By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Eight Calaveras County cowgirls will ride into the arena at 1 p.m. tomorrow, hoping to ride away with the title of Calaveras Saddle Queen.
"What we're looking for in a queen is someone who is a good horsewoman and is also very pleasant to speak to and has lots of common sense," said Michele Kronkhyte, the contest coordinator.
The competition, in its fifth year, is different from the traditional Miss Calaveras pageant because it focuses almost solely on horseback riding.
Women are judged by a private interview and by their skills in the arena.
In four segments of arena riding, the women must demonstrate the proper control of a horse, riding style, proper posture and how to hold the reins. The women must show they can use their reins to make their horses do certain things such as walk in circles or move backward and must also demonstrate barrel-racing skills.
Finally, the women must give a judged "queen's salute" with their horses running around the edge of the arena, the women must smile, make eye contact with and wave toward the crowd.
"Our major talent is being able to ride horses very well," Kronkhyte said.
The winner will be crowned by 2:30 p.m. and will receive a $200 college scholarship, a silver hat crown and a silver belt buckle.