Wapello, Iowa, native Cheyanne Hunt, recently named the 2018 Sidney Iowa Rodeo Queen, is looking forward to meeting fans this Saturday following the 4 p.m. rodeo parade on the Square in Sidney.

An autograph session will be conducted at that time at the Rodeo Museum. Fans will also have opportunities to meet the Rodeo Queen following the nightly shows Friday and Saturday at the arena. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Hunt is a 2016 grad from Wapello High School and is looking forward to a 2019 graduation date from Iowa State University where she is majoring in animal science and pre veterinary studies.

Hunt’s love of rodeo and horses were established in her youth. She said she’s spent the entirety of her life around horses.

“I have been riding horses since I could sit up straight,” she said.

The passion for rodeo came during Hunt’s time as a student with the FFA program in Wapello.

Students in the FFA played a major role in helping to organize the long running Wapello rodeo, which Hunt said began in the 1980s and then became a pro event 10 years ago.

Hunt said her dad was on the original committee when the rodeo began and was asked to come back and help with the rodeo. During that time, Hunt was the president of the FFA at Wapello, so she had the privilege and honor of getting to work with her dad to promote the Wapello event.

“I fell in love with the sport and decided to become an ambassador for it,” she said.

The position of Sidney Iowa Rodeo Queen will put Hunt in that ambassador position. And she says she’s looking forward to it.

Hunt was chosen out of four candidates. There were originally six, four of whom came to the pageant event in Sidney. The candidates were tested on their knowledge of current events and rodeo and were also judged on their personality and their horsemanship skills.

Hunt said that good horsemanship involves developing a relationship with the animal such that it’s obvious to all that the horse responds well to all commands. When done right, Hunt said it’s easy for people to see that the horse and rider work well together and have worked together for a significant period of time.

Currently, Hunt said she is riding an 18 year old gelding and she says the horse responds better to her than it might to another rider. Although the horse is well trained, Hunt said most people could not command the gelding as well as she does.

After the conclusion of the queen contest at Sidney, Hunt said she was thrilled to find out that she had been elected and remembers taking the Queen’s ride around the arena at Sidney, adding that it was the biggest arena she has been in and that the ride was an adrenaline rush that left her out of breath with tears streaming down her face.

Looking forward to her year as the Sidney Iowa Rodeo Queen, Hunt will attend a number of events including the Tri State Rodeo, a September event in Fort Madison during which Miss Iowa Rodeo is crowned and the Iowa Horse Fair, which is conducted at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in the spring.

Those events will be fun, but Sidney Iowa’s new Rodeo Queen said her main objective was to promote the Sidney event. She did a little bit of that on Friday at the News-Press office in Nebraska City by encouraging everyone to come out to the show. She said folks are guaranteed to have a good time and said the bull fighting in particular was one of her favorite parts of the show.