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I really like yer site. It was neat to see how much ya know. I am from SE Oklahoma and am 17 years old. I am currently running for Rodeo Queen in my lil ol' hometown and I was wonderin' if you might have any suggestions to make it a blowout?? =-)


- H. A.


I'm afraid that my experience at being a rodeo queen is rather limited... but perhaps I can give you some advice from the standpoint of an experienced politician:

The basic, bottom-line rule is this: "The only legitimate goal of a campaign is 50 percent of the vote plus one." Anything less than that makes you a runner-up. However, if you try to make it a blow-out, you risk wasting valuable resources that you need for nailing down your 50 percent plus one.

Next you need to analyze what is going to get you to that 50 percent plus one.

Is it a popularity contest where rodeo fans vote? Then work on your popularity by getting out there face-to-face with as many of those voters as possible... and make sure they remember your name.

Is it a beauty contest? Get some expert advice from folks who can help with makeup, wardrobe, physical conditioning, etc. And study what the judges looked for in previous winners.

Is it based on your abilities -- riding skill, public speaking ability, knowledge of the sport? Again, look for the areas where you can gain points. Don't worry about blowing away the competition, just make sure you have one more point than the second-place winner.

Finally, never lord it over the competition. Always preserve your friendship with the other competitors. It's not always easy to do, but your strongest rival today may well be an essential supporter tomorrow. Some of my closest political friends are folks I've had major battles with in the past.

I hope you do well.

Happy Competition!

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