Banner and stars graphicBanner and stars graphic









Run for Sweetheart

Full list of Willits Frontier Days Sweethearts
over the years:

1926 None

1927 Marie Schloegel Novaglie

1928 Martha Warner Kelton

1929 Lola Butts

1930 None

1931 None

1932 Enola McKenzie Reed

1933 Betty Akins

1934 Amy Gardner

1935 Jemma Pedroncelli Serventi

1936 Elizabeth Wendt Ferguson

1937 Alice Gibellini Wade

1938 Dorce Brown

1939 Ernistime Casteel DeBoer

1940 Evelyn Robley Bergson

1941 Pauline Standley Perez

1942 Melba Dempsey Lewis

1943 Ann Cox McGinnis

1944 Anna Ford Hardwick

1945 Lillian Kroh Nolan

1946 Georgia Stovall Welch

1947 Anne Crabtree Henderson

1948 Lillian Kroh Nolan

1949 Betty Mast Campbell

1950 Wanda Lane Johnston

1951 Gretchen Mullen Weber

1952 Yvonne Dusseau Leever

1953 Claire Shawnago Huffman

1954 Joan Neary Von Weien

1955 Shirley Merritt Nikolashin

1956 Betty Ann Stansberry Erbes

1957 Patricia Moreno Door

1958 Letha Schumaker Wiley

1959 Marian Whitely Ross

1960 Carol Collier McClendon

1961 Mardi Wilson Hinton

1962 Linda Allen Banks

1963 Susan Fonsen Neilson

1964 Sue Hardaway

1965 Sharon Baker Arno

1966 Leslie Cogburn Scaglione

1967 Joan Schloegel

1968 Clydeen Smith Dick

1969 Mousey Clatty

1970 Kam Maize LaLaguna

1971 Margaret Smith

1972 Paulette Wilcott Somdahl

1973 Jann Clatty Rickey

1974 Kathy Persico Graves

1975 Lorraine Soulliere Crabtree

1976 Tami Tharp Romberg Mayfield

1977 Kelly Bielenberg Eoff

1978 Julie Canepa Belvin

1979 Liz Persico Day

1980 Cindy Kostanecki Kelly

1981 Stacey Blalack McKinley

1982 Caroline Kostanecki Durupt

1983 Saundra DuCross Norman

1984 Chrissy Kostanecki

1985 Tracey Ford Moody

1986 Kristine McBride Tyrrell

1987 Kim Colwell Lebo

1988 Nicol Persico Kunka

1989 Dina Pinon Parker

1990 Melanie Ulvila

1991 Lanae Shuster Lamkin

1992 Amanda Hiatt Hower

1993 Amy Ford

1994 Marta Trevey

1995 Tori Nunnemaker Minton

1996 Georgeanne Dawson Crosky

1997 Patricia Garrity Murray

1998 Ileah Leone

1999 Mary Garrity Fonsen

2000 Olivia Grupp

2001 Katherine Whitby

2002 Sandi Short Sandroni

2003 Mattie Pinon Owen

2004 Tina Holguin Shull

2005 Ashtan Bloomquist

2006 Darcy Ford

2007 Courtney Figg-Hoblyn

2008 Kinzie Barlow

2009 Lindsey Bowlds

2010 Stephanie Standley Hightower

2011 Riata King

2012 Rachel Belvin Ramirez

2013 Lilja Lamkin

2014 Haley Schuck

2015 Caitlyn Forrester

2016 Halee Reed

2017 Hailey Riley

2018 Lilah Garman

2019 Jaden Doak

2020 Jaden Doak - No contest held

2021 Claire Case Brackett

2022 Sweetheart Contestant - Danielle Barry | 707-272-1340

The 2022 Willits Frontier Days Sweetheart contestant is Willits’ Danielle Barry, 18, who has been looking forward to this experience since she was just a li’l cowgirl. “I decided to run for Sweetheart this year, because I have always looked up to the Sweethearts that got me started in riding … and since I have basically grown up at the rodeo grounds!” laughed Barry. She’s not wrong; Barry certainly can call the Willits Frontier Days rodeo grounds her second home, as she’s spent many years there riding, helping, and volunteering alongside parents Fred and Marcy Barry who have both served as volunteers, vice-president, president, and board members for the non-profit group for over a decade. “I will be riding my own horses for this year’s competition, Rebel and Whiskey,” explained Barry. “Rebel has been my partner for 10 years, and I can’t imagine doing this without him (I always said I will only run for Sweetheart if Rebel was still able to be my partner and if he wanted to), and well, this is the year and we are ready!” Danielle has been riding in gymkhanas, horse shows, and trail rides as well as in high school rodeos. Whiskey joined the team this year, and Barry noted that she couldn’t be any happier with his performance. “He is teaching me new things every day!” Barry attributes her initial interest in horses and the rodeo life to years of encouragement from past Sweethearts, many of