Miss California High School Rodeo Queen returns

Miss California High School Rodeo Queen 2014-2015 Rachael Asbell gives a winning smile. Asbell will hand over the crown at this year’s California High School Rodeo State Finals held at the Fairgrounds in June.  Photo courtesy California High School Rodeo Association
Louis Israel
Staff Writer

Reigning Miss High School California Rodeo Queen Rachael Asbell is heading to the California Maritime Academy after she graduates San Pasqual High School in Escondito.
“I plan to go into World Cultures and Maritime Affairs. After that I’ll go into the Navy as a Judge Advocate General,” she said earlier this week during a brief visit to Bishop.
Asked about how she came to take the title and the winning moment, she credits hard work and a good dose of that same confidence. And of course, the tremendous support of her district.
“I’d been working towards this for three years. I finally knew what I wanted to do and came in confident. I won every category except one. The District 8 section was screaming. I was crying.”
The competition is held in Bishop each year as part of the California High School Rodeo State Finals. Judging for Rodeo Queen includes speech, modeling, interview, appearance and personality.
It doesn’t stop there though for a lot of Rodeo Queen contestants, who also throw their hats into the ring for regular rodeo competition. Asbell is one such Queen. “I’m a breakaway roper. Hopefully I can come compete this year in Breakaway Roping, Team Roping and Goat Tying. Qualifier hasn’t happened yet. I need to have some good times. I need to have a good rodeo.”
If it sounds like she takes the rodeo seriously, that’s because she does. Rodeo doesn’t count for P.E. credits in a lot of high schools like other sports, but Asbell is proud to be part of the fight to change that. “Some high schools do it. My high school allows it but it was a huge process. I’ve been going to Sacramento on a plane a lot” to help CHSRA lobby for a change in how rodeo is recognized as a school sport.
“California High School Rodeo Association gives out $50,000 in scholarships every year so a lot of these kids aren’t just competing for buckles.”
And what about being in Bishop again for the competition? “I love Bishop, I love Schat’s Bakkery and getting sandwiches. It’s such a great little town. A lot of the kids go tubing (at the river) and the dads go fishing. It’s great to be here … It’s a lot more personable, a lot more welcome. It’s beautiful too.”
The Tri-County Fairgrounds opens up its gates for the High School Rodeo 2015 State Finals on Saturday, June 13 and events are scheduled all through the following week, culminating with an awards ceremony on Saturday, June 20.
For Asbell, that means the end of her reign as queen.
“It’ll be bittersweet. I plan to help the next girl with tips and tricks … I also am excited to go off to college and start that part of my life.”