By Audra Arendall, TCR Publicity Chairperson
Setting the pattern for this year's barrel racers at the Texas Cowboy Reunion will be Cequin McIlwain, who has been named the Official Sponsor for the 85th Texas Cowboy Reunion, July 1st - 4th, 2015.
McIlwain, who is 15-years-old and will be a freshman at Hamlin High School, says she is very excited about the opportunity to help welcome this year's barrel racers. She says being the Sponsor is something she has always dreamed of doing since she was very young.
As Sponsor, Cequin will assist this year's Hostess, Rhonda Powell, in serving lunch to the slack barrel racers. She will ride in the downtown parade on July 1 and set the clover-leaf pattern each night of the rodeo.
Cequin is the daughter of Eddy McIlwain, a 1995 graduate of Anson High School, and Sabrina McIlwain, a 1993 graduate of Paint Creek High School. Sabrina is employed at Hamlin National Bank and Eddy is employed at Big Country Electric in Roby. Cequin has an older brother, Cedar, who graduated from Hamlin High School in May.
Her grandparents are Mary and Randy Denson of Stamford and C.R. and Rebecca McIlwain of Anson. Great-grandparents are Guy and Jerry Denson of Stamford and her great-aunt and uncle are Mary and Billy McIlwain of Hamlin.
Attending the Texas Cowboy Reunion is a traditional event for the McIlwain family. Cequin was 2 years old when she started riding in the TCR Grand Entry and she hasn't missed one since - something she gets from her father, who has never missed the rodeo. Eddy has participated in many different events at the TCR over the years. Her mom said that if you gave Cequin and her dad a choice between attending the Texas Cowboy Reunion or going on a week-long cruise, without hesitation they would pick the TCR over anything else.
In 2006, she participated in the steer riding and won. Cequin has been the only girl to win the steer riding at the Texas Cowboy Reunion. She came back to win second place in 2007. In 2009, she entered the Sponsor Barrel Race.
In 1959, Cequin's grandpa C.R. McIlwain won the double mugging along with her great-uncle Billy McIlwain.
When Cequin was five-years-old, she joined the Junior Sherriff's Posse and began helping set the pivots prior to the Grand Entry at each TCR Performance. When she was six-years-old, she was honored as the Stamford Junior Sheriff's Posse Sweetheart.
Cequin says that she is in the process of purchasing a new horse to start competing but because she doesn't have one who is ready for the rodeo, she will be setting the clover-leaf pattern each night riding Raindrop; a 9-year-old mare Quarter horse owned by Callie Cude from Munday.
Cequin is a young lady with diverse interests. She participates in FFA, 4-H, Basketball, Cross Country, and Track. Her favorite activity in FFA is showing market boar goats, something she started out doing in the 3rd grade as a member of 4-H. She is also a member of Bethel Assembly Church in Anson. In her free time she enjoys dancing and taking pictures.
Don't miss Cequin each night of the 2015 Texas Cowboy Reunion setting the pivots at 8 p.m. on July 1, 2, 3, & 4.