OGDEN -- Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo fans had a lot to celebrate Tuesday night as they cheered on Makenzie Maughan, 21, as she was crowned Miss Rodeo Utah 2013 at the Timbermine restaurant.
The daughter of Rod and Mindy Maughan, of Hooper, was the first Miss Rodeo Utah to be named in February and the first to be named by a unanimous vote by the Ogden Pioneer Heritage Foundation, the executive board of the Ogden Pioneer Days committee and the directors of Miss Rodeo Utah.
And she's also the first to have nearly a full year to prepare for the Miss Rodeo America pageant as the initial Utah first lady of rodeo to be crowned under the state's new Lady-in-Waiting program.
"This will give us a leg up," Maughan said about the program. "We'll be able to prepare harder and prepare more for Miss Rodeo America."
"For those unfamiliar with the Lady-in-Waiting programs, it simply means that there's a young woman in the wings, getting ready for her time to reign," states a news release from the Miss Rodeo Utah committee. "It gives her extra time to travel and prepare for the national stage."
The unusual circumstances behind Maughan's honor came about when Chenae Shiner, Miss Rodeo Utah 2012, was named Miss Rodeo America 2013 in December.
Because of Shiner's many obligations outside of Utah, officials said naming Maughan as Miss Rodeo Utah will leave Utah covered with a reigning queen.
Officials used Tuesday's event to assure those in attendance that no one would be short-changed with the move.
"Chenae will always be Miss Rodeo Utah 2012," said Jerry Shaw, who is chairman of the Ogden Pioneer Days committee. "Makenzie will always be Miss Rodeo Utah 2013. The new queen crowned in July will be Miss Rodeo Utah 2014."
The winner of this summer's Miss Rodeo Utah competition during the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo will have an official coronation in January, officials said.
It's a system used by most other states that name a state rodeo queen, Maughan said.
"This is a really good opportunity for Utah to have a Lady-in-Waiting program," said Linda Stark, whose daughter, Jody Stark Sheffield, is a former Miss Rodeo Ogden and a Wrangler National Finals qualifying barrel racer. "Ours is the last contest in the country, and it doesn't leave much time to get ready."
Shianne Lowe, who is a former Silver State International Rodeo queen and a future Miss Rodeo Utah hopeful, said: "It's a great opportunity for Utah to prepare for America. The queens will be able to study, to get to know the queens they will be competing against."
No one in attendance Tuesday voiced any doubts as to whether Maughan was deserving of the title.
She is a former Miss Rodeo Ogden and placed as first attendant to Shiner following last summer's Miss Rodeo Utah contest.
Maughan said she has lived a dream of wanting to be Miss Rodeo Utah her whole life.
She said she was so young when she first was in awe of Miss Rodeo Utah at the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo that she can't even put a number on her age at that time.
"I was little, little," she said.
But her accomplishment was lauded as anything but small Tuesday as Maughan received a standing ovation when she was first announced as Miss Rodeo Utah.
Several hundred rodeo fans attended for the chance to congratulate Maughan.
Many of them brought gifts for her, even though they only had about a week's notice following the decision to award her the title.
Maughan said she was having a difficult time keeping her nerves at bay Tuesday night, even though she knew she was now done competing for the honor.
"It's crazy, because I've dreamed about this forever," she said. "Now, it's become a reality. I have a million emotions right now."
Maughan said she will have a fundraiser this spring to help her finance her travel and clothing to prepare for the Miss Rodeo America contest next winter.