Miss Rodeo Kansas.

The Miss Rodeo Kansas pageant continued on Friday afternoon with a speech competition at the Senior Center. The speech portion of the competition follows a horsemanship competition that took place on Thursday.

During the speech competition, each contestant gave their opening statement, then answered four questions. The first question, chosen out of a hat by the contestant, tested the contestant’s knowledge of rodeo. The next three questions were presented by the Miss Rodeo Kansas president, Renae Skelton, all three regarding the rodeo.

Shannon McLachlan kicked off the queens portion competition.

“Today I would like to talk about how the best things in life take the most time to develop,” she said in her opening statement. “I’m only 22, I still have a lot of developing to do, but I know that all the best things in life are going to take time.

“One of the best people I know of, Mr. Walt Disney, knew at a very young age that he wanted to be an animator. To become an animator, you have to hone your skills, and that can take years and years. He lost two animation studios and one character before he finally came up with everyone’s favorite mouse, Mickey Mouse. We all know as athletes and queens that it takes a lot of time to hone your horsemanship skills and your style skills, and sometimes it takes years to train a horse.”

McLachlan has had a passion for horses for as long as she can remember, she says. She is currently attending Pittsburg State University, majoring in communications and minoring in dance.

Mikhayla DeMott of Rio, Illinois was the next queen contestant to speak.

After she answered her random question, Skelton asked DeMott “what do you think is the most important job of being a rodeo queen?”

“I think the most important job of being a rodeo queen is getting out in the community and education people of all ages about agriculture and the sport of rodeo,” DeMott said in response. “As an agriculture and journalism major, I know how important this is to bridge the gap between the consumer or people and the sport, and there are a lot of issues with consumers not understanding where their food is coming from and not understanding the sport of rodeo as well.”

DeMott, 22, is currently employed by the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education at Kansas State University. She says she has family roots in Kansas and has called Kansas home for the last 4 years.

The last to speak for the queen’s portion of the pageant was Brooke Wallace of New Cambria.

When Skelton asked Wallace why she feels the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is so special, she responded excitedly.

“I feel what makes this rodeo so special is our stock contractor, the Harry Vold Rodeo Company,” Wallace responded. “We have to think back to when rodeo started, they have been sending stock to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo since it started, so I can attest that this is one of the reasons why the Roundup Rodeo is so great.”

Wallace says that she started riding horses when she was only 2 years old. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in apparel design while also being a member and officer of the rodeo club at her school.

Next up in the speech competition was the teen portion. The first to speak was

Jaylinn Pfeifer of Ellis.

Pfiefer kicked off her opening statement with a discussion on the craze of rodeo.

“What do you get when you cross a 150-pound man with a 1,700-pound bull?” she questioned the audience. “It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it can actually be a recipe for success. Growing up in the western lifestyle of Kansas and experiencing the amazing sport of rodeo has taught me many valuable life lessons like courage and mental toughness with a little dose of crazy that it takes for a man to climb onto a bull.”

Pfeifer, 17, resides on her family farm with her parents. She will be a senior at Ellis High School this year and is active in FFA and 4-H.

Next to speak was Emmie Noyes of Linwood.

“Rodeo is tough. Some days you’ll be on top of the world, and others not so much,” Noyes said in her opening speech. “That’s one of the most difficult things about rodeo, pushing through when times get hard. I can vouch for this, last fall, I went through a slump. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, I was frustrated with myself and with my horses. We weren’t on our A game, no matter how often we practiced. After some wise words from a friend, a lots of hard work, we turned our bad luck streak into the best luck. To get to the stars, you have to go through some difficulties.”

Noyes, 16, will be a junior this year at Basehor-Linwood High School. She is a member of the National Barrel Horse Association, the Kansas Barrel Racing Association and the National Little Britches Rodeo Association.

Next, Pepper Kay Splechter of Wichita was the last to speak of all the teen contestants.

Splechter began her opening statement by talking about how much she loves her horse, Honey.

“This is my addiction, I wake up every morning craving some Honey,” she said. “There is not a moment that goes by where I don’t think about Honey. I have even cried with Honey, I’ve laughed with Honey and I’ve shared many, many memories with honey. You probably think that this obsession is crazy, but I guarantee you, if you could have just one taste of this amazing fulfillment that I have, you too would share the same addiction.

“If you see me at a race or a rodeo with my horse Honey, be sure to give her a pat on the nose, and you too will share the same addiction that I have.”

Splechter, 16, spent a lot of her life on a family ranch raising horses and cattle. She says she spent most of her days helping her grandmother and grandfather sort and doctor cattle, which is still a common task for her today, she claims.

The coronation and fashion show for the 2017 Miss Rodeo Kansas and Teen Pageant will begin at 11:30 a.m. today at the Knights of Columbus.

To contact the writer of this story, email egarcia@dodgeglobe.com.