By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
The most prominent thing I can recall from my childhood spending time outdoors. The forests of Northern Wisconsin were the playground in which I, Katelin Bradley, your Miss Rodeo Wisconsin 2017, developed a deep reverence for my magnificent home state. The daughter of a logger with the heart of a hunter and a school teacher with the heart of an equestrian, I feel right at home with a bow in my hand or astride an unruly steed. Growing up, I stacked more hay bales and explored more backroads than a typical teen of my generation, but I have never been the kind to conform to the typical anyhow. Mediocrity never appealed to me. I have always dreamed of doing something significant and holding the Miss Rodeo Wisconsin title has fulfilled that dream.
I was on a horse’s back before I could walk. My first ‘horse’, a stark white Shetland pony named Sunny, left me on the ground more times than I can recall, but he stamped me with an unrelenting resilience and a determination to always ‘get back on the horse’. I began competing at local shows at the age of five. I’ve ridden many disciplines including dressage, jumpers, western pleasure, and even endurance. I am also passionate about thoroughbred racing and have retrained several off track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) for western disciplines. My first OTTB and I competed at barrel races around the state and across the Midwest. Barrel racing is my favorite equine sport and was my initial lure into the captivating world of rodeo. I never foresaw myself becoming a rodeo queen, but after representing a PRCA rodeo near my hometown, I realized that pageants were an opportunity to challenge myself and grow as a person. I decided to continue my rodeo queen journey and run for Miss Rodeo Wisconsin.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science in Soil and Land Management in December of 2016. The beginning of January marked not only the start of my reign as Miss Rodeo Wisconsin, but also the start of my full-time employment as a Nutrient Management and GPS Technician with AgSource Cooperative Services. My job has allowed me to see my home state from a whole new perspective. I have witnessed a dewy cranberry marsh reflect the first rays of sunlight, a newborn calf stand on wobbly knees, and a harvester unearth potatoes from our silt loam state soil. My pride for Wisconsin’s beauty is continually reaffirmed as I travel across “America’s Dairyland” working in agriculture.
As Miss Rodeo Wisconsin 2017, I have been attending rodeos across the country when my work schedule allows. So far, I have logged over 10,000 miles and I expect that number to quadruple by the end of the year. My favorite moments have included helping with the Exceptional Rodeo in Denver, visiting Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, wrestling gators in Kissimmee, and carrying the American flag at the Midwest Horse Fair PRCA Rodeo in Madison, Wisconsin. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had so far and I am looking forward to making many more joyous memories this year.
I am so thankful for all of my sponsors and all who have helped me along my journey! I promise to continue representing the soul of rodeo with the unique enthusiasm of a hunting, barrel racing, and hardworking Wisconsinite!