Horses are a very large part of Amanda Ware's life. She began showing horses when she was two years old.
"I attended the fair from a very young age and began showing horses there as soon as I was old enough to be in 4-H," the 2004 Umatilla County Fair Princess said. "Later, I also started showing sheep, competing in public speaking and livestock judging."
Ware is a senior at Hermiston High School. She was born in Hermiston and has lived there her entire life. She is the daughter of Brent and Linda Ware. She has one brother, Kyle, 15.
Her interests and hobbies come from both her parents. She has spent the last year restoring her 1968 Cougar with the help of her dad, who is an automotive painter. Horses are her sport. Her love of riding, caring for and showing horses comes from her mom, who is a paint horse breeder.
Ware's other activities include public speaking, competing in 4-H and FFA contests and teaching herself to play the guitar.
She has been a member of the Hermiston FFA and served as the chapter secretary and as the Blue Mountain FFA district secretary. She is an Oregon State 4-H Ambassador and a junior leader of the Just Horsin' Around 4-H Club. She is a member of the Blue Mountain Paint Horse Show Club and the American Junior Paint Horse Association. Ware is active in her church and youth church group.
Ware helps her mom around the ranch with daily chores, feeding, grooming and stall cleaning. She also helps with marketing, breeding, handling and selling. She gives horseback riding lessons both at her ranch and other people's places.
"It is part of my life and I'm fortunate enough to grow up with horses," Ware said. "I love giving lessons. It is neat to watch kids progress and grow over time. I love to watch them at shows. I'd rather see my kids win rather than myself."
Ware describes herself as "outgoing, very determined and not afraid of hard work to achieve my goals." This has been an advantage during her time on court.
"I enjoy being in different situations and meeting new people," Ware said. "We are always meeting new people at lunches - tons and tons of girls from all over the state. All of us are outgoing. We have a great time together going out and meeting people. There are a lot of things we wouldn't do by ourselves, but will do together and have a really good time, like dancing in front of everyone during the Fourth of July Celebration."
She enjoys most aspects of being on court and believes it is important for the court to serve as advertisement for the fair, serve as role models and help bring new people to the area, she said.
"I remember when I was younger and going to the fair," she said. "I always looked up to the court."
Serving on the court has been a positive, rewarding experience for Ware.
"I love public speaking and being able to interact with large groups," she said. "I enjoy experiencing a new aspect of riding and have fun during the runs and parades. Fair court is something my entire family can be a part of and can enjoy together. The girls on the court are a lot of fun and we get along very well and have a good time together."
Although the court has been great, there is one thing Ware does not like, that is early mornings.
"I do them, but nobody ever said you have to like them," Ware said. "Showing horses will get a person used to functioning on very little sleep, but I am still not much of a morning person."
Her funniest memories include the trips in the motor home.
"When you put four girls and our chaperones in one motor home, add make-up, curling irons, clothes (all on opposite ends of the motor home of course), and then put that motor home in motion you are bound to have some very interesting moments," Ware said. "We have all bumped into each other, crashed into a wall or ended up someplace that we were not really intending to be at one time or another."
After her year on the court, Ware plans to graduate from Hermiston High School and attend Oregon State University, majoring in veterinary science. Her career goal is to become a veterinarian and an equine surgeon.
"Being on fair court will help prepare me for college and my career by putting me in different situations where I may need to be able to think on my feet," Ware said. "It will allow me to gain experience interacting with different types of people and give me new experiences."
Ware's advice to anyone wanting to try out for the UCF court is to come prepared.
"Make sure that you practice the riding pattern before try-outs and are comfortable with the horse that you will be using," Ware said. "Once you are at try-outs, relax and have fun. Enjoy yourself in the interview. Speak confidently, clearly and be honest."