Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Michaela Friedrich
Cheney Free Press 

Lamont woman reigns over Cheney Rodeo

 

Roger Harnack | The Gazette

Lamont cowgirl Janaye Wilkie rides the arena and waves to the crowd during the Sunday performance of the Cheney Rodeo.

CHENEY— A Lamont woman took the reigns of the Cheney Rodeo as queen from July 9-11.

Coming from a wheat ranch and cattle farm in Lamont, Janaye Wilkie, 19, provided the highlight of the rodeo grand entry.

She also participated in the rodeo parade, assisted in the arena and signed autographs for young fans at the PRCA event.

During a pre-rodeo interview, she attributed her passion and interest in horses to her grandpa, who was heavily into the rodeo culture and lifestyle.

Her grandfather, Jim Hoffman, ran the Seven Springs Dairy Ranch, just west of Davenport.

“I grew up on a horse ranch and my grandpa raised bucking horses,” Wilkie said. “Since then, I’ve just always been around it attending rodeos since before I could walk.”

During rodeo events, Wilkie’s horse “SheRa” is with her every step of the way.

“She’ll be the horse I ride for the whole reign. I’ve had the same horse my whole life,” Wilkie said. “She was a gift. I started riding her when I was 7 or 8 years old —she was 3 when I got her.

“My boss at Basin Feed and Supply picked her name. She and my grandpa picked out the horse together at an auction or something like that.”

Wilkie had plenty to do before rodeo weekend, including attending the Torchlight Parade, tabling at Cheney Mayfest and participating in the Coulee City Rodeo and Parade.

She’s also charged with organizing the Queen’s Luncheon in Cheney.

“All of the rodeo queens gather and do lunch to get to know each other,” Wilkie said. “I’ve gotten to know local queens a lot better which is cool.”

Wilkie said rodeo queens typically travel to attend each other’s rodeos for support. Her mother has been her go-to travel buddy.

“This has been a good bonding experience with my mom,” she said. “I’ve been on the road with her every weekend and it has been fun for the two of us I think.”

Wilkie said she’ll continue to spend weekends traveling the rest of the summer with her mother Denise Wilkie, attending other events as Miss Cheney Rodeo.

Her mother and father, Greg Wilkie, and her step-parents have been significant proponents of Janaye Wilkie’s presence in the rodeo community.

“None of this would’ve been possible without their help with transportation, putting together flowers for parades and setting up booths,” she said. “They’ve all experienced a lot of late nights helping me out and that’s something I’m really grateful for.”

Her time leading up to rodeo weekend was been full of valuable, she said.

“This has been a good growing experience,” Wilkie said. “A lot of the friends that I’ve made doing this are probably going to be friends that I’ll have for my whole life.”

 

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