By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER
After winning Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality, horsemanship, poise and personality, as well as the speech contest, Caity Smith, 17, of Twain Harte was crowned the new Mother Lode Roundup Queen last night.
"I was just like, Oh my gosh! They just called my name!'" Caity said this morning. "It was really fun to walk down to the end of the stage with my tiara on, because they were all standing and cheering for me.
"Then I saw my dad and mom and they were crying. That's my biggest memory."
About 275 people sat in the audience at Sonora Elks Lodge to watch Caity beat out competitors Valerie Lagattuta of Twain Harte and Mallory Wallace of Copperopolis.
Mallory sold the most rodeo tickets, and earned first runner-up.
For her win, Caity will receive a tiara, saddle, a pair of leather chaps, silver headstall for her horse, a silver belt buckle, a portrait and frame, use of a new horse trailer during her reign, $200 in cash and a $2,000 scholarship given in memory of posseman and former parade grand marshal John Kelley by his widow, Joyce.
The Summerville High School senior said the hour-long hair appointments were worth her patience, as were the tubes and compacts of goop and powder.
"Usually, going to school, I wear no makeup," Caity said. She normally skips the Aquanet, too, on her naturally curly locks.
But for queen events, "we use a lot of hair spray," she said.
Caity will sport her royal look during the Mother Lode Roundup Parade, and in grand entries for both the May 10 and May 11 rodeo sessions. Daughter of Brad and Sally Smith of Twain Harte, she will also represent the posse at parades and other events throughout the coming year.
Caity will miss a few days of school this week to tend to Roundup affairs, but said "the teachers are really flexible," and everyone is letting her make up assignments.
And Caity doesn't have sports practices to miss.