Tech Sophomore Crowned N.M. State Fair Queen
|Catherine Blythe and her mother, Nadine, during the State Fair in Albuquerque.
Catherine Blythe was crowned
In the moments leading up to the announcement, Blythe was simply happy to be in the arena representing
“I was just standing there thinking that I was hallucinating,” she said. “They announced that I won the horsemanship competition and I knew I was in the top five and that was unreal. When I realized that I won, I was in shock. It’s one of those dreams you have since you were four years old and it’s coming true.”
|Catherine Blythe in the arena during the early portion of the State Fair competition.
|Catherine Blythe reacts to the announcement that she is the 2011 State Fair Rodeo Queen.
Blythe is currently a sophomore at Tech, studying petroleum engineering. She said she decided to stay at home and attend Tech because she could stay closer to her horses and because Tech offers an excellent education at an affordable rate.
She has been competing in rodeo events for more than 10 years, with a top goal of earning the
Her childhood dreams came true in
“My parents took me to the state fair when I was 3 or 4,” Blythe said. “I saw all the cowboys and cowgirls and I wanted to be like them. So I started taking riding lessons.”
Blythe has been taking riding lessons ever since with Sonja Gerard of Socorro. Her biggest champion, critic and supporter has always been her mother, Nadine. When she was 9 years old, Catherine got her current horse, Victorio Scout. She broke her horse and has spent the last 10 years training Victorio to be a state champion steed.
“My mother grew up on a ranch and she has helped me out a lot with looking the part,” Catherine said. “There’s a lot of stuff you don’t know you’re doing unless someone is watching with a critical eye – sitting in a lawn chair and yelling at you. It can be annoying, but it helps a lot.”
The state fair competition includes a written test, horsemanship, personal interviews and speeches. Contestants make appearances around the fairgrounds and participate in the Grand Entry preceding the evening rodeos. Half of the scoring is based on two three-minute rides; the other half is based on the interview, speech, written test and modeling.
“Anything I have to do, I teach him to do it and we go do it,” she said. “I feel like horses should be able to do everything.”
For the state fair horsemanship competition, each competitor rides a set routine, then has three minutes to work the arena and demonstrate her skills and showcase the horse’s abilities.
The written test covers rodeo rules, the history of the State Fair and
For the next 12 months, Blythe will reign as the New Mexico State Fair Queen. Her official duties begin this weekend with appearances at the Miss Turquoise Circuit pageant in
Next summer, she hopes to attend as many county fairs as possible. Ultimately, the State Fair officials do not mandate any appearances for the Queen; however, Blythe hopes to fulfill her role as best as she can.
“It’s a big responsibility and a lot of fun,” she said.
– NMT –
By Thomas Guengerich/