A longtime member of the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s board of directors and a former rodeo queen and competitor, Leanna Buck has long been a familiar face each July in the local rodeo arena.

Rodeoing is a part of life for Buck and it continues with her son’s involvement in the arena. A 1995 Philomath High graduate, Buck grew up with heavy involvement in everything from showing horses through 4-H to a successful run in timbersports.

Serving as a rodeo queen was a major activity in her younger years, which among others included stints as Miss Philomath Frolic & Rodeo and Miss NPRA (Northwest Professional Rodeo Association). She has passed on her rodeo queen knowledge with the Frolic as an adviser.

Buck accepted an invitation to participate in this week’s Inside Philomath feature and answered five questions.

Q: You served as the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo queen in 1998. What will you always remember the most about that summer?

A: The thing I will remember most about that summer was during Philomath rodeo weekend, my horse had strangles and was not usable, which stressed me out pretty bad knowing I had a lot of work to do on horseback that weekend but also worrying for the health of my horse.

So, Deanne Bain, the wife of our stock contractor, allowed me to use her barrel horse for my queen duties in the arena. That horse was both amazingly fast and amazingly fun at the same time; she was a very large 16-hand gray appendix quarter horse.

She worked as long and as hard as I had asked of her that weekend with no issues and even carried Deanne to a second-place win in our barrel racing event that same weekend. She was seriously one of the coolest horses I have ever had the pleasure to swing a leg over and definitely a memory I will never forget.

Q: Rodeos in smaller towns have had a rough time surviving through the years but that doesn’t seem to be true in Philomath. What do you attribute the success to here with the Frolic?

A: I attribute the success of Philomath rodeo to a very dedicated group of individuals that I get to work with and a pretty outstanding group of sponsors that refuse to allow anything to happen to the largest three-day event in our area.

It’s something our whole town looks forward to every year and it’s well known throughout other states and even other countries. Because of that, our board of directors works hard each year with our sponsors to make sure that this event kicks off each July.

Q: In the aftermath of the fire last summer, the community seemed eager to step up and help. What did you take away from that experience?

A: That fire last summer just absolutely made my heart sink. But the immediate response from the community and new volunteers to help make sure that it didn’t stop the event from happening was mind blowing.

It was a wonderful reminder of how much this town loves this event and how in the eye of tragedy a community can and will pull together to make a huge difference and help where needed. It really solidified my love and pride in our little community.

Q: With your involvement as a volunteer and board member, what do you hope the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo looks like, let’s say, 10 years from now?

A: As the rodeo chairman, my hope is that we will continue to grow as we have each year and be one of the top NPRA (Northwest Professional Rodeo Association) rodeos in the state. We have some big plans, prayers and hopes on the horizon and I’m excited to see how it all rolls out in the next few years.

Q: What do you do for fun when you have time away from your daily routine?

A: Outside of my daily routine, my son also rodeo’s (riding bulls and bareback horses) and plays various school sports activities. So, I enjoy attending his events and supporting him as well as hanging out with friends and family.

My absolute favorite thing to do though in my spare time is team roping or breakaway roping when time and money allows.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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