OSU student selected as Sweet Home Rodeo Queen

The Sweet Home Rodeo has selected Olivia Simpson, an Oregon State University student from Lake Oswego, as its 2010 Rodeo Queen.

“She’s energetic, outgoing, very friendly €“ she’s beautiful,” said Rodeo Board member and chaperone Bambi Wells. “She has awesome horsemanship skills.”

Tryouts were held on Jan. 23, including interviews, a knowledge test, horsemanship, impromptu questions and a speech. The selection was made the same day.

“I think she’s going to be a real good queen,” said Sweet Home Rodeo President Dick Coffin.

The rodeo had four young women apply, Wells said. One dropped, and one was unable to get her horse into the trailer, leaving two to try out before four judges.

Simpson grew up in Lake Oswego, moving to Corvallis for her freshman year as a double major in animal sciences and agricultural education. She plans to become a large-animal veterinarian or a specialist in large-animal reproduction. She works for a llama breeder in Wilsonville.

She is the daughter of John and Debbie Simpson. She has one brother, Greg.

She has shown horses, market goats and llamas in 4-H for nine years. She also competed in a show circuit with her llamas and became nationally ranked. She is assistant superintendent of the 4-H llama division in Clackamas County.

Simpson said rodeo has been a big part of her life for as long as she can remember, and she considers the sport to be one of her best family memories.

Her grandfather is a stock contractor, Simpson said, so she has been attending rodeos since she was young.

Through rodeo and 4-H, she fell in love with the animals, and she always thought the rodeo queens were pretty cool.

“I love riding,” she said. “I love the bond between horse and rider.”

Rodeo is the toughest sport, and it requires teamwork between the human rider and the horse, she said.

Simpson has two horses, Sundance, a 5-year-old solid-bred paint stallion, that she rides in parades and Marci, a 17-year-old quarter horse that she’ll ride in the rodeo.

She has had Marci for about six months, she said. “I ride five to six days a week. She’s a phenomenal horse.”

She is well-trained, Simpson said. “We actually clicked really quickly.”

As rodeo queen, she wants to go to as many places as possible and get Sweet Home Rodeo’s name out, Simpson said. “I absolutely love Sweet Home. I think it’s the cutest little town in Oregon.”

She was familiar with the Sweet Home Rodeo, and she always appreciated how “hometown” it is, she said.