Welcome back for my second blog post! I hope you enjoyed the first one and thank you for coming back for more! Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Since last time, I have been to Arlington, Texas for the RFD TV’s The American, Valley City, ND for the North Dakota’s Winter Show along with some online appearances, and back to South Dakota just in time for our latest spring blizzard!
Last year I flew from Houston, TX to Arlington, TX to attend The American and it was the last normal weekend we would have in a very, very long time. It was my first time attending the American and the sheer magnitude of that rodeo will take your breath away! I honestly didn’t think the experience could be topped, but boy was I wrong! This year I had the incredible honor of presenting ‘Ol Glory in the opening ceremonies on a pretty trusty stead from Frontier Rodeo. Rehearsals went great and when I got to show time I was ready. As the clock was counting down I noticed the beautiful Ram trucks weren’t getting exited out of the arena along with all the pyro still set in the four corners of the arena and a row in front of the stage, which I would be running through at the end. It soon dawned on me I would not be alone in the arena. Now if you have ever been in a dark house with a spotlight on you, you will know that you really can’t see anything until it comes in the spot with you. Thankfully I like a little adrenaline and told myself you better cowgirl up cause I didn’t know how this horse might react. I proceed into the arena and do what I rehearsed, things are going great, then the singer starts on the last line of the National Anthem, and on “brave” BOOM fireworks go off right in front of my horse’s face. He jumps to the side and I hold on, we wait for the fireworks to stop and head out like we are getting out of Dodge. I come out of the arena cheesing bigger than ever and give a big “good boy” to that horse. I say all of this to say it is my favorite opening I have ever done at a rodeo, it was complex and tremendously patriotic! The American will go down in my memory as one of my favorite experiences of my two years and I was so happy to be included in the production this year! Everyone knows it’s a life-changing rodeo for the contestant, but it really left a mark on the hearts and minds of everyone involved!
If you follow the Miss Rodeo America social media accounts you know that Montana Silversmiths so graciously presented me with a buckle to commemorate not only 2021, but both years of my reign as Miss Rodeo America at the Cowgirl “30 under 30” ceremony. Judy Wager is truly one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met and made that moment so meaningful! I remember back at Denver Market in 2020 when I got the first chance to sit down with Judy. She told me, “every buckle has a story” and three weeks ago when she handed me my new buckle she told me again, “every buckle has a story”. It was a full-circle moment for me because when I first started my journey I thought my experience would be similar to those before me, although it has been everything but. Oh, the stories my Miss Rodeo America buckles could tell if they could talk!
Next, I was off to Valley City, ND the land of “chippers”. If you don’t know what “chippers” are I’m about to enlighten you. They are the most perfect mix between salty and sweet you will ever have. They are… ladies and gentlemen… chocolate-covered potato chips! That was a lot of hype just to say I really love chocolate-covered potato chips, but you know they say when you love something, scream it from the mountaintops! Alright enough about food, let me tell you about my amazing experience at the North Dakota Winter Show! It was the most beautiful weather and I don’t say that lightly considering it’s North Dakota and at any time it can snow. But in all seriousness, it was so nice to visit my neighbor to the north and they treated me like I was the Queen of England! That’s one silver lining to Covid. I have been able to travel to different rodeos that Miss Rodeo America normally wouldn’t get to go to. After 2020, it’s comforting to see these grassroots rodeos persevering and continuing on! The rodeo committee, the royalty court, the stock contractors, and the community as a whole did a fantastic job putting on a North Dakota Winter Show that had record attendance! Thank you North Dakota for having this South Dakota girl and making me feel right at home!
Speaking of silver linings that came out of 2020… We don’t have to be in the same location to talk, learn and grow anymore! Through a variety of programs, we can put a rodeo queen clinic hundreds of miles away. Miss Rodeo Missouri hosted their second Virtual Rodeo Queen Clinic and I was fortunate to teach! I get told a lot that I’m similar to my mom in many ways, but the one way I’m like my dad is having the heart of an instructor and talking. Lots of talking! Thank you again for having me!
Before I sign off I want to mention that while I was in North Dakota it marked the one-year anniversary of our lives changing forever. This is what I have to say, all things considered, I loved my 2020 and if you ever needed your spirit renewed in the western industry, we showed up! In one of the craziest times in modern history, we found a way to persevere and continue on! The lesson: you can’t keep cowboys and cowgirls down for long! Until next time keep smiling and God Bless!