OSU freshman fully aware of her role as 89er Queen
By Van Mitchell
Special to Guthrie News Page
Tori Clay grew up being familiar with Guthrie’s 89er Days Celebration and the position that the 89er Queen plays with it.
It was a role that the Perkins resident and Oklahoma State University freshman has taken on after being named the 2015 89er Queen. The 89er Days Celebration runs April 14-19.
Clay, 19, said her friend Jesse Henderson, who was the 2013 89er queen, suggested she try out for it.
“I want to be a role model for little girls,” Clay said. “I know when I was their age I always looked up to the queens as role models. It’s an honor to be selected. I want to represent them the best that I can.”
Clay said three girls auditioned for the Queen role on Feb. 21 undergoing a horsemanship pattern followed by an interview and speech.
“I was so excited,” Clay said. “Those other two girls were real good and it was stiff competition.”
Clay’s queen duties will include visiting various local civic clubs, appearing at the celebration’s chuck wagon dinner on Wednesday, April 14, the Wounded Warrior Professional bull riding and concert on Saturday April 18 and the annual parade on Saturday, April 18 at noon.
“We are the face of the celebration,” Clay said. “We are here to promote not only the history but to join in all the festivities. There are multiple events that we attend.”
Clay will be joined at the events by Jaylah Short of Coyle who is the 89er Princess.
Steve Gentling, 89er parade chairman, said the queen and princess roles are two historic staples of the 89er Days celebration.
“We have a great tradition of having a queen and princess recognizing the 89ers and the rodeo,” Gentling said. “That continues this year with the selection of Tor Clay who is a great representative of what 89ers is all about.”
Clay is the daughter of Bobby Clay and Tammy Compton. She grew up on her family’s cattle ranch and is majoring in animal science with an option in animal production.
This summer she will be doing an internship at the Deseret Ranches in Woodruff, Utah.
The Deseret Ranches internship program is designed to evaluate college students for potential long-term positions in the company while allowing college students the opportunity to gain work experience.
Clay will work on the breeding side of the operation for the first part of the summer and then transition over to the branding and identification side of the operation.
Clay said her long-term goal is to return home working to expand her family’s cattle business.
“Cattle operations are where my heart is at,” she said. “I plan on going home and working with my dad.”
Clay is also staying busy this spring as a member of OSU’s Rodeo Team where she does barrel racing.
She said she has been able to strike a good balance between her school work, her queen activities and rodeo traveling schedule.
“During the spring our schedule is insanely busy because we are traveling a lot,” she said. “I have checked with all my professors. I know there will be a lot of back work to do. It has been good so far. I have really enjoyed it.”
Clay describes herself as an open book but also someone who is very determined.
“I am an open book,” she said. “People pretty much know everything about me. I am determined. Once I have a goal I am pretty determined to complete it.”