Four young ladies vie to become Rodeo Queen


As a part of the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo, a Rodeo Queen and Princess competition is held each year. This year, four young ladies from the area are vying to become the 2024-2025 Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Queen. The four contestants hoping to win the title this year are Katy Glaze, Madilynn Skic, Gracie Vanvuren, and Mya Pankow.

Rodeo Queen contestant Katy Glaze. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo.

Glaze is a 2024 graduate of Merrill High School and in her Senior year she was President of the Merrill FFA chapter, MHS Cheer Team Co-Captain, and on the Link crew. She is involved in the Marathon County Market Animal Show and Sale Committee, is a member of the NBHA and AQHA, and has danced at Brooke’s School of Dance for about 13 years. “I have grown up around animals my entire life, getting my first pony at four years old,” Glaze said. “My happy place is on the back of a horse. I now barrel race and show livestock at the Wisconsin Valley Fair.”
“My family owns and operates an angus beef cattle farm known as 4G Family Farms which my entire family works on together,” she said. “This past year I ran and was crowned the WRPR Princess. Being crowned this title has offered me so many opportunities to grow and develop a true passion for rodeo with all it has to offer. I’m excited to be running for Queen again this year!”

Rodeo Queen contestant Madilynn Skic. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo.

Skic just became a Senior at Merrill High School and will graduate in 2025. She is 17 years old, daughter of Luke and Michelle Skic, and little sister of Mckenna Skic. She plans to attend Fox Valley for Farm Business & Production Management after graduation.
Skic said she thrives on staying busy and engaged in school and community activities. She is involved in FFA and competes in CDE horse judging through FFA, participates in the Market Animal Show and Sale at the Lincoln County Fair, enjoys showcasing her market animal and heifer across the state, and has danced at Brooke’s School of Dance for 14 years.
“In the little downtime I have, you’ll find me assisting my dad in the field, hitting the snowmobile trails with my Uncle Calvin, bonding with my horse Chase, and cherishing moments with friends and family,” Skic said. “Growing up in a family grounded in faith has been a true blessing, and attending church is something I genuinely enjoy.”
Last year she also ran for Rodeo Queen. “Through this experience, I gained the knowledge of dedication and time required to represent the rodeo circuit,” Skic said. “Being crowned as Rodeo Queen or Princess would be an honor, and I would hold that title with great pride and dedication. Along my journey, I’ve respected and looked up to previous Rodeo Queens and Princesses, finding motivation in their roles as mentors for young girls.”
“My enthusiasm for this community has led me to volunteer at the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo for the past couple of years,” she said. “Last year, I had the privilege of running for the title and achieving the runner-up position, an experience that I treasured greatly. Working closely with the dedicated committee behind the scenes has allowed me to recognize and value their steadfast dedication in preserving the rodeo’s legacy. It would be a genuine honor for me to represent the WRPR as its next Rodeo Queen, carrying on the tradition of inspiring others within the rodeo family.”
Vanvuren is a 16-year-old cowgirl who hails from the North Central part of the state and is the daughter of Kurt Vanvuren and Brooklyn Kultgen. She will be a Junior at Merrill High School this fall, and after graduation wants to attend UW-Eau Claire to major in psychiatry. Vanvuren said she has a passion for rodeo and agriculture and has been involved in the industry her whole life and she wants to inspire others to fulfill their dreams.

Rodeo Queen contestant Mya Pankow. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo.

Pankow is 17 years old and will be a Senior in the fall. She attends Wausau Area Virtual Education.
“I swung a leg over a horse for the first time at three years old and haven’t gotten off since!” she said. “Although I do not come from a rodeo family, I am very fortunate to have incredibly supportive people in my life that have encouraged me on my journey in being a first-generation competitor.”
“I began competing in barrel racing in 2014,” Pankow said. “Since then, I have joined the Wisconsin High School Rodeo Association (WHSRA) and expanded my horizons. I have competed in every rodeo event that women are allowed to participate in – barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and team roping.”
“Much of my time goes towards working my three horses. Katie, who is my very first horse and holds a special place in my heart, has been my partner since I was nine years old,” Pankow said. “She has competed in every event with me. We mainly compete in roping events right now.”
“Chloe is my barrel and pole bending horse,” she said. “Ember is my three-year-old that I have been training from the ground up for the past two years. I am hopeful that she will have a bright future in the barrel and roping pen.”
“Additionally, I run my own horse training and riding lesson business, Ascent Equine,” Pankow said. “I really enjoy teaching the upcoming generation of horsemen/women. I, myself, continue to attend clinics and take every learning opportunity that I can get. After I graduate, I will attend Five Star Horseshoeing School in Oklahoma where I will become a farrier. Furthermore, I hope to attend UW-River Falls and earn a bachelor’s degree in equine science.”
“I am so passionate about the equine and rodeo industries and think that an encouraging, knowledgeable, and welcoming role model, such as a Rodeo Queen, is infinitely important in growing the sport,” she said. “Needless to say, I am very excited to run for the title of Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Queen.”
The 2024-25 Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Queen will be crowned in a coronation ceremony during the Sunday rodeo performance at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, 2024. The title will be awarded to the contestant who achieves the most points in several categories of competition. The contestant with the second most points will be crowned Princess.

Rodeo Queen contestant Gracie Vanvuren. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo.

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