Columbia County's own rodeo queen wins national pageant after week of competition
It was the end of one long journey and the beginning of another as Mackenzie Carr was crowned the country's new Miss Rodeo America during a ceremony in Las Vegas on Dec. 10.
Her victory came after a week of competitions where the Vernonia resident's horsemanship, knowledge and looks were put under scrutiny by judges.
Friends and family cheered her on as she won the title, which comes with a $20,000 scholarship and a host of other prizes, including high-end clothes and jewelry.
After the victory, Carr's mother Barb, who was in Las Vegas with her daughter, jumped on the Internet to express thanks to all who have shared their support.
'Your support has meant everything to all of us. As can be imagined we are all a little stunned and still in shock at the moment,' she said.
Just as with her year-long duties as Miss Rodeo Oregon - only on a much larger scale - Carr will spend
2012 on the road, traveling across the country to various events in order to represent the Miss Rodeo America organization and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
'As Miss Rodeo America, I will strive to ensure that the western way of life lives on in the hearts and minds of young and old,' Carr said in a statement.
Carr graduated from Lower Columbia College studying speech communications and plans to return to Oregon State University to get her bachelor's degree in Construction Management Engineering. She graduated from Vernonia High School in 2008.
Her aptitude to all-things-rodeo shined through during the series of competitions. In addition to the top prize, Carr won first place in five out of eight categories, including appearance, personality, horsemanship, speech and spirit. She also won the Scrapbook Award. Those honors brought her another $8,250 in scholarships and cash.
'She will be an absolute joy to work with this next year,' said Miss Rodeo America Pageant Media Chairperson Shelia Croft.
Carr takes over the reins from 2011 Miss Rodeo America McKenzie Haley, from South Dakota.
A 'welcome home' reception for Mackenzie Carr will take place this Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Vernonia High School gym, located at 299 Bridge St.