Family first for entrant
How a family’s help led to a Rodeo Queen dream
THE Warwick Rodeo Quest is a far cry from the brutal pageant culture of Hollywood, instead being built on friendship and good country personalities.
Tori Rafton, who has entered the Rodeo Queen quest for the third time, said the contest provided her with a best friend.
“The 2014 contest was my first time entering, and I came up against Erica Geppert,” Miss Rafton said.
“Erica went on to win that year and I finished runner-up.
“Over the space of two weeks we were in each other’s pocket with events on, and it really was a big positive.
“It gave us the chance to get to know each other and we’ve been best friends since.
“There’s no rivalry amongst entrants and it really has been a fantastic experience.”
Miss Rafton said this friendship helped to further inspire her Rodeo Queen aspirations. “Erica has been one of my biggest inspirations,” she said.
“Having contact with a number of past winners and entrants always inspires you, and has certainly helped me along the way.”
The Rodeo Queen quest incorporates different areas in the judging process, and Miss Rafton said she continued to strive to achieve her best.
“I love the horsemanship associated with the contest,” she said.
“Personal interviews are another component that I enjoy.
“I feel that I am in my element when having a one-on-one interview.
“Public speaking is something that I am continuing to work on.
“I ran for Miss Rodeo Australia last year and was able to notice the difference of improvement in that area.”
If Miss Rafton is succeed in 2017, she said she won’t change a great deal from her predecessors .
“I wouldn’t try to do too much differently from previous Rodeo Queens,” she said.
“They’ve all done a fantastic job to promote the rodeo and showcase the event.
“The chance to promote the rodeo and Warwick to the United States and Canada would be something special.”
Miss Rafton’s involvement in the rodeo spans more than a decade, the same time she began riding.
“I’ve been volunteering at the rodeo since I was 13,” she said.“My first riding was with the campdraft, a sport that I love.
“Volunteering started through helping out with the campdraft, in which my whole family played a role.”
This family connection to the rodeo is a special one for Miss Rafton.
“I believe campdrafting is the biggest family sport out there,” she said.
“It’s an event where family members can participate at all levels, as everyone can contribute something, and it helps to bring people together.
“For example, my mother is allergic to horses however she has helped out in office areas.
“My brother isn’t really a horse person either but he volunteered in the bar.”
My first riding was with the campdraft, a sport that I love.
Warwick Rodeo Queen entrant Tori Rafton.
Tori Rafton at her fundraising Kimberley Sammon campdraft clinic.