By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Welcome to the Gem State, home of Idaho Famous Potatoes. A miners dream came true when one of the largest diamonds in the US was found in Idaho. I like to think there are a lot more diamonds to be found. What makes Idaho unique is not just our pristine wilderness areas, shimmering lakes, sparkling streams and spectacular snow capped mountains; it is our western way of life, our passion for preserving the land and our reverence for wide open spaces. High atop the Snake River Canyon at Swan Falls sits my hometown, Kuna, the gateway to the Birds of Prey. My community enjoys birds, wildlife, horseback riding, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, camping and sturgeon fishing. Growing up in an agricultural community, I began riding at the age of three and set my sights on the Miss Rodeo Idaho crown after meeting Miss Rodeo America, Mary Shaw. As a child I would even practice my queen wave on the carousel at the county fair. I received my first makeup lesson in the dressing room with Leon Coffee and my rodeo career began as a ‘rodeo clown’ at the Snake River Stampede. I could never have imagined 18 years later on that same dirt floor Leon would be back for the Centennial Celebration where I was crowned Miss Rodeo Idaho 2016.
After clowning I tried my hand at mutton busting, winning my first pair of Justin boots and the fever of competition began. I started queening at 7 years old and quickly went from dummy roping to barrel racing and pole bending. In addition to rodeo, I have shown goats, beef, dairy and horses. I am a 13 year 4-H member and current leader and received my American FFA Degree and Girl Scout Gold Award. I spent the last three years working under the Idaho Department of Agriculture, Idaho Space Grant Consortium and NASA to conduct research with the use of unmanned ariel vehicles to enable local farmers to produce crops more efficiently. I recently completed a Bachelor of Science with honors in Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
This has been a wonderfully busy year representing Idaho. I carried flags at one of the largest indoor rodeos, the National Western Stock show in Denver; saw the face of Crazy Horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota; rode alligators in Florida; visited Bailey Station, the world’s largest train station in Nebraska; presented “Old Glory” at both of Idaho’s newest PRCA rodeos; and placed my feet in both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Concluding my senior year I was able to travel to Liberia, Africa and spend three weeks implementing my senior project creating a micro power generation system to produce electricity while educating and witnessing to the youth.
Being Miss Rodeo Idaho is a privilege that sixty women before me have had and I am honored to follow in their footsteps. Representing this title I have enjoyed new life experiences that most people never have the chance to explore. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of my parents Troy and Julie, brothers Simon and Wyatt, grandparents Scott and Dorothey, and Crawford and Mae and my huge extended family and friends. I plan to use my pivotal role as a female in engineering to promote higher education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic fields to middle school students. I have dedicated my year to spreading awareness for breast cancer, a cause I am very passionate about. I’ve been a rodeo athlete, a rodeo clown, a rodeo queen, and most of all an ambassador of this amazing sport. I want to share those experiences with the future rodeo stars and ensure that these “diamonds in the rough” are able to experience our western way of life, luck of the draw, and the importance of hard work and dedication.
“Count Your Blessings, Not Your Troubles”
Heather Skovgard Miss Rodeo Idaho 2016