Story, videos: Ashley Isaac competes, repeats as Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queen

From left are 2018 Lost Dutchman Days Senior Teen Queen Monti Mongold, 2018 Queen Ashley Isaac and 2018 Junior Teen Queen Summer Simpson. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newspapers)

Summer Simpson speaks to the judges during the competition. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newspapers)

(Above are 2018 Lost Dutchman Days senior teen queen competitor Monti Mongold, 2018 junior teen queen competitor Summer Simpson and Jaelee Mernaugh, 2017 Lost Dutchman Days junior teen queen, at the Jan. 6 Lost Dutchman Days royalty pageant. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

(Above, Ashley Isaac pushes cattle as part of the Jan. 6 competition for 2018 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queen. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

(Above, Ashley Isaac in the competition for 2018 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queen. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

(Above, Monti Mongold in the competition for 2018 Lost Dutchman Days senior teen queen. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

(Above, Summer Simpson in the competition for 2018 Lost Dutchman Days junior teen queen. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

(Above, the Apache Junction Mounted Rangers and the Superstition Mountain Promotional Corp. each donated funds to the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queens Jan. 6. Video by Richard H. Dyer)

Ashley Isaac, 22, of Gilbert was the 2017 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queen and was selected as the 2018 rodeo queen Jan. 6 during a day-long pageant competition that included horsemanship events at the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. Contestants for queen, senior teen queen and junior teen queen also were judged on public speaking and interviews at Elks Lodge No. 2349, 2455 N. Apache Trail in Apache Junction.

The winner of the queen title receives a $1,000 scholarship that is renewable annually up to four years for a total of $4,000 to the school of her choice. The award will be made available for tuition or books associated with the enrollment, according to the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Royalty pageant application packet.

Monti Mongold, 13, who will soon turn 14, was chosen as the 2018 senior teen queen; and Summer Simpson, 12, was chosen as the 2018 junior teen queen. Both are Apache Junction residents.

Each titleholder is required to attend meetings, fundraisers and other rodeo events that are mandatory as Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Royalty, according to the packet. It is the duty of each queen to promote Lost Dutchman Days throughout Arizona by attending Lost Dutchman Days-sanctioned events as well as visiting rodeos and pageants in other cities. She is responsible for carrying the title proudly and fulfilling duties assigned by the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Royalty Committee to the best of her ability, according to the packet.

The Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association-sanctioned Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo is Feb. 23-25. In addition, all team roping will be run starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the rodeo grounds. Additional LDD events include a charity golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 3; the Lost Dutchman Days Annual Bratwurst and Budweiser Party Thursday, Feb. 22; and a rodeo dance Friday. Feb. 23.

For a schedule of events and ticket information, visit

2018 rodeo queen

Ms. Isaac, the 2018 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queen, was the 2017 Lost Dutchman Days queen and 2016 P&M Arena queen.

“I have really enjoyed this year so I thought a second year would be incredible so when the opportunity arose I knew I had to take it,” she said in an interview Jan. 6 before the winners were announced.

She said she most enjoyed working with children in the community.

“Probably being able to be so much a part of the Apache Junction community and the work that we’ve done to help the kids out here. We’ve done 50/50s all year to go ahead and give to ‘putting smiles on kids’ faces,’” she said of fundraisers. “And we’ve also, at the rodeos, we try to incorporate the kids as much as we can with like grocery runs and stuff like that to get them involved.”

She attended Chandler-Gilbert Community College and graduated with an associate of science degree. She works for GM Financial.

Also competing for 2018 queen, but not winning, was Ashleigh Hamlin, 17, of San Tan Valley.

She previously was the 2017 Copper Dust Stampede Rodeo senior teen queen and a P&M Arena flag carrier.

She is a senior at Queen Creek High School and plans to attend the University of Arizona for a masters degree in psychology with a minor in animal biomedical industries.

Her favorite rodeo competition is breakaway.

“Rodeo’s important to me because it just brings my family together. Whenever we’re at a rodeo everybody is super happy and we just do what we love,” she said.

2018 senior teen queen

Ms. Mongold, the 2018 Lost Dutchman Days senior teen queen, was previously the P&M Arena Arizona flag carrier. She does online schooling with Primavera and plans to go to college to become a veterinarian.

She likes rodeo.

“It gives you responsibility,” she said.

Her favorite rodeo competitions are barrels and titles, she said.

2018 junior teen queen

Ms. Simpson, the 2018 Lost Dutchman Days junior teen queen, attends Taft Elementary School in Mesa.

Her future plans for education include joining the U.S. Army.

“Because my dad was in it and my brother and my dad’s dad. I just want to follow in their footsteps,” she said.

She also likes rodeos.

“I just think it’s important because you can build a partnership with your horse and that you can just love it,” she said.

Outgoing royalty

In addition to Ms. Isaac being queen, Brooke Smith was senior teen queen and Jaelee Mernaugh was junior teen queen in the 2017 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Royalty Court.

“It’s been an amazing experience with my queen court. We’ve had a lot of fun and got all over the place. So it’s been an awesome year,” Ms. Smith said. “I most enjoyed traveling to all of the rodeos and then I also love how Lost Dutchman Days has so many community events, like our brats fundraiser. I thought that was cool like getting to see the community part of it.”

She hopes to compete in March for Sonoita Rodeo queen.

“It will be March 24th that I run, which is the day after my birthday so I just make the cut but I am very excited. I’ll be 18,” she said.
Ms. Smith is a senior at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe and plans to attend Arizona State University to further her education.
Ms. Mernaugh said she most enjoyed being with her fellow Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo queens.

“Probably spending time with the two older queens. They’ve let me tag along with everything that they’ve done and they made me feel special,” she said.

Ms. Mernaugh, 11, hopes to compete in the future for another rodeo queen title. She attends Gateway Elementary School in Gilbert.

Over the next month, the new queens will remain “in waiting” until the 2017 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo royalty step down at the crowning ceremony, according to the application packet. The ceremony will take place during the 2018 LDD Rodeo Sunday performance pre-show on Feb. 25, according to the packet. At that time, they will be presented, perform the presentation runs, push cattle and run sponsor and winners’ laps, according to the packet.

To select the queens, three judges used scores from a variety of categories and from a private interview. Judging criteria included horsemanship skills and etiquette. This year’s judges were Kate Cox, Wanette Wilson and Codi Ross.

Queen contestants must be 18-26 years old as of the first day of competition. Senior teen queen contestants must be 14-17, while junior teen queen contestants must be 10-13. Contestants must be a resident of Arizona as of Jan. 1 of the year of competition. The Lost Dutchman Days title holders must remain living within Arizona during their reign. Contestants must not be married, never have been married and cannot become married during their reign.

For information on the rodeo royalty, contact Heidi Erickson, Lost Dutchman Days royalty director, at

For more information about the 54th Annual Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo, including rodeo royalty and ticket sales, visit the event website.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at

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