By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Where I come from, we know no stranger. The western way of life still runs deep in the hearts of those who call Nebraska home. I am Laramie Schlichtemeier, your Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2017. I am a recent graduate from Chadron State College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with options in Agribusiness and Marketing.
Growing up in the small town of Ogallala, has been a blessing. Teaching me that hard work, dedication, and determination can get you anywhere you want to go in life. I have been riding horses since before I could walk and have always been known as the “crazy horse girl.” I was proud to have that name. Sharing my passion for horses was something I was very proud to do. From competing in junior rodeos to roping with my family, horses were always there. When I lost my brother in 2010, my horse, Shades, was my saving grace. He was like an angel sent here from heaven to help me get through the tough times. Always pushing me to better myself and help those around me.
It took just one look when I was 5 years old at Miss Rodeo Nebraska to know I wanted to achieve this dream. My ‘queening career’ began later than most. At the age of 17, I decided that I wanted to fulfill my dream and ran for my first princess title. I had no idea the preparation, time and commitment that goes into running for even a princess title. I lost that year to a girl who definitely deserved to win. I went on to lose 3 more times before finally taking my first ‘hot lap’ in 2012 as the Old West Trails Rodeo Queen.
After taking two years off from the queening scene, I had my sights set on the grand prize, Miss Rodeo Nebraska. As I began to spread the word of reaching for my dreams, I heard comments such as ‘you are not pretty enough,’ ‘you are not thin enough.’ I took these as motivation as I knew deep inside that I had what it takes to represent this great state. I began my preparation in August of 2015 to run in June of 2016. Spending most of my time studying and working out, my dream came closer and closer to a reality. I knew if I wanted to win I needed to bring my best and ‘Finish Strong.’ Fast forward to June 15, 2016, as I sat on my horse as my name was called Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2017. My lifelong dream had come true! Since winning that day I have traveled across the state representing the western way of life and all that the great sport of rodeo stands for.
With this title I want to show the younger generation that you can achieve your goals and dreams no matter how big they may seem. The slogan for my year is ‘Rope Your Dreams.’ Teaching the younger generation and everyone that you need to reach for your dreams is so important to me as that is exactly what I did. I could’ve given up and quit when everyone doubted me, but I chose to push on. I have lost over 115 pounds since I have begun my journey. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to bring the best version of myself to life. The message I want to share to everyone is to always believe in yourself and just when you are about to give up, remember why you started. Look deep in yourself and “Rope Your Dreams.”