|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Thursday, 29 September 2011 11:00|
It’s official. After around an hour Sunday of demonstrating horsemanship skills, personality and poise, Michelle Moscardini was crowned Camp Verde’s 51st Colonel’s Daughter.
She was selected by a panel of three out-of-town judges out of four young women competing for the honor, including Cassidy Perez, Shelby Boler and Sharli MacDonald.
As always, the contest was held on the parade grounds of Fort Verde State Historic Park and organized by the Camp Verde Cavalry. Jim Meredith was this year’s contest chairman.
The cavalry started things off circling the grounds with an American flag as “The Star-Spangled Banner” brought people to their feet.
The cavalrymen watched over the field as the girls put their horses through predetermined patterns, while “Colonel Bogey March” and “This Land Is Your Land” were played over the loudspeakers.
Following the horse section, the girls disappeared for a short while to get into their replica 19th-century dresses. When they returned to the microphone to answer the questions of the judges, they looked like they had stepped out of a time machine.
“These are all No. 1 girls,” said Betty Parrish, pointing out that the judges still had to pick only one winner.
This time, it was Moscardini. This was her third attempt to claim the title, Camp Verde’s unique equivalent of a rodeo queen.
“It all started my sophomore year and I didn’t get it,” Moscardini said before the winner was announced. “My junior year I didn’t get it, so this is my last chance.”
Moscardini said participating in the contest has made her new friends. She sees being the Colonel’s Daughter as an opportunity to act as a role model for others and as an ambassador for the town.
Boler said the contest had helped her gain more self-confidence when it comes to speaking in public.
There were also a few previous winners of the title in the small crowd assembled to watch the event from beneath a few tents set up to provide shade.
Moscardini now gets to ride with the cavalry at the head of this year’s Fort Verde Days Parade, set for Saturday, Oct. 8. She will be joined by the other contestants right behindher who will be serving as the Colonel’s Daughter’s Court.
The name of the contest is a reference to an 1882 novel written by Retired Army Capt. Charles E. King, who was stationed at Fort Verde in the 1870s. He was wounded in a skirmish at Sunset Pass his first year at the fort, but stayed in the Army until 1879. King took his experience there and used it to help create the fictional Fort Sandy in “The Colonel’s Daughter; or, Winning His Spurs.”
The Colonel’s Daughter of the title was based on the real-life daughter of an officer at Fort Verde. It’s the subtitle to the book, “Winning His Spurs,” that gave rise to the spurs each Colonel’s Daughter receives from the Camp Verde Cavalry, in addition to other gifts collected from local merchants.
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