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Tucson Rodeo closes with sellout crowd

Posted: 10:21 PM, Feb 23, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-24 00:21:19-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — One could argue the Tucson Rodeo is for everyone, including a mother from Marana with a 9 to 5 at the U-of-A.

"I work at the University of Arizona as a compliance specialist," said Mandie-Marie Dunham

Dunham said she's been a rider at the rodeo grounds for years.

"I was the Tucson Rodeo Queen in 1999 and I've been carrying flags for 21 years now," Dunham said.

"I love the rodeo, born and raised around it and I'm like the fourth generation in my family to be doing rodeo events."

This year and for the last decade and a half, she said she's been the rider you'll see taking a victory lap with event winners.

"Proper technique is...to have a fast horse that can handle a flag and is not scared of loud music and crowds."

Dunham rides 16-year-old "Moon."

"Moon and I have been partners for about four years now," she said.

"She is my girl horse and she also is a team roping horse."

The work they do every year at the rodeo feels almost meant to be.

"I just put a flag on her back one day and I said 'Moon, let's try this,' and she loved it because she loves to go fast."

Dunham said her daughter Jacie-Rene also rides alongside her as a flag girl.