BENSON — There’s much more to rodeo queens than a pretty face and the glitz and glam of rhinestone crowns and belt buckles.
Butterfield Rodeo Queen Andrea Murphy, 22, and her attending princess, 14-year-old Bailey Hall, serve as ambassadors for the sport of rodeo while working to promote and keep western heritage alive.
“As ambassadors for Benson’s Butterfield Rodeo, we make appearances, meet the public, answer questions and are role models for young children. We put countless smiles on the faces of little girls that we meet,” Murphy said. “For me, seeing those smiling faces is the most rewarding part of being a rodeo queen.”
Both Murphy and Hall were crowned as Butterfield Royalty in 2019, but were asked by rodeo committee members to retain their crowns for an additional year when COVID caused widespread event cancelations.
“We weren’t able to participate in all of the rodeo events and parades that were scheduled, so we were asked to continue representing the Butterfield Rodeo for another year,” said Hall, who was an eighth-grader at the time of her coronation. Now a Benson High School freshman, Hall says she looks forward to the Butterfield Rodeo, which runs Saturday and Sunday at the Benson Arena Bar, located at 250 N. Prickly Pear.
While Hall will retain her crown, Murphy is getting married in November, so will need to forfeit her title as queen. She will, however, attend next year’s coronation when the new Butterfield Rodeo Queen and princess are crowned.
Meet Andrea Murphy“Both Bailey and I were very involved in Butterfield before COVID hit,” Murphy said. “We rode in last year’s Tombstone Helldorado Days parade and will be doing that again this year. We rode in the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association (GCPRA) finals in Laughlin, Nevada last year, attended the coronation for Miss Rodeo Arizona in Tucson, and we rode in the Tucson Rodeo Parade in February.”
The two also rode in the 2020 Sonoita Rodeo as well as last weekend’s Rex Allen Days Rodeo Parade in Willcox. They also assisted in different activities throughout the Rex Allen Days Rodeo weekend.
As rodeo royalty, Murphy and Hall represent a lifestyle filled with ranching, livestock, agriculture and hard work.
“The Butterfield rodeo queen and princess contest extends over three days,” Murphy said. “We are judged on our horsemanship, go through several interviews on our knowledge of rodeo, we do modeling and we have to give speeches. Even though the contest was pretty extensive, it was a lot of fun. I liked interacting with different people and making new friends.”
The daughter of Richard and Deborah Murphy, Andrea was raised in Kansas Settlement, just outside of Willcox.
She attended Willcox High School where she graduated with the class of 2016.
“My parents have a small ranch in Kansas Settlement, so horses and ranching have always been a big part of my life,” she said. “I’m fortunate because I have a solid, reliable quarter horse mare named Dawn. She’s perfect for these kinds of events.”
Murphy now lives in Cochise and works for Stronghold Feed and Supply in Willcox, a job she says she loves.
“I’ve learned so much about ranching through my work there,” she said. “I have great co-workers and the job has been a wonderful experience for me.”
Meet Bailey HallWhen it comes to rodeo queen competitions, Bailey Hall could be following in her mother’s footsteps.
The daughter of Sean and Alta Hall of Dragoon, Bailey is proud of her mother’s rodeo queen accomplishments.
“My mom was a Rex Allen Days rodeo queen back in 1995 and 1996, and she has judged queen contests,” Bailey said. “So, she helped me a lot while I was getting ready for the Butterfield competition.”
Alta Hall grew up on a cattle ranch in Dragoon. During her time as a rodeo queen, she was a barrel racer and roper.
“I think serving as royalty is a wonderful experience for the girls because it helps build confidence and poise,” she said. “I also had the opportunity to run for Miss Rodeo Arizona in 1997, and was second runner up in that competition.”
Like her mother, Bailey Hall has been riding horses for as long as she can remember.
“I like the sport of rodeo and love everything about representing rodeo,” she said. “That’s why I decided to try out for Butterfield princess.”
Hall said she had fun representing the Butterfield Rodeo during the Rex Allen Days parade and other events last weekend.
“We rode in the parade and helped with the kids’ rodeo,” she said. “We also did a hot lap around the arena at the beginning of the rodeo and carried a flag.”
Hall has met a lot of new friends in her role as princess and has enjoyed getting to know other royalty, especially Murphy.
“Andrea Murphy and I have become good friends, and I’m going to miss her,” she said. “We plan on staying in touch with each other, even after she steps down as queen.”
When asked what she enjoys most about her princess experience, Hall said that working with the younger kids stand out the most for her.
“I like the way they look up to us and want to be like us,” she said. “I always want to be a good role model and do my best at representing the Butterfield Rodeo.”
Butterfield Rodeo royalty coordinator Ashley Floyd had the following words of praise for the two.
“Andrea and Bailey exceeded my expectations for rodeo royalty by a long shot,” Floyd said. “They are both amazing young women who worked hard this year in keeping the spirit of rodeo alive. They always had smiles on their faces and were willing to tackle any task I threw their way. Working with both girls this year has been very exciting and rewarding. I’m proud to have had these distinguished role models represent our rodeo this year.”