Erin Richins of Ellensburg was crowned this year’s Ellensburg Rodeo queen at a banquet at the Central Washington University SURC ballroom on Saturday.

The queen and two princesses were selected after giving speeches and answering impromptu questions during the event. A horse riding competition and a meet-and-greet social took place in October, with interviews in November.

Richins is a senior at Ellensburg High School, and also attends Running Start at Central Washington University. She has been a part of 4-H and FFA, and for the past three years she’s been an Ellensburg Rodeo sponsor flag carrier.

Her involvement in the rodeo is a family tradition — Richins’ mother was involved with the Wranglerettes and was a barrel racer.

“Barrel racing and carrying sponsor flags in the rodeo has always brought my family together,” Richins said during her speech. “Even tonight, my whole family is together for the first time in years because of the rodeo.”

She remembers watching the queen in the rodeo parade when she was 5 years old, thinking it was something she wanted to do some day.


This year’s princesses will be Kaytlin Kauzlarich and Mikaila Montgomery.

Kauzlarich is a senior at Cle Elum-Roslyn High School where she played soccer and is the ASB executive secretary. She also has participated in horsemanship clinics and has competed at the state level in 4-H. She plans to attend CWU in the fall and be part of the rodeo team.

She said although she doesn’t come from a family of ranchers and farmers, she fell in love with the rodeo.

When she realized how big horses were, she was terrified. “Even my sister said ‘Kaytlin, maybe you should try miniature horses,’” Kauzlarich said. “But I was determined.”

Montgomery is also a senior at Cle Elum-Roslyn High School while she takes Cornerstone classes at CWU and Washington State University. She has been involved in soccer and track and field. She is a member of the Royal Riders 4-H Club and is trail guide as part of her family’s business.

She grew up on a small farm just outside of Cle Elum, and her parents were outfitters.

“Through (my parents), I learned the ins and outs of horsemanship through a working-woman’s perspective,” she said. “I would not trade the countless hours spent on the back of trusty steed and a weathered worn saddle for the world.”

The royal court was selected by 26 judges, including the Ellensburg Rodeo board of directors, and representatives from 11 allied organizations such as the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse, Rotary Club, Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce, Kittitas County Cattlemen’s Association and Kittitas County Fair Board.

The 2017 Ellensburg Royal Court — Queen Brittany Skibeness, Princess Megan Ray and Princess Jade Cotterill — also attended the banquet and said their goodbyes and thank yous. They were inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame as past rodeo royalty.


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