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Ronan girl named runner-up for Miss Teen Rodeo Montana

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GREAT FALLS — “I have a dream,” Keenan Hall said in her speech in the Miss Teen Rodeo Montana pageant this year. “A big sky country dream, where a girl like me could be royalty.”

Keenan Hall, a vibrant 14-year-old, has a message for all Montanans, young and old. If you have a dream, go for it. She did. 

The Ronan eighth-grader was the runner-up in the Miss Teen Rodeo Montana this weekend in Great Falls.

The young lady was the youngest contestant in the complex competition that lasted all weekend during the Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo. It was a pageant that she claimed gave her the opportunity for personal growth and to establish self-reliance and independence.

Though her parents stayed down the hall from her in the hotel, Hall was not allowed to speak to them during the four-day competition, nor was she allowed to use a cell phone.

“I came out a completely different person,” Hall explained. “Libby (Gurnett) deserved to win. She was really confident but sweet.”

“This whole thing has helped me so much with my confidence,” Hall added.

Gurnett, the17-year-old who won the competition, is from Helena and had competed in pageants such as these before, as had the other contestants.

For Hall, however, this was her first competition and certainly won’t be her last.

“You hear about different addictions,” Hall said. “Rodeo queen is an addiction.”

“There is no one time,” she jokes.

The young ladies were judged in personality, horsemanship and projection. They competed daily in interviews, rides and written exams on horsemanship. The girls worked selling programs and calendars, created a commercial for a sponsor, and they helped to round up the littlest cowboys, bouncing around on stick horses at the kiddie rodeo.

The girls were also required to color-coordinate their outfits. Their jeans and their boots had to match perfectly, while their button-up shirts and hats had to coordinate as well. 

Another stipulation mandated that the young ladies must wear their cowboy hats at all times.

“If your hat comes off, your head better be on it!” Hall jokes.

For the 14-year-old, the seemingly endless wardrobe changes became a non-issue, thanks to the generosity of Montanans. When people found out that she was competing in the pageant, friends and neighbors showered her with enough pageant clothes to compete. She and her family purchased nothing, save a few pairs of Wranglers.

This act of generosity inspired Hall’s speech in which she praises Montanans for their generosity and willingness to assist her in achieving her dream.

The pageant was not without its perks. The girls received gifts for all their hard work and dedication, including Miss Teen Rodeo Montana jackets, jewelry and makeup. 

The winner won a scholarship to the college or university of her choice, an engraved briefcase, horse tack and of course, the coveted Miss Teen Rodeo banner.

Though this was her first rodeo pageant, Hall is definitely not a stranger to the rodeo scene. Hall has previously competed in roping, pole bending, barrel racing and goat tying. It was her love for the rodeo that eventually led her to compete in this contest. Flipping through the Cowboy’s Digest one day in August, Hall saw the advertisement for Miss Teen Rodeo Montana and discussed the idea with her parents. 

Within weeks the family had raised enough support from Ronan businesses to fill two pages of the rodeo program with advertising, and Hall was entered in the contest. 

After such a positive experience, Hall is dead-set on returning to the pageant next year, and thinks she has a good shot at the Miss Teen Rodeo Montana crown. 

“Next year I think I am going to win because of all the positive feedback,” Hall said.  

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