By Cathy Zimmerman / The Daily News | Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 11:15 pm
If there is a quintessential rodeo queen, she is Jenalyn Bloomfeldt.
The Kelso High graduate has been a horse lover since before she could walk, she revels in the adrenalin of barrel racing, and she’s got the beautiful cowgirl thing down.
“It was one of my dreams since I went to my first rodeo as a 5-year-old,” said Bloomfeldt, 19. “You see these girls in sparkly outfits on big horses. It’s really a positive role model. I really embrace the Western lifestyle. I like tradition — I like that about rodeo queens. ”
Underneath the white hat and glam eye liner, Bloomfeldt kicks hindquarters.
She helped her high school equestrian team set a district record in the Canadian flag event and win the 2009 state championship.
She’s one of four captains leading the Lower Columbia College women’s soccer team, and she goes from a 5 a.m. workout to a full schedule at LCC to a part time job at Snap Fitness.
All this while gearing up for her coronation and year-long reign as the ambassador of the Thunder Mountain Rodeo.
“I’m kind of a basket case recently,” Bloomfeldt said last week.
Sunday is her day of rest, she confessed. She lolls around, before baking something special and cooking dinner for her family, parents Tracy and Kara Bloomfeldt and three brothers. Such is the life of a queen.
Her mother is a passionate racer and teaches barrel racing, so Jenalyn Bloomfeldt was born to the saddle. Kelso and Longview high schools do not have equestrian teams, but teen riders from the area are welcome to join the Castle Rock Equestrian Team.
“I love team work,” she said, “and I love being a leader.”
Equestrian competition is “kind of like a track team,” she said, with numerous events and riders racking up points on times events, individually or on relay teams.
They have a head coach plus speciality coaches for drill team, showing, racing and gaming.
In one game, relay groups ride toward four stakes with flags. Each of the four riders in a team races down, grabs a flag and comes back. “We hold the district record, 30.9 seconds,” Bloomfeldt said.
The team won the state championship in 2009, and last year had the largest team in the district and the highest team GPA, according to the team’s Facebook page.
Aside from her riding competition, Bloomfeldt also likes to run on her own two feet — so she signed on when coach Harlan Cruiser revived the women’s soccer program at the college and urged her to try out.
Thanks to her queenly duties, she can’t make the indoor soccer practice this winter, but Bloomfeldt works out at Snap Fitness, where she has a part-time job.
Even Sunday dinners may take a hit after Bloomfeldt’s crowning next month.
“I will be the official representative of the Thunder Mountain Rodeo,” she said. That means riding in parades, taking part in other rodeos and rustling up more competitors for ours. “I’ll be getting the word out. It’s a time where the fair is trying to get more money. We need people to come to the rodeo.”
Some events are scheduled for her, the rest she has to go out and find.
“I get a lot of information from other queens on Facebook,” Bloomfeldt said.
Playing out a childhood dream is fun, but there’s one job that’s a slog — finding sponsors to help pay for the typical expenses of a rodeo queen, which range from $8,000 to $10,000 a year.
“I hate asking for donations,” she said. “It just causes anxiety.”
Still, Bloomfeldt holds out her cowgirl hat to friends, family, the rodeo committee and local businesses, she said, to help with the gas she needs to travel with horse trailer in tow, lodging for her and the horse, and rodeo entry fees.
Currently, Bloomfeldt has four quarter horses, including Zeus, 11, and Nitro, the horse she rides for barrel racing. “I love fast,” she said, “fast and exciting, the adrenaline.”
She also prefers the sturdiness of quarter horses — “they have bigger butts and legs.” Even so, “they’re more athletic than most breeds,” she said.
A rodeo rider is definitely an athlete, Bloomfeldt said.
“You are on top of a 1,200-pound animal, going at top speed, as fast as you can,” she said. “Most people think you just turn the reins. But you have to hold on and control your horse.
“You have to use your entire body to ride a horse. You use mostly your legs, but also the torso, your abs. With my horse, if I want to stop, I sit down super hard … and tighten my abs. I break a sweat every time I ride.”
In college, Bloomfeldt said she’ll major in nutrition consulting and go on to be a registered dietician.
She’ll never be far from horses, though, nor from the Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo circuit, which takes in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho north of the Salmon River.
And next up, the coronation.
Bloomfeldt will be astride a horse, yes, surrounded by barns instead of a cathedral. But she’ll have plenty of glitter and gleam in the saddle — enough to pass on the dream to some little 5-year-old girl tucked in the bleachers.