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Thoughts from a Rodeo Queen Mom

By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
This blog was written by Kate Peterson who is the mother of Sierra Peterson, Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2012.

So, your daughter has just announced that she wants to be a rodeo queen. Well, this can conjure up many different visions in your mind depending on your experiences. Some thoughts may be that rodeo queens are pretty, horsewomen, required to wear sparkly clothing, well-spoken, etc., but there is one common element, I believe, everyone can agree upon, and that is a rodeo queen must have character.

As a parent who participated in sports, such as basketball, softball, and rodeo, I am excited that my daughter wants to participate in activities because of the many lessons that these sports can teach our children. However, I did not realize how much more the lessons of being a rodeo queen could teach my daughter and, in fact, our entire family about character.

First, let’s define character so we are all on the same page.

  • Character involves trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is being honest, being reliable, and doing the right thing when no one is looking.
  • Character involves fairness. Fairness is playing by the rules, understanding the rules, listening, and not blaming others when you lose.
  • Character involves respect. Respect is treating others with good manners, not using bad language, dealing peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements.
  • Character involves caring. Caring is being kind, compassionate, and helpful to everyone not just who you want to.
  • Character involves responsibility. Responsibility is planning ahead, being diligent, doing your absolute best, setting an example.
  • Character involves citizenship. Citizenship is doing your fair share to make your community better, staying informed, voting, and volunteering.

Okay, now we are on the same page. Let’s get back to my daughter’s announcement that she wants to be “Miss Rodeo Nebraska!”

Wow, what an amazing and lofty goal! But, then I think to myself, “Do I want people judging my daughter for how she looks, how she talks, how she rides?” Do not miss-understand me, my daughter is the prettiest girl (in my world) and she can carry on an intelligent conversation with anyone (in our world) and she can ride any horse (we have put her on). Notice anything about those statements in the parentheses? Yes, those are my opinions, but when she competes and becomes a rodeo queen, it is not just about me and my world. This is when character is required by all involved in the sport of being a rodeo queen.

Let’s start with the pageant. The many Miss Rodeo Associations, especially the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association, have work tirelessly to develop a rule book for the pageant and to find judges that understand the attributes wanted by their queen. The pageant committees have worked to obtain sponsorships that award a multitude of prizes to girls that participate. Your daughter, and many times your entire family, has invested A LOT of time and money into wardrobe, horses, and possibly modeling lessons, just to mention a few things, to prepare for this pageant. And then the winners are announced. Did the judges think like you? I have found, that’s not always the case. This is where the character of fairness and respect are key to both winning and losing a crown.

If the crown is placed on your daughter’s head, the need for traits of character does not stop there. Then comes the appearances. For example, your daughter has been asked to attend a sponsor’s grand opening event, even though she just returned from being gone for two weeks in another state and has only gotten a few hours of sleep before she needs to wake up, super early, and travel several hundred miles to the sponsor’s place of business. When she arrives early, she is greeted by, “Oh we did not know you were going to be here?” But, she smiles, thanks them for their sponsorship, signs tons of autograph sheets, and maybe just maybe some little girl’s dreams come true. The character of respect and responsibility are key to acting like a rodeo queen, in every situation.

Next, there are the cowboys. Bull riders, tie-down ropers, pickup men, and all the rest of the cowboys that are at any given rodeo. There may be one who provides a comment to your daughter that rodeo queens don’t know how to ride. Another one, who says directly to her, “Get out of the arena.” Another cowboy may tell her how much he appreciated the last rodeo queen who was his best friend’s sister and not sure how you got here. She, again, smiles, waves, signs autographs and make a lot of fans understand the sport of rodeo. There is another cowboy that truly appreciated her helping and again another little cowgirl has the dream to be a rodeo queen. The character of integrity and trustworthiness are vital to wearing a crown at a rodeo.

Finally, there is giving up the crown to the next rodeo queen. She has just put the crown on the next Miss Rodeo . The association is working hard to support the next queen who gets to go on a ride of a lifetime. Your daughter reflects on the experiences, lessons, and friendships she made. She acknowledges and values the hours the association has volunteered and brainstormed to make the next rodeo queen experience a little bit better. She smiles, waves, and passes on her knowledge and volunteers her time. The character of citizenship and caring are absolutely necessary for our sport to continue.

I could go on for several more pages, but I want to have us all stop and think about the great character our daughters exude. The lessons they learn. The people they meet. The little cowgirls they influence. This would all not have been possible without having them be willing to be judged by others, yet knowing deep in their character, their true worth is not from the sash and crown, but from the character that God gifted them with and they chose to accept. So, when your daughter announces, “I want to be Miss Rodeo ,” be encouraged. Your daughter has accepted a path that will teach her to how to radiate the true traits of character.

I want to thank everyone involved in the rodeo queen world, because you have continued to show me the true traits of character and are shaping the women of tomorrow.