Cate Murphy-Cate Murphy is an 11 year old fifth grader at Valley Center Elementary School and a lifelong resident of Valley Center. Her relationship with horses began as a baby before she could even crawl. Before she knew it, she was grooming, cleaning, riding, and loving anything to do with horses and caring for animals! Her horse, Maverick, is a 15-year-old gelding. His DNA report shows that he is a Mountain Pleasure Horse.
As a member of the Valley Center Vaqueros and their Young Riders and Drill Team, Cate has also ridden her horses in several parades, including Valley Center Western Days, Coronado, and Escondido. She enjoys trail riding, arena work, obstacle challenges, and liberty work. While currently learning breakaway roping, she has her eye on team roping in the future and would love to challenge herself to train a wild mustang someday! This year was especially exciting as she earned three buckles, including Obstacle Challenge, Green Horse & Green Rider at the Valley Center Vaqueros Rail Show Buckle Series, and as a member of the Young Riders.
When she's not involved in horse activities, Cate enjoys spending time with her dog, Ellie, and being involved with anything to do with animals. She likes to bake, draw and paint, and do arts and crafts. A clarinet-playing member of the school band, she also enjoys helping at school as a “Kindness Ambassador,” making sure that everyone feels included. She has made the honor roll and was enrolled in the school dual language program for five years.
Kayslee Ramelli-Kayslee Ramelli is 14 years old and has been a lifelong resident of Valley Center. She is proud to consider Valley Center the hometown she is growing up in. Kayslee is currently in 8th grade and has been homeschooled by her parents Henry and Karen since 2nd grade. At 3 years old, she started riding horses, in which she fell in love with both horses and riding. The name of her horse is Mindy, a 9-year-old Red Roan Quarter/Paint with a very sweet and sassy personality. Mindy has been Kayslee’s best horse friend from day one, even after a serious fall in the staging area of the 2019 Escondido Jaycee’s Christmas Parade. Kayslee also enjoys the fun of being a member of the Vaqueros Young Riders. The last 2 years she has participated in the event of Junior Barrel Racing at the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo. Kayslee started attending the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo at the age of 5, she was always in awe at watching all the rodeo queens run full speed and waving at everyone in the stands. She is working hard to have the opportunity to serve as the 2020 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Junior Queen. Besides all things horse, Kayslee has been an active member of the Valley Center 4H club for 3 years. She has raised pigs, a lamb, and learned cake decorating. Her home church is Grace Point Church where she volunteers in Sunday School and with Senior Luncheons. Kayslee also volunteers at Valley Center Community Church as a Leader-in-Training for the AWANA program. She has studied and played guitar for the past 4 years, and enjoys leading music worship at home, church, and other events. Kayslee’s positive attitude is in line with her motto “attitudes are contagious, make yours worth catching”. Kayslee is honored to be a contestant in this year’s 2020 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Pageant and the opportunity to represent her community and rodeo.
Junior Queen Contestants
Lyndsey LaCasse-Lindsey LaCasse is 15 years old and a Sophmore at Valley Center High School. Her devotion to horses began when she was just 5 years old. From her first ride and watching her first rodeo here in Valley Center, at the 2013 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo, Lindsey was hooked on anything horse! Since then, she has volunteered each year for rodeo events, including the VIP tent. In 2018, Lindsey did her first run in the rodeo, chasing barrels in the Junior Barrels event. Lindsey participates in softball, dance class, surfing, and performs regularly with the High School Advanced Choir. But her first and foremost love is her horse Mickey. Mickey is a retired polo horse, just 24 years young. Since their partnership began in 2014, together they have competed in several Gymkhana and Rail Show events and participated in SoCaAQHA and Valley Center Stampede Rodeo barrel events. In 2018, Lindsey was awarded Valley Center Rodeo Queen’s “Most Improved” contestant and in 2019, Lindsey was First Runner-up for Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Jr. Queen. This year, Lindsey is truly excited about participating in such an important and iconic portion of the rodeo. Not only is it a fun experience, but an honor. Lindsey is currently working with her young, green mare, Daisy. Daisy is a 4 year old AQH. Lindsey is looking forward to a future full of rodeo events with Daisy. Once Lindsey graduates from high school in 2022, she plans to attend college and ultimately become an Equine Veterinarian.
