Lesley Henderson

Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Lesley Henderson / Cowpokes

Craig County cowgirl Lesley Henderson is saddling up for the Cowpokes at the 75th Cavalcade Rodeo. Lesley, who hails from Vinita, is the 24-year-old daughter of Butch and Lil Henderson.

A few words from this cowgirl:

"The role of a rodeo queen reaches far beyond the arena fence. She’s a symbol of rodeo, but she’s also a conduit for bridging the gap between the current and next generation of competitors and fans. Her impact on rodeo is long-lasting in the sense that she only gets one year with her title, but people will remember how she made them feel for a lifetime.

"Rodeo is already a large family, but there’s plenty of room for more people. I think that’s a message rodeo needs to work hard at sending out. My plan to help make that happen is to attend events that are unrelated to rodeo to connect with potential new fans and competitors. Horse shows are a perfect example of this; plenty of people could also rodeo but just might not realize it.

"Back in 2007, I was blessed to win the barrel racing at Cavalcade. It was the biggest goal of my rodeo season that year; I couldn’t hardly believe I accomplished it. Riding my dad’s team roping mare made it even more exciting for me. We recently had to put that mare down, which makes me cherish that moment even more now than ever before."

The Cowpokes organized in 1980. Today, the club is 95 members strong. The Cowpokes host an annual cookout, participate in a Hogs & Hotrods Car Show, enjoy parades and spending the week together at Cavalcade each year.

Club officers include: President Treavor Carey; Vice-President Dan Hamm; Secretary, Noel Austin, and Treasurer Debbie Trower. The club won the prestigious All-Around Club award at the 71st Cavalcade in 2017.