If you’ve ever wanted to meet real royalty, now’s your chance. The 2017 Miss Kitsap Fair & Stampede and 2017 Miss Katie Kitsap will be a part of this year’s county fair.
Dakota Damschen, Miss Kitsap Fair & Stampede, 18, is the daughter of Elizabeth and John Carr and William Damschen of Seabeck. She graduated in June from Klahowya Secondary School, and will be attending Olympic College with plans to become a radiology technician. After Olympic, she plans to go to Tacoma Community College where she can study her specialty.
Damschen began riding when she was about 2 years old.
“But if you ask my mom she will tell you ‘Dakota has been riding since before she could walk,’” Damschen said. “My first horse was a Shetland pony named Jessica. I rode her up and down Erlands Point Road as often as I could.”
Damschen has participated in rodeos since she was 5 years old and is a first generation cowgirl.
“I have been a member of the Northwest Junior Rodeo Association for the last 13 years,” she said. “As this year will be my last year in the NWJRA, I am also a Northwest Professional Rodeo Association card holder. At the junior rodeos I compete in barrels, poles, breakaway, team roping, steer daubing, goat tying, flags, cal stake and trail. In the pro rodeos, I compete in barrels and breakaway roping.”
She competes with her two horses, Pistol and Jojo.
Rodeo is a family thing.
“We are all involved,” she said. “My sister and I are the only ones who compete in rodeo, but my parents are involved in many ways. Both of my parents sponsor many rodeo events each year. One example of this sponsorship is Corey’s Day on the Farm for Special Needs Children. My mom also does hospitality and VIP dinners for the Thunderbird Rodeo in Silverdale. She has been a big supporter of my sister and I through all of our years of rodeo.”
Becoming the Kitsap Rodeo Queen is an involved process, she said.
“Last October, I competed in the Miss Kitsap Fair and Stampede 2017 pageant,” she said. “It was rigorous. It was an all-day pageant for which we practiced and studied for months. Each contestant was judged by a panel of three very qualified judges. We each presented a three-minute speech, several interviews, impromptu questions and modeled clothing. My favorite section, though, was the horsemanship competition. I won horsemanship, congeniality, speech, and several other categories.”
Her duties now include representing the Kitsap County Fair and the sport of rodeo.
“I travel all around Washington state to make appearances and to invite people to our rodeo,” Damschen said. “Already this year I have been in three parades, six rodeos and several community events, to name a few, and have many more to come.”
When she’s not competing, she’s busy with her animals and other hobbies.
“Rodeo takes up most of my time,” she said. “but when I have a free weekend I like to take my quads to Tahuya. I also have four horses, two cats, four dogs, and two goats.”
In school, she likes science.
“My favorite class at Klahowya was science,” she said, “because I was given the chance to correct my errors and try again for a better score. I had the opportunity to master difficult material and, again, if I was struggling I could fix what I didn’t do right and turn it in again. I am a person who believes in second chances.”
Also representing Kitsap County Fair is Kyla Seevers, who was crowned Miss Katie Kitsap.
Kyla Seevers, Miss Katie Kitsap, is the 7-year-old daughter of Jeremy and Kristin Seevers. She completed first grade at Vinland Elementary School in June. Kyla is a Kitsap native, with much of her family growing up in the area as well.
She has always dreamed of being a rodeo princess, and aspires to someday be Miss Rodeo America. Each year, she has looked to other rodeo queens with admiration and respect.
Kyla said she is excited to represent the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede with grace, determination, and bit of fun thrown in.
Kyla has always had a love for animals, especially horses. She has been on horses since she was little and is now a member and competitor in the Northwest Junior Rodeo Association. She is looking forward to sharing her love for rodeos and horse with others.
Miss Katie Kitsap is a long-standing tradition at the county fair to honor a young girl who is interested in rodeo.