Hailey Bejerknes-Hailey Bejerknes is an 18-year-old lifelong resident of Valley Center and is running for the 2020 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Queen title. Hailey has been a Valley Center Vaqueros young rider member for 10 years and has been riding horses since she was 7. From a young age, Hailey’s equestrian lifestyle has been nothing but spectacular. In 2012, Hailey and her family rescued a flea-bitten grey Arabian named Classie who had been in a hoarding situation and was left neglected. Together they accomplished much in a short amount of time. The experience working with a rescue animal, while challenging at times, gave her the confidence to adopt and train a wild mustang named Soleil. Throughout high school, Hailey participated in the Future Farmers of America program, also known as FFA, for four years where she raised livestock which included cattle, lambs, swine and even turkeys! She also participated in numerous FFA livestock judging, light horse judging events and public speaking events across California. Hailey graduated Valley Center High School in 2019 and is now attending Palomar College to complete her general education. She plans to transfer to California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo to major in her passion, agricultural education and minor in animal science to become a high school agriculture teacher. At Palomar, she is a part of the Palomar College Women’s collegiate golf team where she has become an avid golfer. While not at school or taking aim on the course, Hailey works as a ranch hand for L/S Show Cattle in Valley Center where she helps raise show calves for local kids to show at the San Diego County Fair through 4-H and FFA programs. As a Valley Center native, Hailey has seen the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo blossom into a well-known hub for quality rodeo entertainment and has even volunteered her time towards the rodeo for four years. Hailey aspires to become an ambassador for rodeo and the western way of life and help educate the youth on the subject of rodeo.
Young Miss Contestants
Makena Hyland-Makenna is a 17-year-old student at San Pasqual high school where she is a proud member of the National Honors Society, based on academic achievements, character, and community service. Makenna plans on pursuing a career in rodeo broadcasting by interviewing contestants for networks, such as Wrangler. She began riding at the age of 12, and an instant passion was sparked. Makenna is a current member of the California Junior Rodeo Association where she competes in breakaway roping and team roping. Makenna has goals of continuing breakaway roping after high school, she plans to travel to different pro rodeos to compete in a growing event for women at the professional level. In 2017 Makenna took her love for rodeo and the western way of life in a different direction, by being crowned Junior Miss Rodeo Lakeside 2017 and 2018 and Poway Rodeo Junior Queen 2019. Makenna not only loves being a competitor, as well as an ambassador for the sport she loves.
Little Miss Contestants
Ryder Huppert- Ryder Huppert is 6 years old and has Called Valley Center Home all her life. She enthusiastically attends kindergarten at The Classical Academy Charter school. Her upbringing has always been around horses and cattle, from the moment she could sit upright on her own, she was on the back of a horse with her mom. Whether in an arena or out on trail, she was riding. Ryder started doing lead line shows at the tender age of four years old, and at five years declared to her parents that two of the families horses Kalie and Cupcake, were hers and hers alone. With this new found understanding of Responsibility, she set out ways to care for her own horses such as cleaning pens, watering, feeding and exercising them on her own. Other than riding and caring for her horses, She has a passion for contemporary dance and tap. She also enjoys playing Baseball in the Spring when her and her family volunteer with the Valley Center Little League. This year, Ryder is focusing on bettering her skills as an Equestrian on her horse Cupcake, a grey Paso fino mare. Cupcake has the ability to take Ryder anywhere she wants, and Ryder intends to show the world what it takes to follow your dreams and ride until your hearts content. She hopes with some education, a little humbling, and some hard work, to earn the title Little Miss and represent the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo and share her experiences and knowledge with her peers and others on all there is to know about the sport of rodeo and horses
Chelsea Estes-A small-town girl from Norco California, also commonly known as Horsetown USA. Chelsea Estes is 24 years old who is currently attending Norco College. She is pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Development with an emphasis in special needs education. Chelsea enjoys volunteering her time in her community, riding in local gymkhana and barrel racing events, trail riding in the beautiful Santa Ana riverbed, hiking, singing, and reading a good book. Chelsea is passionate about our western heritage, the sport of Rodeo, and guiding our next generation to learn and love the sport and lifestyle as much as she does. Chelsea is humbled to have the opportunity to compete for the title of 2020 Miss Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Queen, where she can continue being an ambassador for the Professional Sport of Rodeo and the amazing community of Valley Center. At this time Chelsea would like to thank her generous sponsors, her family for always supporting her dreams, and the Lord above for guiding her in this journey.
