Beige fringe chaps, blingy cowgirl boots, and a tall hat that reads, “California High School Rodeo Queen,”—Kara Kester: not the average ball gown, sparkly tiara queen.
Kester became Miss California High School Rodeo Queen through the California High School Rodeo Association and numerous competitions throughout the state. After winning the district 7 title, Kester traveled to the state rodeo competition where she competed in seven categories: a written test, appearance, personality, horsemanship, personal interview, impromptu questions, modeling, and a speech. She then was crowned Miss California High School Rodeo Queen and had the opportunity to compete for national rodeo finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Kester began her competitive rodeo career in seventh grade and loved the sense of competition and getting to hang out with her fellow rodeo friends. Kester has had the chance to meet hundreds of new people, including friends, business associates, and competition.
“ The rodeo announcers are fun to banter back and forth with at events and one that I’ve known for a while I would have a lot of funny conversations with, and I learned a lot from him at junior state finals,” Kester said.
Rodeo has given her so many opportunities and has opened her eyes to the world ahead.
“I’m so thankful because it lead me to wanting to double major in business and communications,” Kester said.
Kester will be attending Oklahoma State University next year with fellow bearcats Dylan Wilkinson and Nathanael Bourgault.
“Going that far away is a bit frightening, but knowing that you will have your friends from home will make it a whole lot easier to cope with a new lifestyle and make it our new home for the next four years!” Bourgault said.
Kester pushed herself to the fullest beginning at the age of nine, when she first began showing livestock with her local 4-h group in Parkfield– population 18.
At age 14, she began showing heifers and steer with Paso Robles FFA. She held the positions of Secretary, Reporter, and Vice President on the FFA Chapter Officer team, and on top of it all, she attended approximately 34 rodeos each year.
Kester was inspired to get more involved with FFA than just showing livestock, though.
Freshman year she had her first class with ag teacher Mark Clement, who has been teaching at PRHS for 37 years. Clement encouraged the young Kester to compete in the Creed freshman event that was created in 1928 to encourage students to become educated and devoted to the FFA organization.
After months of practicing, memorizing, and making great memories, Kester competed at the sectional, and then regional competition, winning second place.
“She gave the FFA creed at a national level as a Freshman, and that was very enriching to see that I affected that. Looking back and seeing how far she’s come with competition is very rewarding as a teacher.” Clement said.
The FFA teaches hundreds of young students at PRHS about leadership and public speaking skills, and allows students to meet new people in businesses that they could be potentially interested in as adults, and that’s exactly what improved Kester’s skills as a person.
Through these four years in high school, Kara has also developed a sense of humor only understandable for her portuguese friend, Clement.
“She’s part portuguese and I’m full, so we spend a lot of time making portuguese jokes, we know each others personalities and it’s been a pleasure watching her grow as a person.” Clement said, with a bittersweet look in his face.
From visiting elementary schools, to riding in professional rodeos, even traveling as far as Rock Springs, Wyoming for rodeo finals, Kester does it all.