Queen, At Last

 

You all know that I’m a farm girl. I haven’t actually lived on that farm for most of my adult life. I frequently went back home to spend some time with my parents, and twice I actually stayed, with my babies, and lived with them for a few months to help out. My dad was ill, and I was the only sister without an outside job (as opposed to staying home, raising the kids.) So, I did a fair amount of milking, shoveling, feeding, etc. as a grown-up, too.

However, being a farm girl wasn’t the path to glamour and honor at my high school. Or perhaps the problem was just being a tall, geeky, uncoordinated, not-cool farm girl…For instance, I would never have even considered trying out for the cheerleader squad. Nor would I have ever presumed to be elected Prom Queen, or even one of the Princess Attendants. I knew the limits of my personal popularity.

But, one year, I realized that there was queen contest for which I was uniquely qualified! The Future Farmers of America sponsored an event each year. There was an assembly, a dance, and a contest as part of their status as one of the “big deal” clubs in our school. (No, seriously–they had a large membership, and officers, and went to state and national events every year. FFA was an organization with clout in our world.)

So, in my senior year, I decided to enter their queen contest. It wasn’t at all about your appearance, or charisma, or popularity. It was strictly won through points! I could do that! There was a series of events we participated in over the course of the week. One day, there was a cake contest–no sweat! I’d been cooking and baking since I was nine years old. Check! Got my points. Another day involved a tractor-driving obstacle course. And, you had to be able to do some of it in reverse. Again…been driving since I was younger than nine! We had a written test, too, as I recall, about the by-laws of the FFA or their charter, or something. But, if it involved reading, then I could easily master that, too.

I had a little trouble with the snowmobile driving race, because I’d only ever driven a snowmobile a couple of times. This is when I started to care too much, and sort of sold my soul to be the winner. There was a boy who had a big crush on me, but it was not mutual. At all. However…I totally used him to get some practice on a snowmobile, and I may have taken advantage of his position as one of the officers in our FFA to get any influence I could over whatever he could do for me. I still feel like a creep about it, even though high school ended 46 years ago.

But, I nailed the horse saddling event entirely on my own! I watched as two other girls started this timed contest. I noticed how the horse stood still for the saddle blanket, and then took a little side step when the saddle was being hefted his way, so that the first attempt at getting it on his back was thwarted. So, when it was my turn, I stepped along with that wily gelding, and so the saddle landed right where it was supposed to when he didn’t expect it! The horse almost stumbled, he was so surprised. I grabbed up the cinches, and pulled and buckled, and got him all ready in record time! It was my quick time with the saddling that put me over the top!

I had done it! I was finally the queen of something at my high school! My younger sister was the Junior Class attendant. We got crowns, and were honored at the assembly, and had another crowning event at the dance that night. As FFA queen of 1971, I felt honored to represent farmers and farming.

I pretty much knew that I had no desire to marry a farmer and continue the family legacy. Instead, I wanted to be free of the burden of that twice-daily cow milking, and the summers spent hauling thousands of hay bales to keep them fed through our long, long Rocky Mountain winters. Also, I really wanted to go explore the world that lay beyond those beautiful mountains surrounding our isolated valley. But, I was still proud of my heritage, and felt that it was only appropriate that a REAL farm girl was queen of the Future Farmers of America, at least that once.

(My sister is the blonde on my left.)

There are 34 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Looks to me as if you were cute as a kitten.

    • #1
  2. KC Mulville Member
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    Well done.

    • #2
  3. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Aaaw! Now there’s a queen contest I can get behind. Modern feminists got nothing on you.

    • #3
  4. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Sounds like a lot of effort for the win.  And cute picture!

    • #4
  5. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Congrats. Sounds like the girl in the True Grit novel, Mattie Ross!

    • #5
  6. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I think the whole story is a bunch of bull.

    • #6
  7. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I think the whole story is a bunch of bull.

