Photo Credit: Las Vegas Image Studio
Q: For those who are new to the rodeo queen world, explain what it is you do during your reign and how this organization came about?
A: "Miss Rodeo America serves as a spokeswoman and liaison between the public and the sport of rodeo. A cowboy or barrel racer entered in the rodeo is focused on their animal, their performance, and earning a paycheck and often doesn't have the opportunity or time to visit with fans and spectators. Miss Rodeo America is accessible to the audience through one-on-one interaction, community visits to schools, hospitals and more, radio and TV media appearances, and, of course, serves numerous roles during rodeo performances such as presenting our Stars and Stripes, helping with youth events (such as mutton bustin’), working fan zones, visiting and signing autographs, and even working behind the scenes. I will travel over 100,000 miles during this year to numerous rodeos and western and agriculture events with only about thirty days off during the year. The concept of Miss Rodeo America was developed in 1955 by a group of gentlemen, organized under the name of International Rodeo Management (IRM). Ray Peterson, Sr., from Nevada, was serving as president when they held their first pageant that year, with nine young women competing for the title. Casper, Wyoming was chosen as the site for the first Miss Rodeo America Pageant. Selected as Miss Rodeo America to hold the title for the remainder of 1955 and the year 1956 was Marilyn Scott, Miss Rodeo Wyoming.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a rodeo queen and what are your favorite rodeos to be apart of while being Miss Rodeo America?
A: "I love being surrounded by hard-working, kind, like-minded people in the rodeo industry. From the contestants to the fans, to the volunteers and the contract personnel, people in rodeo are some of the most wonderful individuals to know and befriend. I love animals, I love to travel, but there isn't a thing that compares to being surrounded by dynamic God-fearing people who understand the value of faith, family and this great country. During my travels I've seen a lot of magnificent country and been to some extraordinary rodeos like the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (the 12 time PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year), Red Bluff Roundup, Cody Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Rooftop Rodeo which is in a valley of the Rocky Mountains to name a few, but there was nothing like the feeling of coming "home" to Rodeo Austin. I was Miss Rodeo Austin in 2014 which was the first time I believed I could become Miss Rodeo Texas and Miss Rodeo America. It was emotionally overwhelming to come back three years later, welcomed with open arms, wearing the Miss Rodeo America crown and banner and present the American Flag during the opening of the rodeo."
Photo Credit: Robert King Photography
Q: What are the biggest takeaways and lessons you have gained this year as rodeo Queen?
A: "The biggest lesson I've learned during this year (which I already knew, but now I really understand) is that everything happens for a reason, and to just go with the flow. There is very little we can control in this life. I mean, the one thing we have some control over is ourselves, and the good Lord above really directs our path. Being able to just relax and know everything will work out just like it's supposed to has really been a benefit to my Type A personality."
Q: What would you tell a girl just starting out in the rodeo queen pageants and has never competed before?
A: "My best advice is to always have an open mind and know that in all you do anything is possible with faith and hard work. Alway study always learn. Seek advice from professionals in the industry and former queens. Ask questions to vets, farriers, horse trainers, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, rodeo volunteers, stock contractors, former queens, etc. Rodeo queens should look the part and ride well, but knowledge is power. A rodeo queen is a complete package of brains, beauty and a horsewoman. Entering a rodeo queen contest or pageant can be intimidating because their are so many portions of competition, but take it all on one step a time, plan ahead, set goals, and know that everyone either wins or learns. Most of all, have fun! People will be attracted to the girl(s) who are happy, positive, and outgoing, and a rodeo queen wants to do just that--draw people in."
Q: What is your favorite part of the MRA pageant? Fashion shows or the speech?
A: "Honestly, the horsemanship portion of the competition is my favorite. Horsemanship is what sets a rodeo queen apart from all other pageants and pageant queens. Not only does a rodeo queen have to be able to ride, but ride well. At many state pageants and the Miss Rodeo America Pageant the contestants ride horses they've never seen before on a draw system. The horses are selected by the horsemanship committee, numbered, and a computer generated draw is done. There are two go-rounds: the first is a modified reining pattern selected by the judges from the Miss Rodeo America Pageant rule book and the other is a rail work class. However, if I had to choose between the fashion show and the speeches I would say the fashion show is my favorite. It's so much fun to model designs by Wrangler, Justin Boots, Montana Silversmiths jewelry, Greeley Hat Works, Kippy’s, Double D and other western designers! I probably have utilized my speaking skills more this year than my modeling skills though."
Q: What are your plans after this year and how has being Miss Rodeo America helped you to do so?
A: "I will be going back to the classroom in two ways. I'll go back to teaching high school agriculture and I will begin my doctoral work. Outside of all the wonderful connections I've made with people in the agriculture industry, the Miss Rodeo America organization has blessed me with enough scholarship money to graduate debt free with my doctorate degree! How many people can say that!?"
Photo Credit: Photo Chic Imagery
Q: What are the current fashion trends in the rodeo industry today and what are some of your favorites?
A: "Everywhere I look I see turquoise, Native American jewelry, vintage western clothing (Wrangler’s 70th Anniversary and Retro designs are so fun!) and unique colored western hats (Greeley Hat Works can create anything imaginable). There is a lot of drama in western fashion today. From the bold hats to the extreme lengths of tops and flare of jeans anything goes as long as the overall effect of the outfit is western. My favorites would have to be fringe, sterling silver (Montana Silversmiths has some of the most beautiful western jewelry!), and turquoise. I love for outfits to be simple, but have a statement piece of some sort whether it be the dramatic fringe, the boots, the jewelry, or the hat."
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Image Studio
Q: What are your hopes for rodeo in the future and how would you like to see it as time goes on?
A: "Rodeo, or people in rodeo, has/have done a phenomenal job of preserving our western heritage while advancing technology and making the sport more lucrative. I realize rodeo is on television, but would like to see rodeo become more mainstream and continue to expand its viewership and fan base. I love rodeo as it is. I love the tradition and am proud to be a part of the only sport that ties directly to an industry-agriculture. I would like for more people to understand and become educated on the importance of the sport of rodeo and the agricultural and ranching industries that provide us with roofs over our heads, clothing for our bodies and food on our plates."
All other photos courtesy of Lisa Lageschaar.