whom continue to support her to this day. “The past Sweethearts are the ones who really got me interested in horses,” said Barry. “They were the ones who put me on their horses for the first time at the arena. Thank you to Mary Fonsen for giving me lessons; to Marta Bartow for entering me in my first horse show; to Nicol Persico Kunka for lessons in riding, taking care of my horse and everything in between; to Amanda Hiatt for pushing me to be the best I can and to not give up when I wanted to; to Riata and Twila King for encouraging me to always do better than my last competition and to go ahead and do high school rodeo; and to Courtney Figg-Hoblyn, who not only shared her Sweetheart parade ride with me, but her horse, Clue, year after year, too. “I also can’t forget to thank the entire Persico family, and especially Mike Persico, who told me ‘if you’re going to ride horses, you show them who is the boss, and if you fall off, you get back on.’ I think I might have been only 4 or 5-years old when he told me that, but I have never forgotten,” said Barry. Barry is graduating from Willits High School this June and will be heading to Feather River Junior College in Quincy in the fall, where she will compete on the college rodeo team while completing her college prerequisites before moving onto a four-year college to follow her dream of becoming a large animal vet. “I am very excited to be able to run this year,” said Barry. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and representing Willits Frontier Days during this year’s contest. I want to also thank everyone that is helping me along the way, and give a big thank you to the Willits community as well as my Willits Frontier Days family for always supporting me. I want to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!” Barry will be selling tickets to all the upcoming events and is available by calling or texting 707-272-1340.

Originally published in Willits Weekly
PLEASE RESPECT THE CONTEST and allow our Sweetheart to sell tickets herself. Willits Frontier Days will not allow online campaigning or encouragement of family or friends helping the contestant sell the tickets in any way. If you want to show your support for the contestant this year, please let anyone interested know that they can reach her directly at the phone number listed above. Thank you!


Every year, Willits Frontier Days holds a contest to find the perfect representative for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration; someone who will be an ambassador for the organization, demonstrate poise and personality, be an accomplished equestrian, and exemplify the ideals of western life.

Since 1927, contestants aged 16 to 20 sell tickets to the annual events and compete in riding and poise competitions to decide the year’s winner. The contest starts May 1 with the girls out, dressed in their western finest, selling tickets to the barbecue, rodeos and more. Closer to the end of the competition, the girls prepare a speech based on the year’s theme that they recite in front of family, friends and a panel of judges. They also model western wear and answer questions from the panel. The riding portion of the judging takes place during the annual Horse Show event and includes the girls riding a predetermined pattern on horseback, as well as answering questions from the show judge focusing on equestrian and rodeo knowledge.

The contest runs until the evening before the Sweetheart Dinner, usually held the last Saturday in June. Ticket sales are tallied by a CPA and added to the scores from the poise and riding competitions, and a winner is chosen.

The winner is then crowned at the invite-only dinner in front of family, friends and supporters. It is there that she receives a silver belt buckle, silver spurs, silver tiara, engraved saddle, American flag chaps, flowers, and congratulations galore. Girls also earn 15 percent of their ticket sales, which makes competing for the title a great summer job, too.

