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Rodeo queen goes to state finals

Rachael Tanzer competes in barrel racing. (courtesy photo)

Rodeo queen goes to state finals

By Ashley Shah

Sixteen year old Rachael Tanzer, born and raised in Scripps Ranch, is now the Miss California High School Rodeo Association District 8 Queen. 

She was crowned with the title on April 20 at the last California High School Rodeo Association (CHSRA) rodeo of the 2023-2024 season in Riverside.

“A rodeo queen is a representative of the rodeo, sponsors and what the rodeos stand for. Our goal is to educate the public about what happens at rodeos,” Tanzer said. “As someone who had been riding horses for a while, I didn’t even know about the high school rodeos, and if I did, I would have gotten involved sooner. I am happy I get the opportunity to spread more awareness about rodeos and make them more common in San Diego.”

In her role as District 8 Queen, she is educating the public through the Miss CHSRA District 8 queen Instagram page @miss_chsra_d8_queen and at the CHSRA rodeos.

“A lot of little kids come up to me and ask me about the rodeos. It is really cute and fun to see their in-
terest,” Tanzer said. “I remember being a little kid and seeing the queens at rodeos and wanting to be them one day. Now I am.”  

Rachael Tanzer rides atop her mount. (courtesy photo)

In June, Tanzer will be competing in the Queen’s contest for the CHSRA State Finals in Bishop, Cal-

“In California, there are nine districts. Each district sends their queen to compete in the state finals, and whoever places first is crowned Miss California High School Rodeo Association Queen,” she said. 

The CHSRA District 8 has about 100 participants. The CHSRA rodeos are for those in high school from freshman to senior year. 

There are nine to 10 rodeos a year that roughly begin in August and end in May. The State Finals in June officially ends the season. 

“In addition to being a part of the queen’s contest at the CHSRA rodeos, I also compete in barrel racing, pole bending, and rifle shooting. I am hoping to get into breakaway roping next season,” Tanzer said. 

While Tanzer may have not qualified for State Finals in her other events this season, she is hoping to do so next season. 

“To place into State Finals for an event, you have to place in the top five within your district. The top five is calculated from an average of your score from all of the rodeos you competed in through the season,” she said. “I am really hoping to place into State Finals next year for barrel racing or pole bending.” 

At the end of this season, Tanzer placed in the top 15th for both pole bending and barrel racing. 

“I am getting closer and closer to my goal for next year,” she said. 

In addition to competing in the CHSRA, Tanzer competes in the California Junior Rodeo Association (CJRA). 

The CJRA runs through the calendar year. There are four different divisions: buckaroo, peewee, junior and seniors. Tanzer competes in the seniors division for those from the ages 14 to 18. 

“In the CJRA, I compete in barrel racing and pole bending as well,” Tanzer said.

To keep up with her rodeos, she practices several times a week with her team and trainer, Mindy Van Loggerenberg, at San Pasqual Valley Ranch in Escondido. 

“Mindy is a great trainer, and she has helped me grow so much. I love my team. We are just there to
support each other. Even though the events aren’t done in teams, and we are competing against
each other at rodeos, we always cheer each other on,” she said. 

While CHSRA and CJRA are newer to Tanzer as she started competing in both rodeo associations around the age of 14, she has been involved in smaller rodeos, jackpots and horseback riding for almost 10 years. 

“I started riding when I was around five years old. My mom had done it when she was younger, so she got me into it. I knew from the first moment I started riding that I loved this,” Tanzer said. “My love and passion for riding is what keeps me going through all the practice and competitions. Your horses really become your family.” 

Outside of riding, Tanzer is interested in aviation. She is a sophomore at Cathedral Catholic High School. 

For more information about the rodeo associations, visit: www.chsra.com and cjra1.org