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Miss Great Northern Rodeo 2014 crowned


John Paul Schmidt

Neya Bischoff places the crown on Miss Great Northern Rodeo 2014 Sheridan O'Neil's hat at the Great Northern Arena Thursday.

The Miss Great Northern Rodeo Pageant crowned Sheridan O'Neil as the 2014 queen of the fair.

The pageant saw two contestants this year: O'Neil and Rachel Bartlett.

The two contestants went through a rigorous trial of showing their horsemanship at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Great Northern Fairgrounds Arena and then moved on to the Holiday Village Mall to do the speech and posing portions of the competition.

At the arena, both contestants ran patterns with their horses.

"You want to make sure these queens are comfortable on a horse and can fly a flag," Montana National Director Jaye Dee Han said.

Horsemanship accounted for 50 percent of the women's scores.

At the mall, each had to answer impromptu questions randomly pulled from a bag and also had to present their own prepared speeches.

During the prepared speech portion of the pageant, O'Neil spoke about her love for the rodeo and why she thought she should be the next face of the Great Northern rodeo.

"I would like to be the smile of the face that shows other kids the spirit of the rodeo," O'Neil said.

Bartlett gave her speech after O'Neil and said that rodeo was her passion.

"Rodeo is a big part of my life," Bartlett said. " ... Barrel racing is my passion."

Bartlett said she wants to go to college for equine science and wants to be part of rodeos for the rest of her life.

At the junior rodeo at 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds, Neya Bischoff, the runner-up of last year's fair pageant, crowned O'Neil as Miss Great Northern Rodeo 2014.

"It feels really good to win and yet it feels awesome to wear this stuff," O'Neil said, on her horse after she was given her sash and crown.

She said that she is going to pursue the Miss Teen Rodeo Montana in the Great Falls pageant in January.

Last year, Laramie Pursley took the crown at the fair, but passed it down to Bischoff when she took the crown of Miss Rodeo Montana.


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