Fam­ily first for en­trant

How a fam­ily’s help led to a Rodeo Queen dream

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS - Sean Teuma

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.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

War­wick Rodeo Queen en­trant Tori Rafton.

Tori Rafton at her fundrais­ing Kim­ber­ley Sam­mon cam­p­draft clinic.

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