Merced County Fair wants young women for 'Rodeo Queen' contest by April 18

The Merced County Fair Rodeo Committee said it's looking for young women to participate in the 2010 Miss Merced County Fair Rodeo Queen contest.

The fair is June 15-20, so the application deadline and all rodeo queen contest dates have been moved up, fair officials said in a news release.

To be eligible, young women must be 14 to 21 years old as of June 1, 2010, and have never been married. The competition is open to residents of Merced, Madera, Mariposa and Stanislaus counties.

Committee organizers emphasized that the competition wasn't a beauty contest. Contestants will be judged on horsemanship, personality, public speaking, appearance and promotion of the sport of rodeo, the news release said.

This year's winner will receive a $500 cash award and other prizes including a custom trophy saddle, crown, custom sash and belt buckle. Prizes will be awarded in every category of the competition.

April 18 is the application deadline and contest orientation date. To get application forms, contact Amanda Jensen at (559) 665-3056 or poorgalcattleco@yahoo.com. Contest information will be available at the 2010 Merced County Fair's Web site www.MercedCountyFair.com.

The contest schedule includes an on-stage performance May 22 at the Merced County Fairgrounds, a horsemanship competition on May 23 at the Merced Horsemen's Arena and participation in the annual Friends Helping Friends event at the fair on June 18.

The queen will be announced and crowned at the fair's rodeo, June 18.

Ashley Boyles of Merced is the reigning 2009 Merced County Fair Rodeo Queen. First runner-up is Sarah Myers of Raymond, and second runner-up is Stacey Cordova of Hilmar.

The 119th annual fair theme is "Wetlands, Water and Wildlife." For more information call (209) 722-1507, fax at (209) 722-3773 or e-mail Info@Merced County Fair.com. Visit the 2010 Merced County Fair's Web site www.MercedCountyFair.com and connect on Facebook and Twitter.