OMAK Tiffany Mannikko will step into the Miss Omak Stampede boots during the organization’s annual banquet Nov. 16.
Mannikko, who turns 18 today, Oct. 16, was named Oct. 10 to succeed 2013 Queen Breanna Howell of Tonasket.
The other contestant, 2013 Okanogan County Fair Queen Menze Pickering of Oroville, dropped out of the competition, Royalty Director Jeff Demmitt said.
Stampede officials had planned an Oct. 12 horsemanship competition and Nov. 16 speaking and modeling contests during the annual banquet, with the winner named that night.
Instead, Mannikko will give a speech and be crowned at the banquet at the Omak Elks Lodge, Director Millie Gann said.
Demmitt and Gann both praised Mannikko and said she’s very qualified to represent the rodeo during its 81st year.
For Mannikko, the news came last Thursday morning while she was in class at the Okanogan School District’s Omak Learning Center alternative school.
She said Demmitt called the school and delivered the news. Within an hour, school officials supplied cake and a tiara for an impromptu celebration.
Becoming Miss Omak Stampede has been a longtime dream and will serve “as a stepping stone in life for me,” she said. “I dream of being the best that I can be.”
Mannikko said she loves school and plans to attend college at Wenatchee Valley College and Gonzaga University, and then wants to attend law school and later join the Navy with the goal of becoming a judge with the Judge Advocate General’s Office.
She enjoys barrel racing with Boots and Saddles Barrel Racing Club and the Wallis Arena buckle series, and was Okanogan County Junior Rodeo princess in 2008, when Jonnie Crossland was queen. Crossland was Miss Omak Stampede in 2011.
She credits her family, Crossland and junior rodeo royalty adviser Trisha Herriman with helping her along the way.
Stampede has not had a contested queen competition since Amanda Emerson and Katie Fergus met in 2009 and Emerson was selected.
Fergus later became queen in 2012.