Iowa State Fair Cowgirl Queen Contest

A Day in the Life of A Cowgirl Queen Candidate

Iowa State Fairgrounds 2017

It's no mystery (or maybe it is?) that I LOVE the Iowa State Fair.  Well...Iowa in general.  But the Iowa State Fair brings such joy to my heart.  Having never left this blessed state, I have grown (and learned) to deeply appreciate the hard work of the people that populate it.  Iowa has ranked #1 in the US for Soybean, Corn, Pork, and Egg production...meaning Iowa has 2.1 million-ish farms...and we feed, fuel, and provide for thousands of products made every day.  And with that, comes all of the hard working farmers and their families.  And I love them. Hard.

The Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the great state of Iowa welcoming over a million people from all over the world to showcase our agriculture and industry.  Fairgoers prepare over 65,000 entries to compete in the Fair...everything from showing livestock, crops, banjo contests, tractor pulls, mutton bustin', and so much more.  Kids from all across the state work tirelessly to compete ...and the hard work they put in with their parents and families is a true testament to the work ethic of our communities, big and small.  So basically...I love Iowa and our people, is what I'm getting at.

Cue the Iowa State Fair Cowgirl Queen Contest...

Last year I documented a Day in the Life of a Champion Sheep Showman.  My friend Val lives on a Century farm with her family and her kids have been showing livestock and participating in horse shows for years now.  After I was done with their Day in the Life session she messaged me to tell me I HAD to document the Iowa State Cowgirl Queen Contest.  She found me a family to document and off I was to the Iowa State Fair again this summer.

The Iowa State Fair Cowgirl Queen Contest is a long-time tradition going back to the 1960's and the ONLY one like it in the US...as I'm told.  Each year young ladies from saddle clubs and riding organizations all over the state are invited to compete for the title.

This was Brylee's 2nd year competing in the Cowgirl Queen Contest.  Her and her family worked so hard to prepare this year.  I asked Brylee's dad if him and his wife had grown up showing horses...he chuckled and said, "No...neither of us...but it's the kids' dream".

As Brylee's sister and mom dolled her up for the event, her dad, a pediatric dentist, and brother polished her saddle with a toothbrush for hours.  It was a family affair.  They all worked so hard to have a beautiful, well mannered, healthy horse...and kids with strong work ethic, poise, and control.

As Brylee rode through the competition, it was fun to observe her family watch her intently.  They cheered her on just like she was playing in a National Championship of nearly anything.  It was great and I couldn't help but do it myself.

This was such a fun project to shoot for the day and it will be a fun momento for them to look back on many years from now.

Hoeppners...Thank you SO much for letting me invade your space for the day.  You have an amazing family and I LOVED documenting it.

McKenzie

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