Heavy is the head that wears the (cardboard) crown: Reporter fulfills royal dream at 100th Greeley Stampede Tea with the Queen

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a few obsessions. While collecting books, cowboy boots, colored sneakers and loving on any and every horse I come into contact with are just a few of my (many) quirks, I am absolutely fanatical about tiaras and the princess culture. So much so that my parents bought me my OWN tiara last year for Christmas. And yes, I do wear it. Let’s just say, if a knight in shining armor rode up into my weedy, un-landscaped yard promising me endless love, a castle and a one-of-a-kind sparkling tiara, I would graciously thank him for his time and effort, however I’d just want the horse and crown. So when I heard the Greeley Stampede was hosting Tea with the Queen, I knew that at 50 years old, my calling had finally come. Upon further research into the event, I found out that not only would I be sharing tea with the reigning Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller, there would also be crown-making crafts, a sash ceremony and the opportunity to ride in the daily parade. GREELEY, CO – JUNE 30:Tribune reporter Tamara Markard, center, waves to the crowd from a float in the parade in her crown and sash during the Tea With The Queen event at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley June 30, 2022. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer) With my queen wave down pat, I was ready to take on the title of Miss (Non) Rodeo Colorado and show these little girls what royalty was all about. Not wanting to miss registering for the event, I called Kevin McFarling, Marketing coordinator for the Greeley Stampede, directly. As I explained that I wanted to be a participant in Tea with the Queen, I was first met with silence from the other end of the phone and then a hesitant, “ooookay” from McFarling.  I chalked up his lack enthusiasm for my impending coronation to the fact that some people get overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with royalty. Calling my parents with the exciting news that our family would finally have a certified royal member, my mom kept repeating “remember, they are little kids” and all my dad could get out was an exasperated, “oh God.” Miss Rodeo Arkansas Molly Musick pours tea for one of the little royals at the 2022 Tea with the Queen event at the 100th Greeley Stampede. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter) Not letting my folks’ lackluster response to my newfound fame put a damper on my royal calling, I headed out to claim my rightful place on the throne. Walking into the event at the Buckle Club, I was asked to fill out a bio, as all queens have done, telling the group a little about myself. The bio asked the routine questions such as your name, your favorite color, your favorite food and some hobbies. Wanting to start my reign out right, I didn’t hide anything in my bio: Favorite color — pink Favorite food — anything free Hobbies— books, horses and finding a husband (which is kind of a lie. I just want someone to come and get rid of the weeds in my yard for me.) After turning in my bio, I went on to the crown and sash section where, with the help of some real rodeo queens, I adorned my cardboard crown and had my “Future Rodeo Queen” sash pinned on my shirt. Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller, left, and Miss Rodeo America Hailey Frederiksen, right, talk about their crowns with attendees at the 2022 Tea with the Queen event at the 100th Greeley Stampede. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter) Properly pinned and crowned, I took my custom printed name card and plopped down at a table with Miss Missouri Alex Daly, Miss Rodeo Arkansas Molly Musick and a couple of little girls — known as “the competition” — and Miss Rodeo America Hailey Frederiksen to enjoy some socializing and treats. While eating mini cupcakes and brownies, I sized up my competition— around 20 6-8 year old girls. With their impeccably coiffed curls, perfectly pressed dresses, sparkly cowboy boots and innocent act, these girls were coming in hot to win over the people at the tea party and Stampede. Around 20 little girls attended the annual Tea with the Queen event on Thursday at the Greeley Stampede. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter) While cuteness counts, we all know the monarchy is a cutthroat game so I came prepared in my Ariat cowgirl jeans, gleaming belt buckle, dusty smelly boots that I wore while covering five days of rodeo events and lacking any guilt if things got to the point where I had to push a little girl out of the way to snag that extra glittering jewel to glue on my crown. We all know royal heads were lost over the decades during fights for the crown and Tea with the Queen was no different. Plus, I had been hanging out all week with 2019 Miss Rodeo Colorado Kellie Stockton, so I had backup should I need to throw a revolt over the Stampede kingdom. During the tea, Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller taught us some tips on how to properly strut the catwalk to model. Of course, I crushed it with my smelly boots and lack of coordination. Rodeo queens from across the U.S. came out to support Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller, seated center, as well as participate in the Tea with the Queen event at the 100th Greeley Stampede. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter) After some more pomp and circumstance and a round of photos, we were escorted out to the parade route where our carriage (actually, it was a trailer with some bales of hay in the middle to sit on) was parked. Piling into the back, we all practiced our pre-parade waves. Since capturing the history of any royal reign is vital, Greeley Tribune photographer — and now Royal Photographer for the (Non) Queen — Alex McIntyre accompanied me and my tiny cohorts on the Greeley Stampede’s daily parade around the park, snapping photos of us as well as our adoring fans who lined the path. Just knowing that I was the reason behind their smiles and happiness filled my heart with glee. After circling back to where we originally started the parade, my reign as the unofficial queen of the 100th Greeley Stampede came to an end. While it was a short, I look forward to passing my crown over to the heads of the next capable young ladies of the Stampede. If you missed Thursday’s events and festivities at the 100th Greeley Stampede, you still have a few more days left as the popular event is set to run through Monday, July 4. For more information on the schedule of events, tickets, parking, clear bag policy and more, go to http://www.greeleystampede.org. GREELEY, CO – JUNE 30:Tea With The Queen participants wave to parade goers from the back of a float at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley June 30, 2022. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Heavy is the head that wears the (cardboard) crown: Reporter fulfills royal dream at 100th Greeley Stampede Tea with the Queen

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