By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
Nestled in the beautiful Northwood’s of Wisconsin there is a small town called Spooner. You can find many unique things in Spooner, including the world’s largest muskellunge fish hatchery, cheese curds fresh out of the mill, a railroad history museum, and a whole lot of Green Bay Packers fans. You might also be able to find me, your Miss Rodeo Wisconsin 2016, Beth Kujala.
I first became passionate about rodeo while watching the Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo in my hometown. I looked up to cowboys like most kids look up to superheroes. For one weekend a year they would file into Spooner and bring with them all the excitement and danger that their job had to offer.
When I began taking my first horse lessons at 8 years old, it was a former Spooner Rodeo Queen that taught me, and also gave me the desire to one day become a rodeo queen myself. I got my start in showing horses through 4-H in elementary school, and continued to be involved throughout the entirety of high school. I was heavily involved in many different aspects of 4-H including multiple officer positions and many projects, but it was the horse project that received most of my time.
While in college I took advantage of all the equine related activities there were to offer. As a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse I was a member if the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and competed on the Hunter-Jumper team. After transferring to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls my sophomore year to pursue a degree in Animal Science with an Agribusiness minor, I joined the University of Wisconsin-River Falls rodeo team. The memories I have with the rodeo team are memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Up until this past December, I had never been on an airplane. Now I have been able to fly to Nevada, Colorado, and Florida all for the sport of rodeo! I would never have imagined that the Miss Rodeo Wisconsin title would lead me off a 4 foot ski jump on the slopes of a ski hill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or on a zipline over a pond of gators in Orlando, Florida. I have stood in front of the face of Crazy Horse at the Crazy Horse Memorial, performed in my very first talent show in Abbyville, Kansas, and raced a bullfighter in a 5K in Spooner, Wisconsin. This year has been a year of so many new experiences and friendships, and I am so grateful for it.
Before the start of my reign, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, traveling alone for the very first time made me realize something; you will never feel alone in the sport of rodeo. From the volunteer that picked me up at the airport when I arrived after my first solo flight to Denver for the National Western Stock Show, to my rodeo loving host family that opened their home to me for the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, I have witnessed the same love and support I have experienced my whole life at rodeos in my home state.
Those involved in the rodeo industry never hesitate to lend a helping hand to someone else. That is why I am so happy to be able to lend my own helping hand to promote the western way of life and an industry that has given so much to me. Being a rodeo queen is about so much more than glamorous outfits, perfect curls, and rodeo knowledge. It is about having a caring heart to serve those around you. Miss Rodeo Wisconsin has provided me with an opportunity to give back to those who have given to me. I am able to inspire young children, honor our service men and women, and use the gifts God has given me to touch the lives of those around me.