By JASON ECK
Three young Mother Lode women with their sights set on becoming queen of the 2003 Mother Lode Roundup were introduced yesterday at the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse Grounds.
Valerie Lagattuta, 18, of Twain Harte, Caitlyn "Caity" Smith, 17, of Twain Harte, and Mallory Wallace, 17, of Copperopolis, are in the running.
The queen will be chosen in May.
Their scores are based 35 percent on horsemanship, 25 percent each on a fashion show and personality interview, 10 percent on impromptu interviews by judges and 5 percent on ticket sales, which breaks any ties.
The winner will receive the Mother Lode Roundup Queen tiara, a custom pleasure saddle, a silver belt buckle, a portrait and frame, $300 and Mother Lode Roundup chaps.
Beginning this month, the three will represent Tuolumne County at a series of events before the Mother Lode Roundup rodeo competition scheduled for May 10 and 11 at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora.
The queen candidates will ride in the Mother Lode Roundup Parade, set for Saturday, May 10, in downtown Sonora.
The 2002 queen, Kie Njirich of Sonora, attended yesterday's event. She will pass her tiara on to one of the following young women:
Valerie Lagattuta, the daughter of Frank and Mandi Aubert, is a senior at Summerville High School in Tuolumne.
Caity Smith, the daughter of Brad and Sally Smith, is a senior at Summerville High School in Tuolumne.
Mallory Wallace, the daughter of John and Barbara Wallace and Hector and Sherry Lozano, is a junior at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp.
Queen candidates began selling tickets last night. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Ticket-sales signs will be posted around town, or call John or Margaret Egger at 928-4844 or 928-4082 or Jim or Jackie Campidonica at 984-4430 or 928-3475 for information.