    Cows! Cows! Our cows never even knew a bull, actually. All reproduction at our dairy farm was accomplished by artificial insemination. It was all very clinical. You’d look in the “bull book” and determine what sort of fixes you wanted for the cow’s type–Low udder? Knock knees? Sway back? Then, you’d choose the bull that would mitigate for that in the subsequent off-spring. Also, these bulls were tested and were guaranteed to sire a heifer a large percentage of the time, so you didn’t end up with a useless dairy breed bull calf that wasn’t purebred. Science! What can’t it do?

    • #7
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Sure looks like a beauty contest if I’m going by the picture!

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Good for you!  FFA is still a ‘thing’ around here, and I’m very glad of it.  Beautiful photo.

    • #9
  10. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    I assume all the girls that didn’t win got a participation crown?

    • #10
  11. Pilli Member
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    First, you may have thought yourself to be “geeky”, you weren’t.  Judging by your picture, you were a nice young lady.

    Second, we guys learn early that gals will “use” us.  It’s OK.  For the most part, we don’t mind.  At least you are talking to us.

    Third, thanks for sharing this.  You’ve given us a sweet reminder that there are lives to be lived outside of politics, policies, and Trump-mania.  Also, thank you for providing the lesson that competition is good for us.

    • #11
  12. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Ah, yes, good ol’ Future Farmers of America. Mine didn’t have no Queen contest, but I was elected to compete as the Creed Speaker; of all the hicks in class, I was the most articulate. Raised some Rhode Island Reds to show at the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show, competed in land judging, and raised a feeder pig to about 300 lbs. His name was Wilbur. Still have the blue corduroy with gold stitchin’ jacket in the closet.

    I enjoyed the post.

    • #12
  13. ST Member
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    Rico-chix rock my the world!

    Fun post.  Thanks for sharing it with us plebs and a big congrats on your win.

    • #13
  14. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    We had FFA at our high school too (Illinois).

    • #14
  15. TempTime Member
    TempTime
    @TempTime

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Sure looks like a beauty contest if I’m going by the picture!

    My thoughts exactly!  Congratulations! Great story, well told.

    • #15
  16. Snirtler Member
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Aaaw! Now there’s a queen contest I can get behind. Modern feminists got nothing on you.

    What JustmeinAZ said!

    • #16
  17. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I think the whole story is a bunch of bull.

    Cows! Cows! Our cows never even knew a bull, actually. All reproduction at our dairy farm was accomplished by artificial insemination. It was all very clinical. You’d look in the “bull book” and determine what sort of fixes you wanted for the cow’s type–Low udder? Knock knees? Sway back? Then, you’d choose the bull that would mitigate for that in the subsequent off-spring. Also, these bulls were tested and were guaranteed to sire a heifer a large percentage of the time, so you didn’t end up with a useless dairy breed bull calf that wasn’t purebred. Science! What can’t it do?

    You are outstanding in your field.

    • #17
  18. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I think the whole story is a bunch of bull.

    Cows! Cows! Our cows never even knew a bull, actually. All reproduction at our dairy farm was accomplished by artificial insemination. It was all very clinical. You’d look in the “bull book” and determine what sort of fixes you wanted for the cow’s type–Low udder? Knock knees? Sway back? Then, you’d choose the bull that would mitigate for that in the subsequent off-spring. Also, these bulls were tested and were guaranteed to sire a heifer a large percentage of the time, so you didn’t end up with a useless dairy breed bull calf that wasn’t purebred. Science! What can’t it do?

    You are outstanding in your field.

    I see what you did there

    • #18
  19. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Cows! Cows! Our cows never even knew a bull, actually. All reproduction at our dairy farm was accomplished by artificial insemination. It was all very clinical. You’d look in the “bull book” and determine what sort of fixes you wanted for the cow’s type–Low udder? Knock knees? Sway back? Then, you’d choose the bull that would mitigate for that in the subsequent off-spring. Also, these bulls were tested and were guaranteed to sire a heifer a large percentage of the time, so you didn’t end up with a useless dairy breed bull calf that wasn’t purebred. Science! What can’t it do?

