By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
When your kindergarten teacher asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Did you answer “A Cowboy?” Was it the hat, boots, and chaps that drew you in? Or maybe it was the land and cattle that need tending? Whether it’s the look or the lifestyle that made you exclaim, “I want to grow up to be a cowboy!” for most cowboys and cowgirls it’s both the western lifestyle and the rough and tough apparel that actually drives them to pursue the COWBOY way of life.
You have to have grit, passion, and determination to be a cowboy, but having the mentality and the right gear tells people what kind of cowboy you are. Your Justin boots represent the amount of hours you have spent perfecting your profession, your Wrangler jeans and shirt tell people the brand you ride for, the dust on your Greeley Hat Works Hat represents the time you have spent in the arena, and that Montana Silversmiths Gold Buckle represents the blood, sweat, and tears put into becoming the best in the World. Now let’s not forget about the chaps. Fringe, leather, and tooling are scientifically put together to showcase your personality and passion that tells fans your story. Chaps are an extension of your character and tell fans in the crowd what you’re all about. Your chaps can represent you; where you came from, your favorite color, a cause you believe in, or an organization you represent. Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) bull rider, Lon Danley, is one cowboy that currently brings his unique persona to the arena wearing his wooly chaps.
Chaps aren’t just for show, they are also utilized to protect you from debris and keep you warm and dry. Rough stock riders and ranchers are not the only ones you will see sporting chaps. Chaps are a must for rodeo queens in the arena and many cowgirls see designing their chaps as one of the highlights of their year. That was the case this year with the current Miss Rodeo America, Katherine Merck. Watching her sit with Dale and Christy Anderson of Pro Rodeo Originals from Larkspur, Colorado was like watching a kid in the candy store.
You could tell that she had been investing a lot time and perspective into the design of her official Miss Rodeo America chaps. As Dale, Christy, and Katherine sat their designing her chaps you could also see the excitement from the owners of Pro Rodeo Originals because, these chaps would be one of a kind and completely different from any other former Miss Rodeo America’s design. Katherine’s chaps are unique because she is the only Miss Rodeo America to have utilized the PRCA logo on her chaps.
“Design is the first step towards a new set of chaps,” says Dale as he draws out the design. Next he cuts the leather, adds tooling, color, and fringe specific to the unique project. He adds the buckle and billet then sews every piece together to complete the puzzle.
From there Dale turns over the chaps to his wife, for every rodeo queen’s favorite part, the bling! Dale’s wife Christy adds studs and rhinestones to add a feminine touch. From beginning to end these are not only custom to each client but they are hand crafted and made by Pro Rodeo Originals.
Every year at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant there is an award given to the contestant with the best chaps. Judges look for design, versatility, quality of the craftsmanship, and the chap’s ability to be utilized in the arena.
Miss Rodeo America, Inc. is fortunate to represent the brand of two different professional chap sponsors. Julie Baughner is the owner of Julie Baugher Leather Design in Ellensburg, Washington and Miss Rodeo America’s second chap sponsor. Each year Julie presents a bag for the winner, designed and created, from the same leather of the outgoing Miss Rodeo America’s chaps each year. This year Julie crafted custom chaps for Katherine that complement the Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold Miss Rodeo America Crown. Both of the unique Miss Rodeo America chaps ensure that Katherine is prepared to complete her job in the arena as a rodeo queen. Come join us at the WNFR Luncheon to see all the MRA contestant chaps in person along with both of Katherine’s official Miss Rodeo America Chaps.