By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Calling in from the East Coast, I come from a small rural community in the very bottom of Virginia called Meadowview. My name is Jessika Haga, your Miss Rodeo Virginia 2017. If you have ever seen the Geico commercial where he jumps across the road from Virginia to Tennessee, that road is real and I traveled it every day while I was completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at King University. After my reign, I hope to continue my education and pursue medical school in hopes of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.
From the time I was born, horses have always been a part of my life. My mom talked about being pregnant and going to rodeos to watch my dad rope; I guess you could say that I got it honest. I started out trail riding but soon entered into the show ring competing in halter classes and western pleasure. After attending a few shows, I sparked an interest in barrel racing; one run and I was hooked. I have been on the rodeo scene ever since that first run and I haven’t looked back. As of today, I could not count the number of rodeos, shows, professional associations, and local shows that I have attended and competed in. Growing up on a small farm with cattle, I have also tried my hand in working cow horse, sorting, team penning, and reining competitions. Needless to say, I am an equine addict.
Horses aren’t the only passion I’ve had; in high school I wore many hats besides a cowboy hat. I played soccer, volleyball, and softball, I was a member of the FFA, 4-H, scholastic bowl team, chess club, fellowship of Christian athletes, forensics team, and band. Needless to say, I juggled scheduling, school, and rodeo around like a pro. I would not trade a day, or a long night with no sleep, for all of the experiences that have made me who I am today. Everything I have done and participated in has made me a stronger leader, a more passionate rider, and an overall happier life.
Pageants have been in my life since the start of high school. I always knew that beauty pageants weren’t exactly my thing, but I tried anyway. I never had much success at beauty pageants, and maybe that is because I don’t like the thought of being judged by three strangers on my appearance. When I found out about rodeo queens, it was right up my alley, and here I am today as Miss Rodeo Virginia, a title I never thought in a million years I would hold.
Blessed is an understatement when I look at my life and the experiences and opportunities I have been so graciously been allowed to have. I have never been one to step outside of the norm and my comfort zone to go after things that seem to be a long shot, but I sure am glad I did when it came to this title. John Wayne always said that courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway, and that is exactly what I am doing. I am saddled up and headed for you America!