By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Nebraska grows more than just cows and corn, it grows “nice”. Growing up in a state that is one of the top agricultural producing states, home to one of the best college teams, (go Huskers!) and a place where no one is a stranger but rather a friend that hasn’t been made yet, I truly am spoiled! While I am proud to say that my entire 25 years have been spent right here in Nebraska, I am even more proud to not be your typical rodeo queen.
My background does not run deep in rodeo, in fact I am proud to say that I am a first generation cowgirl. At a very young age my parents divorced, and God later blessed me with the opportunity to be around horses, rodeo and life on the farm. I learned to ride at age 5 and before you know it I had my stepdad taking me all over the state to any horse show and rodeo I could find.
A tomboy gone full blown cheetah bling queen…that perfectly describes my transformation to where I am today. At the ripe age of 10 I decided I was going to be Miss Rodeo Nebraska after watching a family friend get her first title. After a few crowns, several first-runner up titles and a few participation awards I still cannot believe that I reached my goal. With the overwhelming support of my family, friends and amazing sponsors I have been able to travel over 24,000 miles since earning the honor in June of 2015 at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
Every mile that I have traveled has left a mark on my heart. I will wrap up my year knowing that I made lifelong friends with other ambitious young women from across the country, and rest assured that no matter where I travel I have a rodeo family near. So many people have assumptions about what rodeo queens do and who we are. This year has allowed me to show countless individuals that we are not a stereotype. From learning to travel on my own in the largest airports in the country, to having to read an old school map when my GPS gives out in an unfamiliar state, this year has shown me how to travel independently. Showing up at events where people were unfamiliar with rodeo queens, it taught me to break out of my comfort zone and start conversations. I learned that not everyone respects your dreams, but this isn’t their life to live, it’s yours and I don’t want to grow old with regrets. It taught me that the power the crown has lives on long after I remove my cowboy hat.
Young eyes are always watching and they truly view rodeo queens as role models. It also taught me the importance of my platform, “Be BOLD, Be YOU.” In a fast changing world where nice and respect are not “cool”, it has taught me that by sharing my message I can make an impact on the youth and the letters and messages that not only the youth have shared with me but parents as well help me rest assured that I made a difference during my year not only in the arena but outside as well.
Each day I wake up and thank God that I have been blessed with this opportunity and I leave you all with a message, Be BOLD, be BEAUTIFUL YOU!