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2016 Othello Rodeo Queen Savannah Gabel

The Othello Outlook of Othello, Washington

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On the last night of the Othello Rodeo, 2015 queen Jena Bayley crowned her successor before riding her last circuit around the arena as queen.

Out of four contestants, only one could be crowned. Savannah Gabel, of Benton City, was chosen to represent the Othello Rodeo at other regional events during next year's circuit.

A freshman at Columbia Basin College (CBC), she graduated from Richland High School this spring before pursuing her associate's degree.

"I kind of have an undecided major," she said.

After obtaining her associates from CBC she plans to transfer to Washington State University and, perhaps, pursue a career as a doctor.

"I haven't decided what kind of doctor or (what) in the medical field I want to do yet," Savannah said.

Though she lives in Benton City, Savannah said she has many connections with Othello, which led her to pursue the crown for the Othello Rodeo.

"I have family friends who live in Othello, I'm up there all the time visiting," she said. "The Othello queen title is a really good starting out program and it gets me in, if I want to run for Benton-Franklin."

Her first experience as queen was traveling to the Benton-Franklin

Fair and Rodeo Pageant Saturday, Oct. 3.

She is new to the world of rodeo; most of her 10 years of experience with horses coming from showing for FFA and 4-H. This required long hours of practice with her horse every day, something she doesn't have the time for anymore with school.

"I've had to ride my horse for multiple hours every single day," she said. "Now that I'm going to be studying a lot more, I won't be able to have all that time to do showing."

To prepare for showing, she had to keep her horse proficient not only in western riding but English, as well as halter work, in order to be competitive in showmanship.

Her mother was also a state champion barrel racer in Nevada and it is this event that Savannah has decided to pick up in rodeo. It's major appeal to her: the speed.

"Since I've shown, everything's so slow," Savannah said. I would barrel race at fair just for the fun of it and for the money and it kind of got me hooked because it's such a rush."

Even after transferring to WSU, Savannah does not plan to stay away from rodeo.

Another appeal to the rodeo for Savannah is the atmosphere.

"Everyone's so friendly and willing to help, the show world is so, unfortunately, very snooty," she said. "I'm more an open type of person."

Savannah will complete her first year as a rodeo queen in Othello, depending on how she likes it, she may end up running for the Benton-Franklin Rodeo Queen next year and eventually, the Washington State Rodeo Queen.

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Original Publication Date: October 8, 2015

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