By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
The blog was written by guest blogger, Miss Rodeo Texas 2014, Alex Ingram.
My year as Miss Rodeo Texas 2014 was one of the best experiences of my life! The memories you make, the places you get to travel to, and the relationships you establish as a rodeo queen are priceless and something that I will always be grateful for. I’ve loved getting to see how life continues to be impacted by those experiences, even after the crown and sash have been passed on.
After my year as Miss Rodeo Texas ended, I returned to Texas A&M University for my senior year and graduated in May with a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism. I stayed busy as I interned at a local TV station, worked at a child placement agency, volunteered with a ministry called Youth Impact, and somehow managed a 4.0 that last semester, even after spending three weeks away from school at Rodeo Houston. I am so thankful for the Miss Rodeo Austin, Miss Rodeo Texas, and Miss Rodeo America organizations and the scholarships I received from each of them throughout my college career. These organizations are so generous and genuinely care about young women having opportunities to further their education and enhance their future.
Since graduating from college, I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay involved with many things that I’m passionate about. A verse that has become my “life motto” you could say is Genesis 12:2 where God tells Abraham that He will bless him so that he will be a blessing to others. I think it’s important to not just get comfortable in our own lives, but to reach out to those around us and see how we can use our lives to be a blessing to others.
Working with kids has always been something I enjoyed, which was one of my favorite parts about being a rodeo queen since you spend so much time interacting with children and are in a position that can positively influence their lives. Over the years, I’ve especially developed a passion for marginalized and hurting children, whether they come from broken homes or families, poverty, or any other kind of challenging background. Because of that care I have for children that come from difficult circumstances, I have chosen to invest my time in organizations that I believe truly make a difference in their lives. I currently work as a case manager at the local child placement agency I worked at my senior year of college and I absolutely love it. The people I get to work with are wonderful and we have the opportunity to support children and families as they go through the process of fostering and/or adoption. It can be a challenging job at times when you hear the stories of why some of these children need a new home in the first place, but it is also so rewarding when you get to see those children just flourish when they are able to be placed or adopted into such supportive and loving homes.
Besides my job, I have also enjoyed volunteering for several years at Camp Agape, a bereavement camp for children that have lost a loved one in their life, as well as Youth Impact, a college ministry at my church where we got to disciple and mentor marginalized youth in our area. Being able to look past yourself so that you can see the needs of those around you, I believe, is one of the most important concepts you can grasp in life. So much joy can be found in genuinely loving, helping, and caring for those around us, regardless of their background.
As a former rodeo queen, another obvious passion of mine is rodeo itself! I’ve loved getting to continue to promote the Western way of life and stay involved with the industry. This December, I am so excited to be running sponsor flags at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. After sending an application for the WNFR Flag Girl contest, I was selected as one of the finalists that made it to their tryouts last year in Vegas, and was honored to make it on the team! I am really looking forward to getting to work with all of the other girls, as well as so many old friends from the rodeo road. I also had the opportunity to go back to Rodeo Houston this year to ride in the grand entry every night and help take care of several of the horses there. That rodeo is always so much fun since it’s almost a month long, you kind of become like family with everyone that works together there! I’ve also enjoyed getting to run flags at the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, be a part of our rodeo committee at the Brazos Valley Rodeo in Bryan, judge a few rodeo queen pageants, and help at several other events throughout the year. I encourage other girls to stay involved, promote, and give back in any way that they can to the sport that we all love!
Lastly, my love for traveling has stuck with me since I had the opportunity to travel extensively as a state titleholder. I have been honored to model for some great businesses and designers in the past, and most recently modeled for a diamond jewelry line. After working with this company at an event, they asked me if I would be interested in traveling with them to a few trunk shows around the country to showcase their jewelry. As any girl that loves traveling and an opportunity to wear some fine jewelry would do, I said yes and am looking forward to those upcoming shows throughout the year. I still travel to several rodeos and other events throughout the year as well and whenever I get the occasional free weekend, I try to go back home to our family’s ranch in New Braunfels or beach house on the Texas coast. I enjoy being outdoors and absolutely love spending time with my family and friends so those have become some of my favorite destinations.
I am forever grateful for all of the opportunities and friendships that my “rodeo queen career” brought to my life. I hope that every girl cherishes those memories and relationships she makes throughout her year, even after she has passed on her crown as well. However, I truly believe the best perspective a rodeo queen can have is to remember that it’s not about what the title can do for her, it’s about what she can do for others through the title. Use your time as a role model wisely and make every effort to leave a lasting, positive impact on those around you. My last piece of advice for former, current, and future titleholders is to find what you’re passionate about and pursue it! The things that you care about and whatever has been placed on your heart is there for a reason so I encourage you to do what you can with the talents you’ve been given to make a difference in the lives of others!