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2018 contestant Lilah Garman | 707-354-3588

Being the only Sweetheart contestant isn’t fazing Lilah Garman; she plans to compete against the record of tickets sold by past Willits Frontier Days Sweetheart contestants and outsell the top earner’s total of $42,000 with a new goal of $60,000. The 16-year-old Willits High School junior is excited to get out and sell tickets to the rodeos, barbecue, junior rodeo and for the raffle and become the Sweetheart to represent the 92nd annual Willits Frontier Days event. Her partner will be her horse, Daisy, an 11-year-old palomino Garman has had since Daisy was just 2 years old. “I’ve always wanted to run, and now that I’m finally old enough, I’m excited to get my chance,” said Garman.
A born-and-raised native, Garman’s family in Willits includes parents Kara and Heath Garman, sister Emma, grandparents Sharon and Bud Garman, and grandmother Sandy Eddy.
This isn’t her first foray into the Willits Frontier Days arena, however; Garman has been riding most of her life and has competed in Willits Frontier Days gymkhanas and horse shows since she was 3, as well as riding in the parade, and dreaming of the day she can run for Sweetheart, too, of course. Garman has also competed in FFA and 4-H horse shows and also shows steer and has a lamb breeding project with her sister, Emma, for the Redwood Empire Fair. Garman is also the junior class president at Willits High School, and plans to run for senior class president next year. As president this year, Garman was the committee chair in charge of the prom. She enjoys being in the leadership classes and also working at J.D. Redhouse in her after-school time. After high school, Garman plans to attend Mendocino College where she can complete her prerequisites and then move forward with a career in nursing.
Garman hopes that winning the title will allow her to get more involved and out and about in the community, showing others the fun of Willits Frontier Days. Sweetheart contestants earn a portion of their total amount of ticket sales as a cash prize at the end of June, and some look at the two-month run as a great summer job. “I really want to earn this title by myself and put in the work to make it a success,” said Garman. “I want to exceed the highest amount sold thus far as if that was someone else running.”
Garman was able to start selling tickets on May 1 and will continue to do so before the invite-only Sweetheart dinner on June 30. Tickets only account for a portion of the contestant’s score, however. Garman will also have to compete on horseback for a riding pattern and queen run, demonstrate her equestrian and tack knowledge, prepare a speech that she will recite in front of two live audiences, and model a Western outfit and showcase her poise and personality in a question-and-answer session with three judges. Help Garman win the title of 2018 Willits Frontier Days Sweetheart by reaching out to her with a call or text to 707-354-3588. She will be at businesses around town in the afternoons and at Willits Power on Sundays to sell tickets. Remember, online campaigning is not allowed, so please call her directly!

Originally printed in Willits Weekly - May 10, 2018. Do not reprint without permission.
What is a Sweetheart?

The role of Willits Frontier Days Sweetheart is coveted by all little ladies in the saddle who see the glamorous, tiara-clad annual winner make her way around the ring during her Sweetheart Run and Grand Entry.

Candidates for Frontier Days Sweetheart are responsible for helping create awareness of the Fourth of July events by selling tickets in the community. Those crowned Frontier Days Sweetheart help out in the arena every year, handing out awards, chasing cattle, riding in the parade and posing with winners for photos, as well as making appearances at other rodeos in the name of Willits Frontier Days.

Many families have a legacy of several generations of Sweetheart winners, and other Sweethearts blaze their own path to the coveted silver spurs and tiara given to the winner by the Soroptimist International Willits club, which helps put on the contest.

Contestants must compete in a poise and personality contest, demonstrate their mounted horsemanship skills, answer questions about rodeo and the equestrian lifestyle, and start selling event tickets in early summer. Ticket sales continue until the last minute before the Sweetheart Dinner where the winner is announced.

Ladies interested in running can contact Willits Frontier Days at 459-6330 or Evelyn Persico at 459-5790
Sweetheart Entry Form

Photos from Sweetheart Dinner. Visit gallery to purchase prints.
Congratulations to the past winners

Congratulations to 2017 winner Hailey Riley
2017 winner Hailey Riley, left, poses with 2017 Willits Frontier Days President, Fred Barry, and 2017 runner-up Keely Ahders, right

Congratulations to 2016 winner Halee Reed
2016 runners-up Cheyenne Walters, Sierra Skinner and Caylan Knight pose with winner, Halee Reed, at right