Sophia Flores-Sophia is 12 years old from Poway, California. She currently attends Twin Peaks Middle School as a 7th grade student. Sophia has been riding for four years, but it wasn’t until the Spring of 2018 that Sophia had a horse to call her own. After months of not having a family to belong to, Cecilia, her black and white paint decided that Sophia would be a perfect partner. This precious horse picked Sophia and soon began following her everywhere. Her parents couldn't believe it or deny that these two belonged together. The two of them have learned a lot and struggled over the last couple years, but through the loving help of her trainer and nurturing barn family she and Cecilia have grown closer together and developed a great relationship. They even won their first buckle two years ago. Sophia loves participating in Gymkhanas, Rails Shows and riding with the Valley Center Vaqueros Young Riders Drill Team. When Sophia is not with her horse, her other favorite activities are watching baseball, crafting, singing and reading. She is also a Girl Scout and has been with her troop 2070 for 7 years. Sophia aspires to attend the University of Hawaii and pursue a career as an Electrical Engineer though she knows this will take a lot of hard work and determination. Although Sophia is from Poway, she has fallen in love with the people and community of Valley Center. Sophia would be honored to represent Valley Center Stampede Rodeo as the 2020 Young Miss
Jayden Soliz-Jayden Soliz is 11 years old and lives in Valley Center. Jayden has been riding horses since she was 3 years old. She has been a member of the Valley Center Vaqueros and Young Riders for the last 7½ years and loves to participate in Fun Shows and Obstacle Courses. When Jayden was 4 years old she started Mutton Bustin at the Rodeo and is now working on her barrel racing skills. In addition to her love of rodeo and horses, Jayden also loves soccer, performing in musicals and playing the saxophone in her school band. During school, you can often find Jayden volunteering her recess time to help children with disabilities. Jayden has held the titles of 2016 Valley Center Rodeo Little Miss and 2018 Poway Rodeo Little Princess. Jayden is excited for the opportunity to represent her home town and share her love of rodeo with others!
Stella Erb-Stella Luna Erb is an 11 year from Lakeside, California. She just graduated from Lakeside Farms Elementary School and is excited to start middle school next year. Stella’s love for horses and rodeo started a few years ago when she started riding lessons at age 6. The love of her life is her sweet, 11 year old gelding named Playboy. He is a hot little muddy buckskin quarter horse and they are constantly learning from one another. Winona is her adorable bay roan and she is the perfect combo of sweet and sassy. Any day in the saddle is a good day, and Stella is always eager to build on her technique and skill. During the uncertain time in quarantine, she had time to reflect and focus on new goals. Her passion is everything rodeo, so she decided it was time to start roping lessons. She hopes to one day advance enough to be able to do Junior Rodeo and compete in breakaway roping. Stella loved every minute of being the 2019 Poway Rodeo Young Miss and she would be so honored to be the 2020 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Young Miss to continue being an ambassador for the toughest sport on dirt. She would like to thank her family, friends and trainer for their love and support in guiding her in all of her dreams and goals.
Grace Haag- Grace is 8 years old and lives in Point Loma, California. She is the youngest of three children, and shares her love of all animals, especially horses with her sister Sydney (15). She is in 3rd grade at St. Charles Borromeo Academy and this year is on the school’s golf and soccer team. She loves school, but at the end of the day she says stands by the belief she is “born to ride, forced to go to school.” Grace fell in love with horses at the age of 18 months when she was first placed on her Aunt Lisa’s horse Sabo. From that moment on she was all about horses. Despite living almost an hour away, she spends every moment she can at Burkhard Ranch, where she rides her horse Jackpot. Grace’s favorite activity (with the help of her Aunt Lisa) is riding the horses on Fiesta Island. One of her goals is to share her love of horses with her “city” friends, so they too can spend time riding and having fun. When Grace grows up, she would like to be a veterinarian and a horse trainer, taking care of all animals. In addition to riding horses, Grace likes to hang out with her big brother Shane (16) playing video games. Grace would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support and cheers, as she continues to reach for the stars .
Catherine Jones- Catherine Jones is an eight-year-old, third grader at Mariners Christian School. Catherine participates in the Valley Center Vaqueros Young Riders club and trains with local professional Julie Picot. Catherine loves horses and the sport of Rodeo. She started taking lessons at the age of seven and has ridden both English and Western. Catherine recently won her first class in a Vaqueros show on Julie’s paint horse: Shiloh. Catherine is currently riding Snoopy, a Gypsy-Quarter Horse cross, who has been in several local parades and rodeo events.
When Catherine is not involved in horse activities, she enjoys spending time with her family, her dog Gunner, and rescuing animals in need.
Although Catherine adores spending time with horses, she has also enjoyed participating in several theatrical productions. Last year Catherine was cast in the lead role of Mary Poppins in Disney’s Mary Poppins Junior and recently starred in the Jungle Book. Catherine also currently takes singing lessons, ballet and tap. She plays tennis, loves gymnastics and soccer. She also enjoys baking, drawing, painting, creating arts and crafts, being outside and climbing trees.
Catherine is honored to have the opportunity this year to be a contestant in the Valley Center Rodeo Queen Little Miss category.