By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Five years ago, if you would have told me that I would hold the title of Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania 2016, I would have laughed at you. And that’s because up until five years ago, I had never even been to a rodeo. I was born, raised and still reside in Allentown – the Keystone state’s third largest city. Yes, you read that right, this rodeo queen is from the city! But you better believe that doesn’t make me any less of a cowgirl.
I was your typical horse-crazed little girl and ever since I can remember I dreamt of being a cowgirl. At the age of ten, my dream finally started to come true when a family-friend invited me out to her horse farm to ride. I spent seven years riding at that little, old farm in Orefield, PA. And for those seven years, I was more than content just trail riding on winding dirt roads and through the Pennsylvania state game lands. In fact, those are some of my fondest memories.
Even though I loved Fancy, the old Paso Fino mare that I trail rode with, every Christmas, I would still ask for my very own pony. But much to my dismay, it never happened. My mom had always told me: “Once you have a job and you can pay for your own horse, you can go ahead and buy one.” Being the determined little girl that I was, I did just that. The first thing I did after my 16th birthday, was apply for jobs and six months later, I was the proud owner of a beautiful APHA mare.
Unfortunately, I ended up selling that paint mare a little shy of a year after I bought her. And after that I decided to take up English riding lessons at local show barn. That same summer, I went on a family vacation to upstate New York and that’s where I attended my very first rodeo: The Painted Pony Championship Rodeo. This is where my love affair with rodeo began. I’m not sure what it was that lured me in but I knew from that very day that I wanted to be a part of this industry. The first thing I did after I got home from that vacation was quit my English riding lessons and take up barrel racing lessons.
Since then, many more doors have opened for me. I bought another horse, an AQHA gelding named Fame, that I’ve owned for four years now. I’ve held a horse-farm manager position where I gained a great deal of experience and knowledge. I started competing in local barrel races and gymkhana but still aspire to compete in professional rodeo. All the while, I’ve earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.
Having to pave my own way into the world of horses has been difficult and trying at times. But I would not change my whole experience for the world because it truly has shaped the young woman that I am today. It is where my strong work ethic derived from, it’s what made me into such a responsible an independent person and it has instilled in me an unyielding sense of confidence. All of which I attribute to helping me achieve my biggest goal to date – winning the title of Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania!
I couldn’t be more honored to represent the beautiful state of Pennsylvania and the sport of rodeo as Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania 2016. It has truly been such an incredible experience so far and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year will bring! However, there are several more goals I hope to achieve using my platform. I’d like to help others gain a greater appreciation for the sport of rodeo within Pennsylvania. I hope to trail blaze for the Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania Organization and our future queens. And I hope to inspire little girls to chase their dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. One of the greatest things I’ve learned in my 22 years is that anything is possible, especially if you set your heart and mind to it.
All the best,
Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania 2016