The winner then gets to enjoy participating in the year’s following events including riding in the Grand Entry for the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association and Junior Rodeos, riding in the parade, helping move cattle in the arena, and posing with winners of other contests, as well as making many other appearances during the festivities. The winner is also encouraged to attend other state and local events to represent Willits Frontier Days, including high school rodeos, CCPRA and other circuit rodeos, local fairs, school functions and more.

The winner also joins the roster of past Sweethearts, at right, and is invited to all future dinners where the past Sweethearts are honored with roses and a group photo.

Run for Sweetheart

Congratulations to 2021 winner
Claire Case Brackett
2021 winner
2019/2020 weinner Jaden Doak, left, poses with 2021 winner Claire Case Brackett.
2021 contestants
Claire Case Brackett was the only contant for 2021. She is pictured here with Willits Frontier Days president Fred Barry.
2021 big group
Past Sweethearts pose together including, from back row, left: Jaden Doak, Hailey Riley, Caitlyn Forrester, Riata King, Ashtan Bloomquist and Tina Shull. Front row, from left: Olivia Grupp, Nicol Perisco Kunka, Tracey Ford Moody, and Liz Persico Day with granddaughter Kaydance Lopez, 10.
Congratulations to two-term sweetheart,
Jaden Doak
2020 winner
Since no events were held in 2020, the 2019 winner, Jaden Doak stayed on as our 2020 representative again.

