Rodeo Queen gets ready to pass on her crown
Nicole Nells comes from a long line of rodeo competitors. Her grandmother, Alice Tallsalt, held the title of Miss Pinon Rodeo in 1949. In 1970, her Aunt Mary Tallsalt held the title of Miss Navajo Community College. And in 1972, another relative, Lorna Lems, held the title. of Miss Indian World Rodeo Queen. Nicole’s clan is the “naakai dinete ashiihi bashishcheen chishi da’ shicheii Bit’ahnii da’ shi nullin”.
Nicole is the latest in this line, currently holding the title of Miss Western Junior Rodeo Association Rodeo Queen 1999 - 2000. She is the leader in the Senior Girls Division, ages 13 - 18, of the Western Junior Rodeo Association, and has been named the best “all round” competitor. She is skilled in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and goat tying.
On October 7, Nicole will pass her title on to the next lucky girl.
“Rodeo Queen” competitors are judged on horsemanship, foot work, horse response to contestant, contestant response to horse, and on performance in a talent show. For her talent, Nicole presented a speech: “What Rodeo Means To Me.”
Ms. Western Junior Rodeo Association Rodeo Queen promotes the Association, assists in increasing membership and helps with public relations.
But the queen must also be a positive role model, attending all rodeos, riding the rodeo’s grand entry and chasing the calves to the pen. She is also responsible to help other youth increase awareness about respect for self and others.
To this end, Nicole’s accomplishments during her reign speak for themselves. She initiated dialogues with the Association and was instrumental in helping the prequalifiers of “Rodeo Queen” to be representative of horsemanship, not glamour.
The reigning queen also sponsors the Fair Community Rodeo - Dilcon Southwest Fair Rodeo, and has helped sponsor Tuba City’s basketball tournament for the City Chapter House Bingo, and the Native American Church 34th Youth Convention. She has spoken before the Association Awards Banquets and participated in the Navajo Nation’s Fair Parade.
Since her crowning, she voiced she has learned more about responsibility and how to positively associate with others. She indicated that respect of “self’’ helps one to respect others. She advocates extra curricular (school and community) activities, which may help to keep youth from endangering their lives and grow in a positively.
Since she began her reign as Rodeo Queen, she says, her horsemanship skills are not the only once have gotten better. She has also learned more on how to communicate effectively with issues, self-esteem, and personal confidence.
Nicole’s personal goals include making her parents, Marylou and Albert Nells, proud of her. A senior at Coconino High School, she intends to go to college to become a journalist. She also hopes to learn more about the “Navajo way of life.”
Nicole’s parents are supportive of their daughter’s endeavors and provide cultural and traditional guidance. “No matter what level a child is at, stand by your child and support them,” they say, adding that winning is not everything—having fun and doing one’s best is more important.
Now that Nicole’s reign as Rodeo Queen is soon to be turned over the next lucky girl, she has a few words of encouragement for her successor. “Have fun, be there for the younger youth, be positive, and be supportive to everyone.” Her final words to those competing for Miss Western Junior Rodeo Association Rodeo Queen 2000-2001, “I wish all contestants the best of luck, try hard at the finals at the Fair Community Dilcon Southwest Fair Rodeo on October 7, 2000.”