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Twelve young ladies gathered in Ramona on April 17 to vie for one of four positions on the royal court of the 2010 Ramona Rodeo season.

Through the swirling dust and thunder of pounding hooves, rodeo-queen hopefuls rode their hearts out for the horsemanship portion of the competition Saturday morning. Looks of intense concentration and nervous smiles could be noted on the youngest competitors. The more experienced competitors charged by the judges, executing patterns of movement in varying speeds.

The girls returned Saturday night to the Olive Pierce Middle School’s performing arts center for the final phase before coronation: the speech. The speech portion of the program demonstrates poise but provides a bit of insight into contestants’ personalities as well.

Young Miss winner Bridgett LaHaye’s outgoing personality came through loud and clear when she was asked, “If you could be Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, or Batman, which superhero would you be and why?” LaHaye didn’t miss a beat. “I would rather be Catwoman because when it gets right down to it, I can really bring it to the table.”

The crowd roared, and LaHaye punctuated the statement with a cross between a hiss and a meow as she gave the air a swipe with imaginary claws.

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