Australia’s ‘most famous’ rodeo kicks off next week
UNDERNEATH the sparkle and glamour of this year’s Warwick Rodeo Queen is a true-blue cowgirl.
Lauren McKenzie claimed the crown at a glamorous weekend function and she said she was still in shock over the win.
“It’s still sinking in and as more time goes by I’m starting to realise I won the queen title,” Lauren said.
Rushing into a jam-packed rodeo week, the newly inducted royal is preparing for her duties. Thankfully, she isn’t afraid to get a bit of dirt under her fingernails.
Growing up in the Northern Territory, she comes from a long line of cattle drovers.
“My grandma raised my mum and her brothers on a cattle station in the Territory,” Lauren said.
“They were home schooled and they are just the strongest women I know.”
During the ceremony Ms McKenzie held back tears when thanking her mother, Patch Smith.
“She’s the toughest woman I know. She’s always supporting me and my sister,” she said.
“Everything we do – polocrosse, show jumping, barrel racing – she’s always by our sides.”
Lauren grew up on a 647ha cattle station 50km out of Darwin and there was always a lot of work to do.
“We were always doing something,” she said.
“It was always Mum, Dad, a team of men and the dogs.”
Now living on a 35ha farm at Allora, she still has her family by her side.
“My mother and my partner are my biggest helpers,” Lauren said.
“They were always there and will still be there to help with my horses while I’m busy as Rodeo Queen.”
The 2018 queen is excited for the big year ahead.
“It’s going to be a very busy year but everyone is ready to take it as it comes,” Lauren said.
She also took home the title for best horsemanship and overall fundraiser for the money raised through barrel racing events, sausage sizzles and raffles.
The Warwick Rodeo will be held at the Warwick Showgrounds from October 22–28.
❝It’s going tobea very busy year but everyone is ready to take it as it comes.
— Lauren McKenzie
CROWNED: Lauren McKenzie is still in shock over her win.