Honoring past Stampede Queens

MONTE VISTA — A special project is underway to set up a program to donate to the new Ski-Hi building, in honor or in memory of a past Stampede Queen. In the future organizers of the project would also like to set up a permanent monument to the past Stampede Queens in the new Ski-Hi building.

With the help of Peg Schall and Karen Deacon, photos of the past Queens have been found at the Transportation museum spanning 1919 to the late 1980s. They would like to get these photos permanently displayed as part of the monument. 

In an article written by Marian Fennell Colwell and Dorothy Dorris Wilson in 1970 they wrote, “Selection as Queen of the Ski-Hi Stampede has long been considered one of the highest honors attainable by a young lady in the San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado.”

This honor also had a great deal of responsibility attached to it. Jim Clare who is also working on the project and whose mother was Miss Stampede in 1935 said, “One of the gals said it wasn’t one of those deals where you ride in during Stampede, and wave she said that there was a lot more to it than that.”

Verla Honeycutt who was Stampede Queen 1988, and the alternate in 1987 remembers there were tryouts and interviews, the young women had to go through to be selected as the Stampede Queen. With different categories covering everything from horsemanship to congeniality. Horsemanship being the most important thing.

Once chosen to be the Stampede Queen their main job was to promote the Ski-Hi rodeo. Honeycutt remembers how they had to travel to different places, and rodeos. They would be introduced at these events and then hand out pamphlets to crowds to promote that year’s Ski-Hi Stampede. They were also expected to tell people things like when events would be happening or who the band would be at the dances. The Queens also promoted the event by talking on the radio.

During Stampede itself they had a lot to do as Queen. Honeycutt said, “When we were Miss Stampede or part of the court, we were expected to help run out cattle. We went to the parade every day. We went to the dances each night then they would introduce us at the dances, and we would just explain kind of what we’d been doing and welcome people.”

Honeycutt also shared that the queens were expected to participate in the calf dressing. Honeycutt remembered it was a fun part of their duties.

Today they no longer have a Stampede Queen. The last Stampede Queen was crowned in 2005.

“It has definitely changed over the years. Now they don’t even have a Stampede Queen or have that process. But they have the internet. They have Facebook and they have social media. It’s a whole different process than what it used to be when word of mouth and that kind of thing was important,” said Honeycutt.

When asked what her favorite part of being the Stampede Queen was Honeycutt said it was the skills she cultivated, the traveling she did, and the friendships she made.

“It didn’t seem like I was building any skills, or experiences at the time. In retrospect I see how valuable it is, to me today,” said Honeycutt.

For the Stampede Queen monument display they are collecting any information about the past queens and their experiences. If you have any information, contact the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce at [email protected]or 719-852-2731.

© 2022-South Fork Tines


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