FARMINGTON -- Excitement swirls around rodeo and royalty pageants, but for Shania Downing, a candidate for Lincoln Riding Club Junior Queen, one day tops them all.
When Shania was 10 years old, she was baptized in the White River in true cowgirl style making a public profession of her faith, an experience she describes as "the most exciting day of her life" -- a joy akin to walking up to the rodeo secretary's office and discovering that all of her entry fees needful to attain eternal life have been paid in full.
Shania is highly active in her church "Cowboy Corner Post Church," of Siloam Springs.
This is her second year of competing for the LRC Junior Queen title, and Shania feels confident she's a much stronger candidate this year after finishing as first runner-up in 2019. She won the horsemanship portion of last year's competition riding Ace, a 12-year-old AQHA bay gelding Shania calls "prance boy."
Shania's other horse is equally capable. Stormy, an 11-year-old AQHA brown mare was born and raised on their farm and Shania refers to Stormy as her "heart horse."
Shania is the 15-year- old daughter of Shane and Angelina Downing, of Farmington. Shania is in ninth grade at Farmington Junior High School. Shania aspires to become an Equine Nutritionist when she grows up. Shania has been riding horses since she could walk, so running the queen pattern just seems natural to her.
Shania is a member of the Arkansas Fillies Drill Team, an offshoot of Lincoln Riding Club. Shania loves to run barrels, poles, and rope. She has won numerous ribbons and even a couple buckles. Shania competed in the 2019 LRC Junior Queen contest and placed first runner-up and won horsemanship. Shania also placed first-runner up at the Miss Huntsville pageant when she was 8 years old.
She also enjoys reading, playing basketball, and spending time with her corgis, Chloe, Rooster, and Whiskey. Shania has received many certificates and was picked to become a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
Rodeo has helped Shania mold her personality and "become an incredibly supportive person" and has inspired her to work hard towards her goals and dreams.
"I would love to be able to represent such an amazing rodeo and also encourage others to go for their dreams no matter what," Shania said.
Shania wants to become Junior Miss Lincoln Riding Club to help promote rodeo, a sport she feels benefits from proactive promotion on the part of cowboys and cowgirls.