By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
I am Michailia Massong, your Miss Rodeo Alaska 2017. I am a born and raised AlaskanMiss Alaska 2 and I have been blessed to live in a place of rugged majesty – with our Alpenglow Mountains, fireweed, and glaciers.
Everyone has a dream and where I come from we believe in moving mountains, chasing northern lights, and no matter what comes our way believing in Rodeo Alaska’s motto
“There Ain’t No Fear in The Last Frontier.” With many wild animals, from whales, salmon, and puffins, to caribou, moose, and polar bears.
In Alaska we live where you can’t go to the grocery store without seeing someone you know. Our summers are full, fishing, hunting, and getting ready for the long, snowy stretch of our year. So while the midnight sun shines we continue to take every moment to work, play, and better our community. Once the snow falls, there are days of mushing, skiing, snow machining, and enjoying the snow. I live in the small town of Chugiak, Alaska, about 45 minutes north of Anchorage, our largest city, and about 30 minutes south of the Mat Su Valley, the agricultural hub of Alaska. My family was not involved in horses, rodeos, or agriculture. In fact I think they were surprised that from the age of three, their oldest daughter would not stop dreaming of living a life full of equestrian centered activities.
My life has been spent trying to learn as much about horses as I can, buying my own horse, volunteering with equine therapy centers, and dreaming of having a ranch of my own – I first learned of Rodeo Queens when I was fifteen. I thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity to be Rodeo Queen and represent the western way of life. However, at this time we did not have a Miss Rodeo Alaska Program. Therefore I thought my life would just consist of working towards my ranch and enjoying my horse and rodeos as much as possible in my state. When I heard the Miss Rodeo Alaska Program started back up, I was excited, but worried I would not be qualified. In my first pageant I became the fourth Miss Rodeo Alaska since 1991. I am so glad I did not let fear hold me back as it has been such an amazing learning curve as I became Lady in Waiting last year and then was crowned for my reign as Miss Rodeo Alaska 2017.
This last fall I got to travel down to California for the Miss Rodeo California Pageant and the California Circuit finals. This was the first PRCA rodeo I had the opportunity to watch live and it gave me chills of joy!! It was wonderful to watch and to also see how our Rodeo Alaska rodeos compare, I was proud to see that the biggest difference I saw – was that the rodeos in the lower 48 have to have lights around their arena, those are definitely not necessary in the summers of Alaska! Often times people ask me, “Are there really rodeos in Alaska?” And I am excited to tell them that we have amazing open rodeos across the state, this includes the Northern Most Rodeo in America, which takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska every year. In my year I have gotten to meet many of my fellow Sash Sisters, watch rodeos throughout the United States, ride in the National Western Stock Show, and attend clinics. By going after my dreams I have had the opportunity to represent my state, the sport I love so much, and the western way of life that brings people together.
Becoming Miss Rodeo Alaska 2017 has shown me that when we don’t let fear hold us back and we find a community to support us, anything is possible. I am excited to continue to represent this year and will chase after my dream of having a ranch for at risk youth to come and learn the importance of love, family, hard work, and staying connected with nature.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me – sponsors, friends, and family! I am excited for the rest of this year and the rest of our lives!