Glacier High Junior Crowned Miss Teen Rodeo

By Beacon Staff

There’s a new Miss Teen Rodeo Montana for 2014, and she calls the Flathead home.

At 17, Glacier High School junior Talli Carmalt has taken on a statewide responsibility as Montana’s Miss Teen Rodeo for 2014. She’s now responsible for representing one of the oldest and deepest traditions in the Big Sky state.

“I am basically promoting the sport, representing it and advertising it in any way I can,” Carmalt said in an interview last week.

Carmalt was crowned Miss Teen Rodeo Montana on Jan. 12, after competing in a Great Falls pageant from Jan. 8-12. As Miss Teen Rodeo, Carmalt will travel the state throughout the year, visiting events large and small to promote the sport she grew up with.
“I’ve been around it since I was young, maybe 6 or 7,” she said.

She’s also grown up with one of her buddies, Gunner, a 12-year-old buckskin-colored quarter horse. Gunner will also travel the state, which should bring the two of them closer than ever, Carmalt said.

While Gunner is kind and patient with anyone who rides him, Carmalt said there’s a special bond between them.

“He’s a one-person horse,” she said. “He’s a mama’s boy.”

Carmalt’s previous rodeo experience is relegated mainly to her childhood, when she participated in barrel racing and earned a few belt buckles. But rodeo events took a back seat to other sports as she got older, Carmalt said, and she’s looking forward to getting back into the saddle.

She intends on participating in high school rodeo, and got back into barrel racing last year. Otherwise, her favorite rodeo event is team roping, and she wants to get involved with breakaway roping.

To become Miss Teen Rodeo Montana, Carmalt won out over numerous other contestants in Great Falls. The contestants were judged in multiple categories, including rodeo and equine knowledge, horsemanship, speech and a set of personal interviews with the judges. Carmalt won the personality and photogenic categories.

Winning the title came with a belt buckle, a tiara, and five sashes, along with the responsibility of representing rodeo at multiple events, including the upcoming Special Olympics in Whitefish.

Carmalt will appear with Miss Rodeo Montana 2014, Laramie Pursley of Chinook. The Miss Rodeo Montana competition has taken place since at least 1955, when Nona Brown won the title. The titleholder list also includes Judy Martz, Montana’s former governor, who held the title from 1961-1962.

Before she was crowned this year, Carmalt was the first runner up in the 2012 Northwest Montana Pro Rodeo Princess competition. She holds a 3.9 GPA at Glacier High School, and intends on spending two years at Flathead Valley Community College before transferring to Montana State University in Bozeman to get her a degree in veterinary medicine.

To help pay for her statewide travels this year, Carmalt and her parents, Nuggett and Jeff, will host a coronation fundraiser on April 12. It will likely be held at the Expo Building on the Flathead County Fairgrounds, she said, and will include a silent auction, live entertainment, and food.

The silent auction items the family has gathered are already top notch, Carmalt said, and include two firearms and a flight for up to three people, among other gifts.

It will be open to the public and $20 per plate.

“It’s going to be really fun,” Carmalt said.

For more information on the Miss Rodeo Montana program, visit www.missrodeomontana.com.

Clarification: This article has been changed to reflect that Carmalt did not win each category in the January competition, but was chosen as the overall pageant winner.

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