By Don Nelson
Carlee Wright started riding about the time she could stand up on her own, and her best friend growing up was her horse Rosie.
Rosie died not long ago at 30-plus years old, so Carlee will be riding her new horse, Sonny — a spry 19-year-old — as rodeo royalty for the next year. Carlee, a 16-year-old sophomore at Liberty Bell High School, is the recently crowned queen of the Methow Valley Rodeo. She is the daughter of Jim and Laura Wright of Winthrop.
Carlee’s first public appearance of note was in the ’49er Days parade, riding Sonny down Riverside Avenue in Winthrop. She will appear at the Memorial Day and Labor Day rodeos sponsored by the Methow Valley Horsemen, who selected her as queen, and will also take part in other rodeos and events in the region.
“My family was always into horses,” Carlee said in a recent interview. “I’ve been riding basically since I could walk.”
Carlee said she enjoys riding because it’s “relaxing and fun.”
“If you have a good horse you like really well, it’s like hanging out with a friend,” she said.
Carlee, who said she’s been watching parades and rodeos all her life, said she was interested in applying for the rodeo royalty because “the rodeo queen always looked happy … it looked like fun to be part of.”
In her interview with the Methow Valley Horsemen, “I talked about how I always looked up to the rodeo queen and it would be an honor to represent the rodeo,” she said.
At her first parade during ’49er Days, Carlee said, “it was really exciting … to be in the spotlight.”
She said she’s looking forward to meeting other people in the area as part of her royal regimen. “I want to represent the valley and encourage other people to come here,” she said.