By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
This blog was written by guest blogger Katera Harter Miss Rodeo Kansas 2014! Katera placed in the top ten at the MRA pageant and won the written test! Currently she is also serving as the Kansas National Director.
I remember my first rodeo princess pageant like it was yesterday. It was my county pageant and my twelve year old self was looking for an exciting new adventure with my new mount. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea what I was doing and one of the biggest realizations from that experience was the amount of knowledge I was expected to know to be successful.
As I continued my years through the ranks of rodeo pageants in my state, I came to realize and love the fact that rodeo knowledge was one of the most important aspects of being a rodeo queen. Sure, rodeo queens should be a friendly face who can gracefully ride a horse and speak in public, but a RODEO queen should know RODEO.
One of my biggest suggestions to girls who ask me for guidance when it comes to studying for rodeo knowledge is to use those rodeos that they are attending to their advantage.
Where better to learn about rodeo than at an actual rodeo. There are several ways to expand your knowledge while attending a rodeo.
You can always learn something new during a rodeo by simply LISTENING to the announcer. The job of the announcer is to keep the audience engaged and to explain each run or ride to the audience so they understand what is going on. Each announcer has their own way of describing different events and rules and are excellent resources for you to use while explaining events to children at a library, someone in the crowd, or during an impromptu opportunity during competition.
The next time you are at a rodeo, look around. You are most likely surrounded by rodeo contestants. Take the time to build a relationship with some of these contestants. Now, you don’t want to be the girl who goes up to these individuals while they are getting ready to head into the arena or who just came out of the arena after a bad run. Many times you can catch them in the hospitality room for a few minutes. Pay attention to the situation and the opportunity may arise for you to visit with them about their events. Many times these people are more than happy to visit with you and appreciate the fact that you are trying to learn and actually care to know the details.
Some rodeo rules are hard to understand by just reading them out of the PRCA Rule Book. During the 2014 Prairie Circuit Finials; Gina Jespersen (MRN 2014), Lauren Heaton (MRO 2014 & MRA 2015) and myself were going over several of these rules while preparing for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. We were explaining to each other how the barrier, score, score-line, and neck rope all worked together. Up until that point, none of us had actually seen in person how it worked. Sure we could explain it in an answer format, but we truly didn’t realize how much more went into it until we asked the timed event chute boss of that rodeo take us into the arena and SHOW us. I learned more in those twenty minutes about the logistics of putting on a rodeo than I could from reading a rulebook for hours. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and insight into how these things work. If these people have some down time in their schedules, they are happy to help.
With all of these suggestions, I firmly believe that the PRCA Rule Book and PRCA Media Guide are your biggest assets. Divide the sections out and learn (and know) each of them one at a time. If you are truly serious about being a successful in this industry, KNOW these books cover to cover. Use down time between appearances to read sections and make flash cards as you go through them. If you can put a piece of information into a question format, make a flashcard. I am also hesitant to suggest learning new material from a study guide that you can purchase from different individuals. Though there are many great study guides out there, they should only be used to refresh what you have already learned from the rule book and media guide. Another very important publication that you should stay up to date with is the Pro Rodeo Sports News. There is so much valuable information that you can gain from reading these magazines.
I, along with all those who have competed at the state and national level, know first-hand how daunting the amount of knowledge needed to do well can be. Don’t wait until the last minute to cram for a competition. Use each opportunity presented to you to expand your knowledge and become a well-rounded queen who is full of knowledge. The confidence you will have from truly knowing rodeo will be one of your biggest assets going into competition. You will be so much more relaxed and able to actually enjoy yourself while you compete.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.” -Pele