GREENFIELD — Mallory Harrison roped goats, raced around barrels and bent poles to earn the 2016-17 Miss Indiana High School Rodeo crown.
Harrison, a 17-year-old rising senior at Mt. Vernon High School, has been participating in rodeo events since she was a fourth-grader.
She’s been a member of the Indiana High School Rodeo Association for two years. The association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening youth interest in the sport.
To be named queen, Harrison competed in her three events — barrel-racing, pole-bending and goat-tying — as well as undergoing an interview, a two-minute speech, a written test, an impromptu question and a horsemanship pattern, which challenges the rider to direct the horse in a predetermined pattern.
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Harrison, who borrowed a horse for the event, found the horsemanship pattern to be the most challenging aspect of the event, she said.
“I’m really good with horses, but horsemanship is not my forte,” she said.
In addition to representing the Indiana High School Rodeo Association, Harrison will travel in July to the National High School Finals Rodeo, where she will compete for the Miss National High School Rodeo crown.
Lexy Petro, who attends New Palestine High School, and Shelby Wright and Olivia White, of Eastern Hancock High School, also will be attending the Wyoming rodeo event. Wright was last year’s queen.
“All of the members on the IHSRA have worked extremely hard throughout the season, putting in hundreds of hours of practice for the events they participate in,” Harrison wrote in an email. “Despite the stress and tough times rodeo may bring, everyone is one big family and is always willing to give a helping hand to a fellow team member, even if they may be the competition.”
Harrison is proud to be a role model for future rodeo riders in the Indiana High School Rodeo Association, she said.
After her senior year at Mt. Vernon High School, she plans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps and study an aviation-related career course.