PAYSON, Arizona–For one local teen, the decision to trade quads for a horse and ice skates for cowgirl boots paid off last weekend when she was crowned as 2019 Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona in Payson, Arizona.
Mary Norton, 16, is still reeling with excitement after being crowned during the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo August 17-19th.
“I still can’t believe it,” Norton said. “It’s been a few crazy days and I’m just excited.” she said.
Norton’s path to becoming Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona didn’t just happen overnight, it took a few years of training and experiencing other opportunities in rodeo pageants.
“I didn’t catch the horse bug until I was about 10 or 11 years old,” said Norton. “I was really into quads, competitive skating and swimming. Spent several years competing on the (Bullhead City) Barracuda’s. Every weekend my family and I were at Glamis, riding our quads and camping.”
It wasn’t until Norton’s mom, Lisa, surprised her on her 12th birthday with a visit and riding lessons at River Diamond Ranch in Mohave Valley.
“Stacey (Rees) made my whole experience great,” Norton said. “It’s where I fell in love with my horse Charlie.”
That visit began Norton and Charlie’s future.
In 2013, Norton ran for Colorado River Round-Up Rodeo Princess in Needles, California for the first time, but unfortunately did not get the crown. It wasn’t until 2016 that she won the CRRU title. Winning that title jumped started her rodeo pageants.
Norton continued representing our community at different rodeo functions around Arizona, including the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association rodeo held annually at the Mojave Crossing Event Center in Fort Mohave.
There, Norton carries the flags, helps rustle up escaping calves for the cowboys and signs autographs for possible future rodeo princesses and queens.
After taking the CRRU title, Norton continued with her rodeo pageants and in 2017 was crowned Flagstaff Pro Rodeo Teen Queen. From there, she spent a year traveling around the state promoting rodeos and the pageantry.
Norton has been active in the local 4-H chapter for close to eight years. There she takes part in sewing and showing her horses and rabbits at local county fairs.
She also spends her time volunteering at local events, like the recent Backpack Buddies program. Norton will spend her time as Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona speaking to students at local schools, community events, retirement homes all over Arizona, California and New Mexico. This year, Norton will be accompanied by her lovable mustang, Jewlz.
Her goal is to continue on in the rodeo pageant circuit and be crowned Miss Andy Devine Days Queen, Turquoise Circuit Queen and when she is 21-years-old, she hopes to ring in her birthday with the title of Miss Rodeo America.
But, Norton says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help and support of her family, friends and fellow rodeo pageant family.
If you’re planning to attend the Mohave County Fair on Sept. 13-16 in Kingman, be sure to say hello to Norton and congratulate her on winning this prestigious title.
(Main photo provided by Shots by BC; below photos contributed from Norton’s Facebook page)
Norton (pictured right) as 2019 Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona
Norton with Charlie after being crowned Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona
Norton and Jewlz
Norton practicing flag presentation with Charlie