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Rodeo queen takes top state honor


Erin Jasper has hitched her career to a leather saddle fit for a queen.

Jasper, an 18-year-old Nevada County native, was named the 2004 queen of the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association this past weekend in Redding.

The honor means Jasper will spend the next year as an ambassador for the organization, which counts bullriders, bullfighters, cowboys and cowgirls as members who compete for a half-million dollars in prizes in rodeos throughout California and Nevada.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said Jasper, a student at Sierra College and a 2004 Nevada Union High School graduate. “I about fell off my horse when I found out. I was like, I could either be first or last.”

At one time, there were more than a dozen contestants for the crown. The competition included interviews, modeling and horsemanship.

In the next year, Jasper is scheduled to represent the cowboys at up to 40 rodeos, stretching from Garberville to Yreka, with stops in Ukiah, Fortuna and La Grange thrown in. She also plans to compete in barrel racing on the CCPRA tour.

“It’s going to be hectic,” said Jasper, who works two jobs in addition to her weekly barrel racing practices with the Nevada County Horsemen’s Association, who also named her queen last year.

“The rodeo life is full of drivin’ all over the place,” she said.

Jasper is back in the saddle after suffering cuts to her neck last year, when a horse she was feeding bit her neck after she tried to put his halter on.

“I was riding horses a week after that,” she said. “I’m a little more wary of horses I don’t know now, but I’m not afraid anymore.”

In addition to her crown, Jasper won a leather saddle and a $1,000 scholarship.

“She practically lives with horses,” said her mother, Julie. “It’s like her feet never stop.”

Those looking to help sponsor Erin Jasper’s rodeo tour can send donations to her at P.O. Box 213, Smartville 95077.

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