History of the Crown: Miss Rodeo Nebraska

We all have heard the saying, “The crown doesn’t make the queen.” However, in the rodeo queen
industry it truly does. Without the crowns that sit atop our Greeley Hats, we really are just cowgirls. The Miss Rodeo Nebraska crown is just that, the symbol of a cowgirl.

The Vogt Western Silver original is truly a beauty to behold. With a hand-engraved, silver smithed, completely original, design the Nebraska crown stands tall and is surely identifiable. Outlined in gold, the cut out of the unique panhandle state shape of Nebraska stands out backed with whichever color of hat the lucky woman who wears the crown chooses to don that day.

Created in 1996, the pure sterling silver and gold piece of art was designed by the artist at Vogt Western Silver of California in collaboration with 1984 Miss Rodeo Nebraska, Johna Klug Niedfelt. Half of the cost of the new crown was generously donated by the Klug family and the rest by the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association. The crown began making it’s annual transition from hat to hat, cowgirl to cowgirl, in 1997/98. Although this crown that you see today is undeniably beautiful, it is not the only crown that has been worn to denote a ‘Miss Rodeo Nebraska’.

The first Miss Rodeo Nebraska to even wear a crown atop her hat was Nancy Ann Simmons in 1966—ten years after this first Miss Rodeo Nebraska was selected. There were a few crowns that made their way through the timeline of first ladies of professional rodeo in the state of Nebraska, but none that out- lived the life span of our current design. Every woman that has been Miss Rodeo Nebraska, crown or no crown, the current version or a previous, will tell you how proud they were to represent Nebraska. You see, although the design of this crown may seem simple, there is so much that it symbolizes: the good life, farmers and ranchers that lead the nation in production, some of the best PRCA rodeos the country has to offer, the talented cowboys and cowgirls of the beef state, the value of hard work and the western way of life. Each crown tells so many stories and here in Nebraska we are blessed to have a wonderful lady by the name of Lolly Klug, Miss Rodeo Nebraska 1957, that can reference her state rodeo queen archives for any information you may need or desire!

-Joeli Walrath Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020-2021

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