Deafness doesn’t hamper Rodeo Queen Rose Wyant

Calapooia Roundup Rodeo Queen Rose Wyant doesn’t miss a beat in a conversation and her duties are easy.

That might not be a big thing for most folks, but Queen Rose is mostly deaf. She reads lips but seems hardly ever to ask for something to be repeated.

She’s been doing it all her life, and it doesn’t slow the energetic young lady down.

She is 100 percent deaf to high tones, 50 to 70 percent deaf to mid tones and can hear low tones normally, her mother Laurie Wyant said. Queen Rose was three years old before her parents found out she had a problem at all. The problem was identified while she attended the Head Start program.

The disability doesn’t slow Queen Rose down a bit. She carries on a conversation as well as anyone. The only problem it created for the rodeo court were instructions on the field, but her adviser and court overcame that using sign language.

“It was a lot easier than I thought,” Queen Rose said.

“This hasn’t affected her,” court adviser Kellie Kem said. “She’s probably exceeded any other queen. If she can do it anybody can.”

The only other times it presents difficulties is when Queen Rose is speaking in public. She doesn’t necessarily know how loud she is talking and sometimes talks too quietly. That’s when someone pushes a mic closer to her face and she complains that she doesn’t want to “eat the mic.”

Queen Rose was in her element over the weekend as she presided over the annual rodeo Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

She said her horse, SB Smokin’ Dee Bar, was about the same way, excited to get out and perform and didn’t want to settle down.

“Rose’s horse got a little excited,” Kem said. With the horse getting a little rambunctious, “one cowboy came by saying he didn’t have as good a ride as she did. One thing about these girls, I don’t have to worry about their riding.”

All of them are experienced riders and were involved in 4-H and their high school equestrian team.

“For the court, it’s turned out wonderful,” Kem said. “All of their performances, they nailed it, timing was perfect.”

The court’s grand entry was to “Have You Forgotten,” by country artist Darrell Whorley.

“It’s an awesome song,” Kem said. The girls asked the rodeo announcer to explain why they chose it.

“The song gives us a sense of pride in standing up for our country,” they said carrying through the Sportsman’s Holiday theme, “Patriotic Pride.” “We’re proud to say that we are looking for a fight. When someone tries to pull the wool over our eyes, they better watch out for the wolf underneath.”

The court includes Queen Rose, First Princess Alicia Lown, Second Princess Robin Sliker, Duchess Teri Rush and Duchess Niki McDonald.

The rodeo was “awesome — a lot of fun,” Queen Rose said. She enjoyed “being able to hang out with the court. They’re a lot of fun.”

She and the court were “very busy,” Queen Rose said. “I didn’t have the time to do anything.”

Friday, they opened the parade with their grand entry. That was followed soon by the mutton bustin’ and calf scramble. The court joined the children on the arena floor during the calf scramble, racing the them and encouraging them as they chased the calves down.

Saturday, the court was in the Sportsman’s Holiday Parade and took first place among courts. Following the parade, they attended a Queen’s Tea with the Sportsman’s Holiday Court at the information booth at the rodeo grounds.

They got a little break during the Loggers Olympics before going to work on the Saturday night rodeo where they joined cowboys on the field helping corral steers and other work.

They also joined in at the dance with Roughstock Friday and Saturday night, dancing with bunches of little kids. Sunday, they were back at it with the rodeo and helping dust off the children in the mutton bustin’ and calf scramble events.

“It’s all easy for me,” Queen Rose said, and she enjoyed every bit of it. She found nothing about being on the court difficult. Whether she will try to do it again depends.

“I’ll probably end up working and going to school too much to try again, but I would like to try,” Queen Rose said. The best part is “being all dressed up,” Queen Rose said. She loves her “big beautiful chaps, my crown.”

A sponsor provided new chaps for the court, Kem said.

Rodeo attendance appeared to be up from last year, Wanda Wolfe of the rodeo committee said. “We’ve had a good show. Friday wasn’t bad. Overall, it wasn’t bad. It’s above last year, but below the year before that, so I think the economy’s going back up.”

The Loggers Olympics seemed to draw a huge crowd.

“They had an absolutely wonderful turnout,” Wolfe said. The event was held at the rodeo grounds for the second year in a row.

There were people who came for that even who bought tickets and stayed around to catch the rodeo, Wolfe said. Many also stayed for the dance afterward.

“The Board of Directors cannot say thank you enough to all of our volunteers … and to all of our sponsors,” Wolfe said.

Turnout figures were unavailable at press time.

The process for selecting a new rodeo queen will begin soon as well. Starting in August, Kem said, practice will start in showmanship. Prospective court members will learn what is expected of a queen followed by tryouts the second weekend in September.

For information about the court, persons may contact Kem at 367-7048.