story by Riata Cummings Heath Hammerstrom just finished his eighth grade year at Dugway High School where his favorite classes were physical education and history. […]
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Utah Junior High Queen McKardy Kelly
story by Holly Wilson
Eighth grader McKardy Kelly has only been competing in junior high rodeo events for a year, but has taken the rodeo queen world by storm.
“I just started rodeoing last year, but I’ve been riding horses and doing rodeo queen contests for a really long time,” McKardy said. “My mom did a lot of rodeo queening in high school, and even competed at county and state. My dad and grandpa are rodeo announcers and my uncle is rodeo clown, so I’ve been to rodeos ever since day one.”
As a student at Rocky Mountain Junior High, she competes for her region in barrel racing, pole bending, and ribbon roping, and represents this year as the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Queen.
She prepared for the contest through spending hours in the rulebook, practicing her public speaking and modeling, and getting to know herself.
“Like all contests, I was nervous. But when I got there and was with the girls, I had a lot of fun,” McKardy said. “There were five other contestants, and I really enjoyed getting to meet them and other people through the rodeo queen contest.”
McKardy travels with an entourage to each of her events, that includes her mom, dad, brothers, and grandma.
“Any time that we’re going to a rodeo, we make all sorts of different memories together and I love rodeo for that,” she said.
Many of those memories over the past year have involved a fleet of equine athletes that have helped McKardy accomplish her goals.
“I have a horse named Hottie, and he has helped me get better at rodeoing through barrel racing. I have another horse named Norman, and he has been with me to do grand entries in parades, he’s super solid,” she said. “And then there’s Scout, and I did my reining portion of the [Utah Junior High School Rodeo Queen] contest on him.”
“I’d like to thank my entire family for supporting me through everything that I have done,” McKardy said. “And a special thanks to Keith Karren for letting me use Scout for the queen contest.”
With the support of her family and friends, McKardy plans to continue queening throughout high school, college, and beyond.
“I plan on doing many rodeo contests throughout my life,” she said. “Hopefully next year I can try out the high school contests, which I’m really excited for.”
“In the long run, I want to go to Miss Utah and be able to meet amazing girls that I will have friendships with my entire life.”
When she’s not in crown, McKardy enjoys being an active junior high kid and having fun with her friends.
“In the summertime, I love to paddleboard and kayak, and spend time with friends and family,” she said. “I just love hanging out with friends, and going to rodeos to watch.”
McKardy is also involved on her school campus through being a “Too Cool” ambassador, that helps prevent bullying on her junior high campus. She also looks forward to joining Future Farmers of America (FFA) next year as a freshman.
McKardy has a bright future of queening ahead of her, and tries to be a positive inspiration to others through her queen contests and involvement on her school campus.
“Whatever you want to do in life, never give up. Keep working for it. I believe that hard work can help you do amazing things.”