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Miss Western Washington Pinto looking to nab national title
Laura Henning, 19, is a young woman with goals and a dream.
In school at Central Kitsap High, she was an AP student, a National Honor Society member and a musician. Outside of school, she also has been an active 4-H member and for the past five years she has been a youth member of the Pinto Horse Association of Western Washington (PtHAWW), a Pinto horse club.
Laura became interested in horses on a trip to Corey’s Day on the Farm, a day of Western fun for handicapped children.
“I was there to help out and I got hooked,” Henning said.
She is currently Miss Pinto Horse Association of Western Washington, otherwise known as Miss Western Washington Pinto.
As part of her duties, she visits local horse shows, banquets, fairs and parades. She also has led grand entries at the Kitsap County Fair and competed in the opening parade for the Puyallup Fair.
She volunteers time at Corey’s Day on the Farm, and this year, plans to participate in Relay for Life with her fellow royalty court members.
“I even have a costume designed with the Relay for Life colors,” she said.
Henning is unlike typical teenagers, according to Gretchen King, PtHAWW royalty advisor.
“She is incredibly kind, composed, welcoming and has a drive not usually found in teenagers,” King said.
Henning is a nationally ranked rider with her pinto mare, Belle, a horse she purchased as a baby and trained herself, which King also said is not typical.
“That is something you rarely hear at national-level competition when most people ride horses that have been professionally trained and purchased for $20,000 or more,” King said.
Henning has worked hard to be a role model for younger members and is actively working to help the association grow.
“It is great to see more people get involved,” Henning said. “But it does mean more competition.”
Henning has won many awards and in June she will travel to Tulsa, Okla. to compete for the national title of Miss Pinto of America.
She will compete in a two-week long competition with girls from all over the country. They will be judged on Western and English Horsemanship, modeling, a two-minute speech on their first equine experience and what encouraged them to join Pinto, a personal interview and a photo they send in with their application.
If chosen, Henning will become the national ambassador for the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHAA) and travel around the country as a spokeswoman.
The event takes place June 8-20 and the winner will be crowned June 15.
The trip is going to cost $5,047 and Henning is short by $1,859. She plans to have fundraisers at her next show, but is hoping to get community members to sponsor her.
“The association almost canceled the queens competition last year for good, but it is going again this year and we want to see it keep going for another 35 years,” said Sue Henning, Laura’s mom.
If you would like to help Henning get to the competition, donations may be sent to Miss Pinto Western Washington, Laura Henning, P.O. Box 1976, Sequim, WA 98382.