    You are outstanding in your field.

    Huh.  I was thinking the barn.

    • #19
  20. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    Still have the blue corduroy with gold stitchin’ jacket in the closet.

    Now, those were/are really awesome jackets! I thought/think that they are very handsome, and would have been proud to own and wear one.

    • #20
  21. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Isaac Smith (View Comment):

    You are outstanding in your field.

    Huh. I was thinking the barn.

    We stood a lot in both places. Although in the barn, there was also a great deal of squatting, perched on a little stool, milking the old-school cows who resisted the electric/vacuum milking machines.

    • #21
  22. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Pilli (View Comment):
    First, you may have thought yourself to be “geeky”, you weren’t. Judging by your picture, you were a nice young lady.

    I was raised to be a nice young lady. (Thanks Mom and Dad.) I was also raised to work hard, and do a good job, and not to complain. However, I tended to be a little “know-it-all” at school. I didn’t realize, until well after high school, that some people were intimidated by my vocabulary and the information about…um, everything…I’d gleaned from all the books I read, and too freely shared. I’ve learned to be a better listener as a grown-up.

    • #22
  23. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    This is why I read Ricochet.  One of the best of the year so far, thanks.

    • #23
  24. profdlp Member
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Great story!  Much better to strategize your way to a win that to be in a contest where you pay for the implants, then stand on a stage and bat your fake eyelashes hoping for a crown.

    • #24
  25. Boomerang Member
    Boomerang
    @Boomerang

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    Pilli (View Comment):
    First, you may have thought yourself to be “geeky”, you weren’t. Judging by your picture, you were a nice young lady.

    I was raised to be a nice young lady. (Thanks Mom and Dad.) I was also raised to work hard, and do a good job, and not to complain. However, I tended to be a little “know-it-all” at school. I didn’t realize, until well after high school, that some people were intimidated by my vocabulary and the information about…um, everything…I’d gleaned from all the books I read, and too freely shared. I’ve learned to be a better listener as a grown-up.

    I call that having an “instructive personality.” My whole family has it.  You should have been a teacher!

    I’m impressed with your beauty, brains, physical dexterity and strength, and all-around farming skills!  You are my hero!

    • #25
  26. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    Still have the blue corduroy with gold stitchin’ jacket in the closet.

    Now, those were/are really awesome jackets! I thought/think that they are very handsome, and would have been proud to own and wear one.

    My husband used to work for an ag chem company and he went to some meeting that was going on in Kansas City when they still hosted the FFA national convention. That year, Bush 41 was at the convention and all the kids spontaneously sang Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American.”  DH still gets choked up describing the scene. I went a couple of years later and really wanted to holler out ‘Hey You in the Blue Jacket’ to see how many would turn around….

    • #26
  27. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Boomerang (View Comment):
    I call that having an “instructive personality.” My whole family has it. You should have been a teacher!

    I’m impressed with your beauty, brains, physical dexterity and strength, and all-around farming skills! You are my hero!

    Ha, ha! Guess what? I finally finished college the year our oldest son graduated from high school, and I’ve been teaching 4th grade for 22 years now. Guess I found my niche, huh?  And thank you for the lavish compliments.

     

    • #27
  28. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Isaac Smith (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Cows! Cows! Our cows never even knew a bull, actually. All reproduction at our dairy farm was accomplished by artificial insemination. It was all very clinical. You’d look in the “bull book” and determine what sort of fixes you wanted for the cow’s type–Low udder? Knock knees? Sway back? Then, you’d choose the bull that would mitigate for that in the subsequent off-spring. Also, these bulls were tested and were guaranteed to sire a heifer a large percentage of the time, so you didn’t end up with a useless dairy breed bull calf that wasn’t purebred. Science! What can’t it do?

    You are outstanding in your field.

    Huh. I was thinking the barn.

    No whey.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    No whey.

    These puns are getting cheesy.

    • #29
  30. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Arahant (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    No whey.

    These puns are getting cheesy.

    They may be cheesy but I think they are grate!

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.