall runner up in the competition and won the fundraising category.
Fellow Warwick local Tammie Conroy, who was representing Taroom, took out the horsemanship category.
Immediately after the announcement, Dakota said she could not even put her happiness into words.
"Every girl wants to be a princess," she said.
She has been riding horses since she could walk and on the rodeo trail since she was just five years old.
Teaching riding to beginners is also one of her strengths, as she even teaching a young girl to ride who suffered from epilepsy.
That experience was the inspiration behind her chosen charity for the competition, The Epilepsy Centre.
The 20-year-old said she was proud of she fared in her speech and horsemanship, which gave her a little bit of confidence.
But the win still came as a shock.
"Not at any stage did I have it picked," she said.
Her aim is to share her love of rodeo not only through her Miss Rodeo Australia title, but also by competing in barrel racing and breakaway roping.
"I get to promote the sport I've lived and breathed," she said.
"If your dreams are big enough and you work hard enough you can achieve anything."
Warwick's own Ashleigh Grant said she set out to win the two sashes right from the very start, which she ended up bagging.
"The top title would be amazing but I didn't know if I was quite up there," she said.
"I'm so proud I could do this for the Warwick community and the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society, all the while fundraising for a cause that's close to my heart."
The 25-year-old paralegal was fundraising for Blush Cancer Care Inc, which supports families through breast cancer diagnoses.
Her own family were touched by the charity when her mother was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Ashleigh said she was excited to help Dakota, but also planned to take a bit of time off the queen circuit to focus on campdrafting.
More than 100 people packed into the function room at the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre to see the new queen be crowned.
Six queens arrived in town on Friday to compete at the weekend.
Their journey will conclude with brunch at Gordon Country tomorrow morning.