Mattie Jo Duzik, 11, of Craig, has her National Little Britches Rodeo Association princess sash placed during a coronation ceremony by Miss Rodeo America Kelli Jackson on Wednesday at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. Duzik won the pageant and was crowned princess after being named first runner-up in the competition last year.

Cowboy images/Courtesy

Mattie Jo Duzik, 11, of Craig, has her National Little Britches Rodeo Association princess sash placed during a coronation ceremony by Miss Rodeo America Kelli Jackson on Wednesday at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. Duzik won the pageant and was crowned princess after being named first runner-up in the competition last year.

Craig resident crowned Little Britches princess

Duzik ready to take on responsibilities of title, attend events throughout year

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Mattie Jo Duzik

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Cowboy images/Courtesy

Mattie Jo Duzik, 11, competes in a barrel racing competition with her horse, Chunky, at the National Little Britches Rodeo Association finals July 27 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. Duzik also participated in four other events including pole bending, goat tying, trail course and dally ribbon roping.

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Cowboy images/Courtesy

Mattie Jo Duzik, 11, practices her fly-by technique with a borrowed horse at the National Little Britches Rodeo Association finals July 26 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

Mattie Jo Duzik, 11, had one goal after being named the first runner-up in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Roy-

alty Pageant in 2009.

Winning the princess title.

This year, Mattie Jo achieved her goal, and was named Little Britches princess after about a year and a half of training and practice, she said.

Mattie Jo was crowned Wednesday, after the five-day competition held in Pueblo.

Sitting on the back porch of her parents’ home in south Craig, Mattie Jo said she was excited to have reached her goal.

“It feels like I am very relieved now,” said Mattie Jo who has been participating in the pageant for two years and Little Britches for five years.

Mattie Jo competed against three other girls for the title. She had to qualify for the pageant by placing well four times in one event during Little Britches rodeos held throughout the year.

During the princess competition, Mattie Jo was judged on appearance, personality, and interviewing and modeling skills. She also had to give a speech from memory and take a written test on horse knowledge.

Mattie Jo also participated in horsemanship, cattle working and fly-by demonstrations, among others, she said.

Mattie Jo’s mother, Paula, said Mattie Jo won each competition, except for the speech and horsemanship.

But, Mattie Jo’s participation in the rodeo wasn’t just limited to the pageant competition, as she competed in five rodeo events, including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, trail course and dally ribbon roping. The finals rodeo featured competitors from 21 different states, Paula said.

“She had a full plate,” Paula said.

During her preparation for the pageant, Mattie Jo spent her time writing and memorizing her speech, and studying a ring of note cards with horsemanship questions, among other measures.

She also attended about 25 Little Britches Rodeos throughout the year, Paula said.

Mattie Jo said her work as the new princess is just beginning, however.

But, she said she is ready for the new responsibility.

“(I’ll be) promoting Little Britches and helping wherever I can and telling good things about it,” she said.

Mattie Jo will spend the next year touring and promoting Little Britches at various rodeo events from the Moffat County Fair to the National Western Stock Show and Professional Bull Riding events.

Mattie Jo is most excited, however, about attending the National Finals Rodeo in December in Las Vegas, she said.

“I think it will be really fun,” she said.

Paula said she is “just glad the contest is over.”

“But now we are just going to be gearing up for the year,” she said.

In addition to promoting Little Britches and the western lifestyle, Mattie Jo will also be helping in the community, she said.

“It is not just doing things directly related with other rodeos,” Paula said. “Some of the past royalty people have done some community service.”

Mattie Jo also hopes to attend the Miss Rodeo America Pageant at the end of November in Las Vegas.

As for the future, Mattie Jo will have to wait for another chance at a Little Britches crown. She can’t compete in next year’s princess competition, which is for girls ages 8 to 13, but will have to wait to compete in the queen competition when she is 14.

“But, if I like doing this a lot, maybe I’ll try out for the queen,” she said.

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