The original Missoula Stampede Rodeo Royalty pageant was held in 1983, although under a different title name. It was in 2008 that the title was changed to reflect the history of the Missoula Stampede that was found among fair archives.
Each August, young ladies vie for the title of Missoula Stampede Rodeo Queen, Princess, Little Miss and Jr. Little Miss during the Western Montana Fair and Rodeo. The rodeo royalty court promotes the Western Montana Fair and Missoula Stampede Rodeo throughout its reign, making appearances across the state at festivals, parades, businesses, rodeos and special events.
Emalee Ratliff – Queen
Emalee was very involved in 4-H and High School Rodeo when she was younger. She continues to enjoy barrel racing, working cows, giving riding lessons, and overnight pack trips. She owns two horses, one trained in barrels and team sorting, and the other still in training. Emalee works full time as an Emergency Medical Technician for Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. In her spare time, she loves to hike and play with her German Shepherd pal Thor and write letters to her assigned soldier through Adopt A US Soldier.
Abby Riska – Princess
Abby Riska is a freshman at Big Sky High School, enrolled in the Health Science Academy. She is actively involved in 4-H and FFA, also. Abby has pursued both English and Western styles of horseback riding. She loves to hunt and fish with her dad. During her free time you will find her on a horse, fishing, hunting with her dog Benelli, riding her bike, or hiking with her goats, Lon and Louetta.
Rayah Nelson– Little Miss
Rayah Nelson is the youngest of 5 siblings. She and her horse, Royal, enjoy competing in Omoksees, CMR obstacle challenges and Buckle Shows. In 2016 they won the Omoksee Buckle for age 9 and under and also were high point leader competing in the age 10 – 13 level. At home, Rayah enjoys baking, knitting, reading and teaching her dog, Bear, new tricks. Rayah attends Target Range school and also plays hockey on the Missoula Bruins PeeWee travel team.
Riley Bagley– Jr. Little Miss
Riley is a first grader at Frenchtown Elementary School. She is an energetic, animal-loving girl. Riley has participated in 4-H Clover Buds for 2 years. She has three horses she loves to ride – Rena, Cleo and Kahlua. She also enjoys working her dog, Sweet. Any activity where animals are involved, you’ll also find Riley. When she grows up, Riley is planning to become a police officer and a professional barrel racer.