By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
There’s a lot of traveling involved with being a Miss Rodeo Queen. While traveling, it’s natural to come across delayed flights, missing bags, and the small panic that comes with these setbacks. But every now and then, big travel mishaps can happen which really cranks the adrenaline. Here are a few travel mishaps from some of our former Rodeo Queens:
Lauren Heaton, Miss Rodeo America 2015 – During my year as Miss Rodeo America, I was traveling to Canada for the famous Ponoka Stampede rodeo, where it would be the first time MRA attended. Due to an event I was at previous to Ponoka, I wouldn’t be arriving until the day of the first round of rodeo. On the day of travel, my flight into Edmonton got delayed by a few hours, pushing my arrival time, extremely close to the start of the rodeo. By the time I arrived, I had less than hour and half to make it to the ground on time, and it was an hour drive from the airport. After being in the car for 45 mins I had to ask my host to pull over, because I was going to have to change into my rodeo attire and chaps in the car; the timing was just too close and wouldn’t have time to go to the horse trailer first. Quite a way to start a new friendship by having her hold up a jacket for me while I changed! We made it to the arena and were cutting it so close; I was buckling my chaps as we drove into the in-field of grounds. We drove straight up to the others who were already horseback, Miss Rodeo Canada, Katy Lucas and the Ponoka Stampede Queen, Ashley Ackermanns. They had the American flag loaded in the flag boot and were holding my horse, thankfully Katy knew I was tall and had them adjust my stirrups before I arrived. I checked the cinch and tack, jumped on and by the time I grabbed the reins we were hearing “let’s welcome into the arena, our rodeo royalty!” and we were off at a gallop into the arena. Even though I had half a dozen other travel mishaps throughout my year, none had me almost missing an event, quite so close. This is also the story I frequently use as an example as to why it’s essential for every rodeo queen to have extensive riding experience and confidence.Thankfully “Mouse” was the sweetest and nicest little mare, but I had to get a handle of her in a hurry and maintain a smile after only being on her for seconds before entering the area in front of thousands. So no matter the mishap, it’s important to stay calm, be prepared, and of course, smile.
Katherine Merck, Miss Rodeo America 2016 – I was extremely lucky during my year as Miss Rodeo America in terms of travel – I had a few adventures, but for the most part my travel went as planned! However, I did have a day where I flew to Seattle, drank a cup of coffee, and flew home that night! In the fall, I was booked for the Miss Rodeo Montana Clinic in Bozeman. Bozeman isn’t a terribly long drive from Spokane, but I was heading to Australia the day after I got home so we made the decision that I should fly in case there was a snowstorm. I flew to Seattle as planned…but all flights out of Seattle were cancelled as soon as I landed! Essentially, I was now a seven-hour drive further away from where I needed to be, so like a true Washingtonian I drank some Starbucks and tried to make a plan. Nine hours later, I finally caught a flight back to Spokane and started my trip to Bozeman all over again the next morning. I like to say that there is always Plan A and Plan B…and in this case, my dad ended up saving the day with Plan Z! After exhausting all other options, my dad called his pilot friend and the three of us flew a little propellor plane to Bozeman, which was quite the adventure! I still like to say that I flew to Seattle that day just because the coffee is better there!
Michelle Morris, Miss Rodeo Maine 2014 – On the way home from Nebraskaland days I was riding the shuttle back to Denver to head home. The shuttle I was on ended up being a transport van for fresh out of prison parolees! I texted my mom who called my state director in a panic. My state director almost had them drop me off somewhere along the way to find another way home because of the whole situation I had found myself in. Needless to say It was an interesting 6 hour drive to the airport.