She's the queen behind the scenes -- arranging for all the young women who aspire to be Evergreen Rodeo Queen. In 2008 when her daughter, Emily, was chosen as Rodeo Princess, it was the responsibility of the Queen to handle the grooming and candidacy of the Princess candidates. By 2009 when her daughter was named Queen, Paula stepped into the role as coordinator of the Rodeo Royalty on behalf of the Evergreen Rodeo Association. She'd seen what the program had done for Emily and thought she could play a meaningful role in the lives of others.
In a volunteer capacity, she coordinates not only the competition for Queen and Princess but also for a new category in the last two years -- that of Junior Princess. These young women – aged 10-20 – serve as ambassadors and spokeswomen for the Evergreen Rodeo Association year round here in Evergreen as well as at the National Stock Show and throughout Colorado.
Paula works with the girls, arranging for personal appearances at various functions, teaching them poise, integrity and professionalism. She holds a "Queen's Clinic" each spring for those interested in competing for Princess and Queen, providing guidance in how to prepare for the competition. She arranges for Miss Rodeo Colorado to attend the clinic to share tips and pageant secrets for success.
The Junior Princess (ages 10-13) Pageant involves being judged on personality, public speaking and rodeo knowledge. Having one's own horse or knowledge of horseback riding is not required at this level, although it becomes increasingly important in the competition at higher levels.
Princess contestants (ages 14-17) and those competing for Queen (ages 17-20) do so just prior to the June rodeo, which always takes place on Father's Day Weekend. Winners selected in June are crowned during the rodeo performance and become the "Lady-in-Waiting" until they assume their reign in December.
Because dressing appropriately while serving as royalty can be quite expensive, Paula organized and oversees the "Queen's Closet," an inventory of new to gently-used jewelry and royalty attire, including chaps, which are especially expensive. She solicits items from individuals and corporate sponsors.
Paula, a 19-year resident of Kittredge who grew up in Lakewood, juggles her full-time schedule as a single mom and a lead counselor at a group home for people with developmental disabilities, to arrange for the 1,000 volunteer hours of community service that the Rodeo Royalty participate in annually. While most events occur during the summer months, there is at least one promotional community event each month year round.
She arranges for the two pageants and the coronation dinner and accompanies the young gals everywhere they go while representing the Evergreen Rodeo Association.
The Rodeo Royalty are referred to as the "Sweethearts of Rodeo," but most would say it's Paula who is the real Sweetheart.