BELLE FOURCHE | She was chosen to represent the sport of rodeo last July, and Kay Marrs is now ready to begin her reign as 2018 Miss Rodeo South Dakota.

In a room filled with former South Dakota rodeo queens, members of the livestock industry, rodeo fans, family and friends, Marrs accepted the crown. She will represent rodeo and the state of South Dakota with an energy befitting her position.

Marrs has a philosophy that is suitable for any part of life, and that’s to remember “you don’t have to do it like everyone else.” During her acceptance speech, she touched on those thoughts as she shared her excitement for the upcoming year.

“I want to leave a lasting servant attitude impression with everyone I meet,” she said.

Her goal during her year of reign is to promote something other than herself. The sport of rodeo, the state of South Dakota, agriculture and those who compete in rodeo are all on her list. Marrs noted that her goal is to be a servant to those entities and the people who are part of the western way of life.

“It is truly a servant leadership role,” Marrs said.

She is excited to spend time with other queens in the state and throughout the nation.

"Text me, call me, get in touch with me if you ever have a question or need some help," she remarked.

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Marrs had encouragement from past rodeo queens throughout the evening. One former queen gave a synopsis of who a true rodeo queen is — she is poised, a model, well-spoken, hard-working, driven and has a servant heart.

The former queens agreed with National Miss Rodeo Director Cindy Wilk that Marrs will incorporate her strength and dignity to represent the great state of South Dakota. Marrs understands the importance of being well-rounded and knowing more than “horse stuff.” Facts are important, and an understanding of politics — PETA, animal rights, and a variety of other information — are all part of her knowledge base. The main point, she said, is to be respectful.

Her first encounter as a rodeo queen contestant was when she was 16 years old and Kathy Thompson, Miss Rodeo South Dakota pageant director, took her under her wing and showed her a new world. Thompson and others helped Marrs with horsemanship, interview skills and all that is involved with the rodeo queen life.

That was what brought her to Saturday evening’s festivities and a crown she will wear for the next year.

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Managing editor

Chris Huber is the managing editor at the Rapid City Journal.