Thums named rodeo queen
Last weekend, Silver Bay native Kristina Thums rode a horse out into the arena at the Great Northern Classic Rodeo (GNCR) in Superior with her equestrian drill team, but there was something that set her apart.
She wore a sash designating her the 2017 GNCR "rodeo queen." Thums was selected as the 2017 queen last year and has spent much of her free time over the last year as an ambassador for the rodeo, working with and engaging people in the community to promote the GNCR and expose new people to a sport that means a lot to her.
"With being queen this year, it was a lot of promoting and connecting with the community, but it was a lot of fun," Thums said. "I really like to share something that I enjoy so much with other people. Not everyone gets that opportunity everyday to see a horse or go to a rodeo, so it's nice to be able to share something with them that you really enjoy."
Thums became involved with GNCR 11 years ago, first helping out here and there, but as time went on she did more and more. She sang the national anthem prior at the opening ceremony of the rodeo and eventually working to manage the GNCR webpage and taking on other duties when called on. She also became involved with the equestrian drill team, a group of riders entertaining the crowd performing choreographed maneuvers to music while on horseback.
"I got in there and I took on more and more," Thums said. "We are a nonprofit and we are all volunteer workers, so a lot of times people would come to me and ask if I could help out."
Thums also started working with GNCR's "Miracle Rodeo," a program that exposes children with disabilities to rodeo. The Miracle Rodeo allows participants to experience different rodeo events like stick-horse barrel racing, horseshoes, the cowboy hat toss and sawdust quarter serach, among others.
Thums graduated from William Kelley High School in 2015 and started school at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She is pursuing a degree in music education and as a bassoon and clarinet player, she hopes to one day perform with an orchestra or concert band in the Twin Ports area. She's also looking forward to sharing her passion for music with young people and step into a role that mean a lot to her as a young person in Silver Bay.
"I guess over the last few years I've really gotten to like teaching," she said. "I really look forward to that because I know that a lot of the people that I've looked up to and have helped me out a lot have been teachers, so I guess I look forward to being that for other students."