PASCO — For 17 of Shelby Eckenberg’s nearly 19 years, she’s been riding a horse.
“I’ve been riding all my life,” said the newly crowned Moses Lake Roundup Queen. “Pretty much since I could walk.”
Eckenberg beat out Breana Daniels to win the crown of Miss Moses Lake Roundup on Saturday after an intense competition of horsemanship, interviews, speeches and modeling.
“We have to be able to carry flags and control our horse while doing run-ins,” she said of the horsemanship part of Saturday’s competition. “We ride our own and unknown horses. Sometimes you don’t have an opportunity to bring your own horse.”
“She won all the categories except for congeniality,” said Jill Tonne, queen director for the Columbia Basin Rodeo Association, which oversees the Moses Lake Roundup. “She ran away with it.”
Eckenberg is a native of Mattawa and is in her first year of pre-nursing studies at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, and hopes to continue her studies and earn a nursing degree at either CBC or Washington State University Tri-Cities.
“CBC has all four of a BS in nursing degree,” she said.
However, Eckenberg is no stranger to “queening,” as she calls it, given she is currently the crowned Teen Rodeo Washington Queen.
“I started prepping in June,” she said. “I did this so I could represent the rodeo association. It gives me the opportunity to share the Western way of life.”
Because a crown “gives you a way to reach out to the community,” Eckenberg said as Miss Moses Lake Roundup she will focus on mental health. As Miss Teen Rodeo Washington, her community focus was breast cancer and military awareness.
“Mental health is a real issue,” she said. “It’s okay to talk about, to speak out and ask for help. You’re not alone facing issues.”
For the next couple of months, she will continue to attend events as Miss Teen Rodeo 2018 while she also begins attending events as the newly crowned Miss Moses Lake Roundup 2019.
And she will continue to attend school as well.
“I’ll focus on school Monday through Thursday, and the Friday to Sunday is strictly for ‘queening,’” she said. “School is a huge priority for me.”
And now so is the Moses Lake Roundup.
“I would love to see everyone at our rodeo next August 15, 16 and 17,” she said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at email@example.com.