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Round-Up Queens Cowgirl Up!

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Cowgirl-up! was the battle cry Saturday during the Round-Up Queen´s Horsemanship competition at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.

The seven Round-Up queen contestants, Heather Hanlon, Jena Questo, Drew Kermeen, Joni Vermillio, Meagan Middleton, Stephaine Weaver and Kayla Njirich, had to show off their best riding abilities before the crowd and the judges.

A lot is placed on this segment of the competition. It is worth the most points that go towards the final decision of choosing the new Mother Lode Round-Up Queen. Current Round-Up Queen Caity Smith says the horsemanship competition accounts for 35 percent of the total score tally. The girls take their horses through various riding skills, including walk, trout and jog, barrel racing, pole bending, reigning, and the queen salute.

Professional judges evaluate the candidates giving point scores to each riding segment. These points are sealed and not looked at until pageant night.

The 2004 Mother Lode Round-Up Queen pageant takes place Sunday evening at the Sonora Elks Lodge beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.