Miss Columbia Basin

Dad doesn’t believe I’m beauty queen material. Come to find out he doesn’t have to. I only have to believe in myself. My stepmom, Bonnie, gave me the entry-fee money after he refused. But first she asked me, “Does this have anything to do with Trent?”

“What do you mean?”

“You catching him cheating on you with Miss Rodeo Wenatchee?” I didn’t reply. “Sorry, Gwen. I have to know. Pageants cost a lot of money, and I’m saving for Renny’s braces.” Renny is my nine-year-old stepsister. She has awful teeth.

“Who’s Trent?” I tried to joke, as if I could forget him. And it was Miss Rodeo Yakima, not Miss Rodeo Wenatchee, whose belt buckle and Wrangler jeans Trent was undoing when I walked into his FFA trailer at the county fairgrounds last summer. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of Wranglers. I wore them at Renny’s age, but only because I wanted a horse so badly.

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