2020 contestant
2020 contestant Samantha Arms.
2020 contestant
2020 contestant Madison Forrester.
Congratulations to 2019 winner
Jaden Doak
2019 winner
2018 winner Lilah Garman, left, poses with 2019 winner Jaden Doak.
2019 contestants
Jaden Doak was the only contant for 2019. She is pictured here with Willits Frontier Days president Fred Barry.
2019 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including from back row, left: Lindsey Bowlds, Nicol Persico, Kenzie Barlow, Lilah Garman, Ashtan Bloomquist, and Rachel Belvin. Front row: Hailey Riley, Carol Collier McClendon, Kathy Graves, Liz Day, and Olivia Grupp.
Congratulations to 2018 winner
Lilah Garman
2018 winner
2018 winner Lilah Garman, left, poses with 2017 winner Hailey Riley.
2018 contestants
Lilah Garman was the only contant for 2018. She is pictured here with Willits Frontier Days president Fred Barry.
2018 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including from left: Rachel Belvin, Ashtan Bloomquist, Tina Shull, Olivia Grupp, Mary Fonsen, Nicol Persico, Hailey Riley, Liz Day and Kathy Graves.
Congratulations to 2017 winner
Hailey Riley
2017 winner
The freshly crowned 2107 Willits Frontier Days Sweetheart, Hailey Riley, left, stands with 2016 Sweetheart Halee Reed, Frontier Days President Fred Barry, and 2017 Sweetheart runner-up Keely Ahders.
2017 contestants
2017 winner Hailey Riley, left, poses with 2017 Willits Frontier Days President, Fred Barry, and 2017 runner-up Keely Ahders, right.
2017 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including from back row, left: Halee Reed, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn, Riata King, Sandi Short Sandroni, Tina Holguin Shull, Ashtan Bloomquist, Mary Garrity Fonsen, Olivia Grupp, Rachel Belvin Ramirez, and Caitlyn Forrester. Front row: Melanie Ulvila, Nicol Persico Kunka, Liz Persico Day, Kathy Persico Graves and Georgeanne Dawson Croskey.
Congratulations to 2016 winner
Halee Reed
2016 winner
2016 winner Halee Reed stands with 2015 winner Caitlyn Forrester, right.
2016 contestants
Runners-up Cheyenne Walters, left, Sierra Skinner and Calayan Knight pose with 2016 Sweetheart winner Halee Reed, right.
2016 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including from back row, left: Leslie Cogburn Scaglione, Riata King, Tori Nunnemaker Minton, Ashtan Bloomquist with daughter Aybrie peeking, Mary Garrity Fonsen with son Grady, Mattie Pinon Owen, Olivia Grupp, Rachel Belvin Ramirez, Lilja Lamkin, and Caitlyn Forrester. Front row, from left: Liz Persico Day, Kathy Persico Graves, Elizabeth Wendt Ferguson, Haley Shuck, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn, kneeling, Georgeanne Dawson Croskey and Patricia Garrity Murray.
Congratulations to 2015 winner
Caitlyn Forrester
2015 winner
2015 winner, Caitlyn Forrester, left, smiles with 2014 winner Haley Schuck.
2015 contestants
2015 runners-up Thais Reed and Dalli Fonsen smile with 2015 winner, Caitlyn Forrester, right.
2015 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including, back row from left: Tina Holguin Shull, Ashtan Bloomquist and Lilja Lamkin. Middle row: Rachel Belvin Ramirez, Olivia Grupp, Kinzie Barlow, Tracey Ford Moody, Mattie Pinon Owen, Sandi Short Sandroni, Amy Ford, Tori Nunnemaker Minton, and Riata King. Front row: Mary Garrity Fonsen, Georgeanne Dawson Crosky, Kathy Persico Graves, Elizabeth Wendt Ferguson, Leslie Cogburn Scaglione, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn and Haley Schuck.
Congratulations to 2014 winner
Haley Schuck
2014 winner
2014 winner Haley Schuck, left, smiles with 2013 winner Lilja Lamkin.
2014 contestants
2014 winner Haley Schuck, left, with runners-up Emily Leishman and Calayan Knight, right.
2014 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including, back row from left: Sandi Short Sandroni, Mattie Pinon Owem, Ashtan Bloomquist holding Aybrie, Tina Holguin Shull, and Olivia Grupp. Middle row, from left: Riata King, Tracey Ford Moody, Lilja Lamkin, Lanae Shuster Lamkin holding ______, Melanie Ulvila, Mary Garrity Fonsen, Tami Tharpe Romberg Mayfield, Kathy Persico Graves and Leslie Cogburn Scaglione. Front row, from left: Claire Shawnago Huffman, Rachel Belvin Ramirez, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn holding Chase, Georgeanne Dawson Croskey holding Grace, and Lindsay Bowlds holding Archer.
Congratulations to 2013 winner
Lilja Lamkin
2013 winner
2012 winner Rachel Belvin, left, smiles with 2013 winner Lilja Lamkin.
2013 contestants
Runner-up Casey Persico and 2013 winner Lilja Lamkin, right.
2013 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including, back row from left: Riata King, __________, Kathy Persico Graves, Leslie Cogburn Scaglione, Liz Persico Day, Rachel Belvin Ramirez, Tracey Ford Moody, Melanie Ulvila, Lanae Shuster Lamkin, Olivia Grupp, Tins Holguin Shull holding Payton and Lindsay Bowlds. Kneeling in front: Nicol Persico Kunka, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn and Mattie Pinon Owen.
Congratulations to 2012 winner
Rachel Belvin
2013 winner
2012 winner Rachel Belvin, left, smiles with 2011 winner Riata King.
2013 contestants
2012 runner-up Ashley Persico, left, smiles with 2012 winner Rachel Belvin.
2013 big group
Willits Frontier Days past Sweethearts pose together, including, back row from left: Riata King, Stephanie Standley Hightower, Darcy Ford, Olivia Grupp, Kathy Persico Graves, ________, Leslie Cogburn Scaglione, ________, Tracey Ford Moody, Saundra DuCross Norman, Kristine McBride Tyrrell, Nicol Persico Kunka, and Liz Persico Day. Front row, from left: Lindsay Bowlds, Courtney Figg-Hoblyn, Ashtan Bloomquist, Tina Holguin Shull, Mattie Pinon Owen, Sandi Short Sandroni, Mary Garrity Fonsen and Georgeanne Dawson Croskey.