Anna Yost, a Joseph girl with a rich western heritage, was named queen of the 2003 Chief Joseph Days Court before a packed house at the annual coronation dinner and dance Saturday night.
Yost received the queen's tiara from the hands of last year's queen, Heather Marshall, amid congratulations from her fellow court members, Joy Kuppinger, Celeste Hillock and Erin Voss.
This is the first time in many years that there have been four, instead of three, young women on the court.
The 2003 court is also special in that it came close to losing one of its members to a traffic accident in December. Instead, determined Joy Kuppinger recovered from her injuries to take part in all aspects of the queen's competition, giving friend Anna a run for her crown.
While Queen Anna placed first in ticket sales, she was second to Kuppinger in speech contest points and second to Hillock in the riding tryout Saturday morning. When all the points were tallied from all competition categories, Yost had edged out the other girls in a very close race.
The four girls raised a total of $47,521 in rodeo ticket sales, and will each receive a commission for the tickets they sold in an intense door-to-door sales effort in the four weeks prior to the coronation event. Yost sold $14,860 in tickets; Kuppinger, $13,613; Hillock, $10,746; and Voss, $8,302. The sales total last year, when there were only three royal salesmen, was $34,538.
"I'm excited and I'm happy," said Yost after being named queen. " But I know I would have had fun this summer anyway." She called her fellow court members "awesome" and predicts the quartet will really "click" as a court and as friends.
In a way, the new Queen Anna had a few hard acts to follow in her immediate family: mother Marianne, aunt Ronda Shirley, and cousin Jill Yost, were all Chief Joseph Days queens before her, while aunt Christy Wells and cousin Tara Shirley are former princesses.
Earlier in the evening during the coronation, one of the young royals, Celeste Hillock, had the pleasure and surprise of seeing her own grandparents, Johnand Ida Hillock of Enterprise, named as grand marshals of the 2003 CJD parade. Though last year's grand marshals, Nancy and Keith Water, noted the Hillocks "were not a cowboy couple," they were singled out for their community service through the years, including John Hillock's expert volunteer help as an electrician. "He's always there to help," said Nancy Waters. Ida Hillock, a two-time Homemaker of the County Fair winner, was especially praised for her work with the fair and 4-Hers through the years.
Tony Yost, former president of the Joseph Chamber of Commerce, traveled up from his new home in Modesto, Calif., to serve as master of ceremonies for the event, and presented a president's belt buckle to his successor, Fred Steen, who has served a year and a half as chamber president.
Another special award, a pair of silver spurs, were presented to John Bailey, who is retiring this year from his position as co-rodeo chairman after 18 years, leaving the chairmanship to Bill Hopkins on his own.
After Judy Bothum, who has coordinated eye-catching outfits for Chief Josseph Days Courts for many years, narrated the fashion shows of past court members - including her own daughter, Katy, who was CJD Queen in 1993 - she introduced this year's court and their new outfits.
A pair of boots with a bucking horse on the top and pants tucked into the boots were new fashion touches for the 2003 court. Black shirts, including a classic western number with embroidered flowers, black and tan pants, a brown and black leather tooled vest and a Pendleton wool coat were part of the court's mix and match wardrobe. The parade ensemble was dark maroon suede riding skirts with matching tops decorated with Western appliques.
Judy Bothum, who lost her husband Shirly to a heart attack in January, was recognized by the Joseph Chamber of Commerce with the annual Standards of the West award for her years of volunteer work with the court.
The 2003 Chief Joseph Days Court will travel to the Asotin County Fair this weekend for their first official appearance.