Vale Rodeo Queen Brogan ends her reign with glitter, flowers and a fast horse
Brogan Bair is wrapping up her year as Vale’s rodeo queen, and as her horse Journey retires, she has big plans for her future.
Brogan Bair enters the ring in July 2021, having been named Vale’s new 4th of July Rodeo Queen. His reign ends when his successor is named to the rodeo on July 4, 2022. (The Enterprise/FILE)
Brogan Bair, Vale’s current 4th of July Rodeo Queen, came to the role naturally.
“I’ve been interested in horses all my life,” she says.
Originally from Vale, she grew up in the family, with three brothers, lots of cattle and a love of the ranching life.
Her father, Rob, is an Owyhee Irrigation District ditch rider, raises purebred Hereford cattle and is a certified farrier and volunteer EMT – “in his spare time”, she joked. Her mother, Darla, works for the state employment department and is an avid horse rider and supporter of her daughter’s rodeo pursuits.
As a little girl, Brogan loved seeing rodeo queens in the parade, with all their glitz and floral displays.
“I thought they were like angels,” she said.
She also wanted to be rodeo royalty.
Then, in school, she got involved in 4-H and began to aspire to a career with horses. After graduating from Vale High School in 2017, she attended Treasure Valley Community College for two years, studying in the Equine Science and Horse Production program.
In 2018, she set her sights on being Vale’s rodeo queen. There were eight suitors that year, and although she was not queen, she was named first runner-up.
The following year she tried out for Queen Nyssa Nite Rodeo and won that title.
She put rodeo aside the following year, traveling to Georgia on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mission coincidentally took her to Perry, Georgia, a town famous for barrel racing competitions, but she was unable to enjoy that part of the stage as the Covid pandemic halted activities.
The changing scene and world events did not dampen his ambition for the royal role in his hometown.
Back in Vale, she tried out for the tiara and sash again at age 22 – her last year of eligibility – and won, becoming the queen of the July 4, 2022 rodeo in Vale.
Brogan Bair smiles in a portrait for the Vale 4th of July Rodeo Queen Facebook page, where she chronicled her activities throughout the year. (Photo courtesy of Brogan Bair)
Now 23, she is wrapping up a whirlwind year of parades, rodeos and community appearances. The experience was great, she says.
“I love traveling with my horse and representing Vale at parades and events,” she said.
Recalling her childhood fascination with queens and their adornments, she said: ‘My mum and I make sure we go all out’ with flowers and sequins all over the place as she makes her official appearances.
In addition to her family’s support, she credits her horse, Journey, and her repertoire of tricks with helping her succeed as a rodeo queen.
“He can dance like the Spanish horses and rear up at the right time,” she said.
In the big entrances he likes to run at full speed and take it very close to the rail – a thrill for the rider and the spectators.
“He loves to play,” she said.
The horse gets all of that from Brogan, who noted that “riding is kind of my thing.” She taught him the movements that attract so much attention on the parade routes.
“He’s one of the horses I was raised with,” and he’s been in the family for about 15 years, she said.
Their teamwork was born out of a kind of disappointment. Brogan said when she was 13 she wanted a pony – but her parents said no.
Undaunted, she decided to work with one of the horses at home: Journey. Started by his mother, the horse went through advanced training and became a crowd pleaser, Brogan said.
At Pendleton last fall, she said, Journey reared up and Round-Up fans went wild shouting “Let ‘er buck!”
Brogan said Journey is likely to retire after this year’s rodeo.
In the meantime, she is making plans for her own future.
As a volunteer for Malheur County 4-H, she and another former Vale Queen, Bo Bourasa, are Superintendents of the Malheur County Ranch Horse Program. They teach weekly ranch horse skills clinics – “working the cows, keeping the cattle and horses and everyone else safe, to better serve the industry.”
Brogan works for D&B Supply in Ontario and would like to be part of the management of the company. She also wants to have her own stud farm and breed horses.
For starters, she already has a young stud, Dude, and is working on his training.
She wants to continue supporting Vale’s rodeo and might even do barrel racing, though she notes that her available horses are either too old or too young for the sport.
As Vale’s next rodeo approaches, Queen Brogan and Journey aren’t slowing down. They will head to rodeos in Eagle, Idaho, Sisters and Nyssa before she hands over her crown to a new queen on the rodeo grounds on July 4.
“I’m super excited to have had my rodeo time, and it will be fun to see who follows,” she said. “I hope I have inspired other people.”
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