Local woman Kylie Van Uden, 29, is riding high following her crowning as the Western Australian Rodeo Queen 2024.
The title of Rodeo Queen comes with the responsibility of being the “face” or ambassador for the sport in the State.
Mayor Terresa Lynes said Ms Van Uden, a horticulturalist, was a valued member of the City’s Parks and Environment team.
“We have a lot of really interesting people working at the City of Gosnells – now we can say that we have our very own Rodeo Queen,” she said.
“Kylie is a much-loved staff member who has been working here for more than 12 years – she started as an apprentice, worked her way up to horticulturalist and is now the Parks and Environmental technical officer.
“City staff were proud to help support her fundraising efforts for her Rodeo Queen campaign.”
Ms Van Uden first started riding as a three-year-old under the encouragement of her mother and started endurance riding as a teenager.
While Ms Van Uden had competed in equestrian disciplines such as dressage, it was only last year that she tried rodeo after a nudge from a friend.
“My best friend Melissa Foster competes in rodeos and I would go to help and support her,” Ms Van Uden said.
“In August last year, Mel asked if I wanted to drive in the truck with her, for the rodeo in Onslow, and I was more than happy to go and help.
“But then she turned around and said to me, ‘You’re coming all this way – would you like to compete in the barrel racing?’
“I took that opportunity and have never looked back.”
Less than a year into competing in the sport, Ms Van Uden said she was gobsmacked to be crowned the WA Rodeo Queen 2024 in Wandering.
“My favourite things about rodeo riding are the atmosphere and the adrenaline that you feel before and after a barrel race,” she said.
“Having thousands of people watch you ride is a bit scary yet awesome at the same time.
“I currently have five horses – somehow they keep appearing in the paddock.”
As a female representative for the rodeo in Western Australia, Ms Van Uden said she hoped to encourage more people to take up the sport.
“As someone who has recently entered the world of rodeo, I understand the initial daunting feeling and the uncertainty that can come with it,” she says.
“I was lucky to have someone to help and guide me, and now I want to be that person newcomers can turn to for help and guidance.
“So, to anyone considering getting into rodeo, I say do it – I guarantee you’ll love it.
“Be confident, remember to have fun – horse riding should always be fun – take new opportunities and push yourself to step out of those comfort zones, because life is too short.”