Salmans wins Miss Congeniality at Quarter Horse Congress

| November 14, 2016
Kaitlyn Salmans won the Miss Congeniality title at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus. Contributed | Beacon

Kaitlyn Salmans won the Miss Congeniality title at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus. Contributed | Beacon

COSHOCTON – As if being a full time student at OSU studying poli-sci and history, preparing for law school and working part time isn’t enough, Kaitlyn Salmans took a week off of school to chase a dream she had had since she was a child. She was going to represent Eastern Ohio in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen contest in Columbus.

Salmans started competing in horse shows as a 9-year-old in 4-H at the Coshocton County Fair. Throughout the last 11 years, she has worked her way up through horse shows and dreamed of competing for the queen title when she was 18. Her mom, Jackie, convinced her not to rush and now Salmans is glad she waited. “It was harder that I thought, but the experience was amazing. I met other young women who inspired me to be the best I can, but I also learned that I don’t have to be anyone but myself.”

The competition included a short prepared speech and Kaitlyn said her mom pushed her to share her experiences riding and how passionate she is about competing. “My mom sat on the couch with me for hours, helping me decide what to write, memorizing my speech and just giving me confidence that I could do this,” she said. “My mom and dad (Jackie and Todd Salmans) are so supportive of my sister and I.”

After her speech, the judges asked her questions. This was all part of the interview process and Kaitlyn said she was a nervous wreck. “We went in alphabetical order, so I was the second one. My hands were shaking so much because this was the part I really wanted to do well in.” She ended up taking third in the interview and was very excited. “Public speaking isn’t my strong suit and this really gave me confidence in my ability.”

The contest also included a written test, which she placed 10th in and an activity with her horse. The interview and test each made up 40 percent of the final score, while the horse activity was 20 percent. Jackie said she is so proud of her daughter. “She had to work really hard to be able to compete. She had to juggle classes, schoolwork, her job and spend a week with the other girls and the judges. Kaitlyn has wanted to compete in the queen contest since she was little.”

The announcement that she had been picked as Miss Congeniality came as a complete shock to Kaitlyn. The judges and her peers chose her and she received a trophy, belt buckle and jacket as prizes. Miss Congeniality is based solely on personality and hers won over the judges and the other young women competing.

Kaitlyn said the experience was exhausting, but magical, and was a dream come true. “I don’t think I’ll compete for queen again. I want to focus on school and preparing for law school. And I want to watch my sister, Tara, compete. I’m hoping to share my experience with her in a few years and watch her try for queen.”

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