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No scholarship money for stampede queen contestants

Parent, daughter remain dissatisfied with response from rodeo board
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Miss Auburn Stampede Queen contestants will not receive scholarship money this year, which one woman said she was promised. Following an investigation, Auburn Wild West Stampede Board President Betty Estep released a letter stating the board was not going to award scholarships as has been the practice in years past. The board will continue to pay the entry fee and some transportation expenses for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association eligible queen to compete in the state Miss Rodeo California competition, the letter stated. Estep’s letter was in response to Patti Shier’s April 29 letter to the board claiming the Stampede promised scholarships to the winner and runner-up of the 2008 queen competition. Shier’s daughter, Samantha, competed this year and placed second. “We agree that ‘will compete for scholarship awards and numerous prizes donated by area merchants’ appeared in the website in a general description. We disagree with your point of view that your daughter, Samantha, (or any other 2008 AWWS queen contestant) was promised a scholarship,” Estep’s letter stated. Both Patti and Samantha Shier said the letter’s statement left them confused. They are still waiting for clarification from two board members. The Shiers say they were told by Jessica Brown, the 2008 volunteer queen coordinator, that the first-place winner would receive $5,000 and second place would win $3,000. “Based on our investigation, the AWWS Board concludes Ms. Brown did not make such a promise or representation,” Estep’s letter stated. Brown did not return an e-mail from the Auburn Journal. When contacted, board member Jim Roeder would not elaborate on the letter. He highlighted the fact that the Auburn queen contestant is eligible for scholarships at the state and national competitions. Estep did not return calls Tuesday or Wednesday. “It’s kind of disheartening and discouraging,” Samantha Shier said. Samantha Shier, a 20-year-old who attends Fresno State, said she plans to pursue the issue. She and her parents have contacted the state Better Business Bureau and are awaiting further response. “I don’t want to attack Jim Roeder or the rodeo board but if you say something, you should follow through with it,” Samantha Shier told the Journal by phone Wednesday. At the end of Estep’s letter, she stated that the board will remove scholarship language from the Web site. The Web site now states that contestants are eligible for “awards and numerous prizes donated by area merchants.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.