ENTERTAINMENT

Affinity with horses leads to state title for Greencastle woman

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

After a lapse of 10 years, Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania was revived, and the winner was a young woman from Greencastle. Kalina Gipe, 23, received the 2014 crown in February, and will compete for 2015 Miss Rodeo America in December.

“It is an honor and a privilege to hold this title,” she said from her Mercersburg Road home.

As an ambassador of MRPA, Gipe will promote the sport of rodeo and preserving western heritage. Though she has been an equestrian since childhood, she only by accident discovered the existence of the pageant. She learned about it on Facebook and sent in an application which included her biography, goals, education, and a video of a reining pattern.

“You show how much control you have over your horse in an arena,” she explained.

Her quarterhorse Gizmo shined in the performance and she won the title.

Gipe is serving her year participating in community events, including rodeos, fundraisers, parades, the National Pike Wagon Train Festival, and as a guest speaker at meetings, schools or wherever she is invited.

The national competition is in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. It is held annually in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Gipe will be judged on appearance, personality and horsemanship. Each contestant will be given a horse on the spot to demonstrate her skills.

Gipe is fundraising and lining up sponsors to help her with travel and clothing expenses. Anyone interested in assisting can contact Ann Grenier, National Director of MRPA, based in Mansfield, at 570-404-0700 or missrodeopainc@gmail.com

In love with horses

Every kid asks for a pony at some point. Gipe eventually received her wish. She started riding lessons at Star Equestrian Center at age nine.

“After years and years of persuasion, I got my first horse at 14, and it escalated from there,” she said.

She also took trick riding lessons from a private party in central Pennsylvania, where her standing on or hanging beneath a moving horse made her parents, Timothy and Dawn Gipe, nervous.

Gipe has participated in horse competitions at the Franklin County Fair, Washington County Agricultural Education Center, Silver Star Saddle Club, Saddles N Spurs Fun Show,  Star Equestrian Center and Blue Ridge Riding Academy.

She has done barrel racing, dashes, keyhole and other events at rodeos, but confessed, “I’ve never been on a bull.”

Her interest in the majestic steeds hailed from earliest memory. Gipe loved the television show ‘Bonanza’, as well as other reruns from decades ago.

“I’ve always had an old soul for westerns,” she said.

She bought a Shetland pony, Gilligan, as a companion for Gizmo. In the future she hopes to own a farm so she can buy more horses, raise and train one from a foal, and compete seriously in rodeos, adding pole bending and roping.

“I want to try everything,” Gipe said. “I always never want to stop learning about horses. They are my passion.”

Biography

Gipe is a 2008 graduate of James Buchanan High School. She earned an AA degree in general studies from Hagerstown Community College in 2010, a BA in Communication Arts from Hood College in 2012, and an AS in education from HCC in 2013.

She works at HCC, and if she should win scholarship money at Miss Rodeo America, would use it toward a masters degree in education. She has mentored children in many settings and instructed them in riding lessons. Her future career and life with horses is wide open.

“You never know where God will lead you,” she said.