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Riggs representing sport she loves

Shelby Riggs represented her rodeo with pride Wednesday night.

Riggs rode around the Horseman's Sports Arena at the start of the Miller Lite Bull Bash, showing off her new reign as Junior Miss Rodeo Aberdeen.

"The Bull Bash is perfect for Shelby because she doesn't have to put on a bunch of miles, but she's going to be seen and her title is going to be seen," Aberdeen pageant committee member and Ethan native Jennifer Martinez said.

For the past three years, Riggs has represented rodeos and this year is no different. The Mitchell native won her fourth rodeo queen title Aug. 11.

She's won three prior titles -- Corn Palace Stampede Princess 2010, Wessington Springs Foothills Rodeo Junior Queen 2011 and Corn Palace Stampede Junior Queen 2012.

"It's a really great program, and you get to represent the sport and way of life you love," said Riggs, who will represent the Aberdeen rodeo this year before moving on to another rodeo queen competition. "You want to be the best representative of your rodeo as possible."

To claim the titles, contestants must win judges over in several aspects. In the competition, contestants are judged on horsemanship, impromptu questions, a speech and modeling. This year, Riggs did her speech on new technology in rodeo -- including a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association app.

"I was really honored and surprised when I won," said Riggs, who competed against two other contestants from Aberdeen. "You can't tell who's going to win because the competition is good. It feels great to represent a great rodeo."

Once crowned with a rodeo title, the winner is encouraged to attend certain events throughout the year -- such as an PRCA rodeos, parades, county fairs, etc.

Martinez, who joined the committee 10 years ago, said Aberdeen hosts a very good pageant, yet it's hard to find good girls to compete in pageants in general.

"Staying involved keeps me updated in the pageant world, and I've coached young girls and am open to helping girls do this," said Martinez, who competed in rodeo queen contests when she was younger. "My closet's open to lending clothes because it does get expensive. We want girls to have a chance to participate without having to fork over thousands of dollars."

Martinez said she works with Riggs during the year and encourages all rodeo queens to compete in the Miss Rodeo South Dakota and Junior Miss Rodeo South Dakota competitions -- which are in July.

Riggs added that's something she has in mind for the future.

"I definitely want to continue doing it and would recommend it to anyone and would help them out," Riggs said.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.