Most Americans today only know the western way of life by images they’ve seen in the movies or on television. Laurie Thoman, fourth-generation rancher and Miss Rodeo Wyoming 1994, lives it in brilliant reality every day.
A soft-spoken, no nonsense, true-to-her-word cowgirl, Thoman comes from a family of strong female leaders in the sheep and cattle industry and from a herd of rodeo queens.
Her mom, Mickey Thoman, and two sisters Mary and Kristy all held rodeo queen titles before Laurie won the title of Miss Rodeo Wyoming 1994 and the Horsemanship award.
She went on to represent her title nationally, winning the Most Photogenic award, finishing in the top five at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant
The Thoman family ranch is located 50 miles northwest of Green River, WY. That’s where Laurie was raised and still lives and works today, along with her 12-year-old daughter Taylor, as well as her sisters and 91-year-old mother.
Every member of the family has an important part in working the ranch. Together, they raise Rambouillet sheep, Hereford cattle and Quarter Horses.
In addition to the priceless education of growing up on a working ranch, Thoman also earned a Bachelor degree and a Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences: Textiles and Merchandising.
Amazingly, Thoman still found time to work in the community in rodeo production, 4-H, several trade associations and in rodeo pageantry as queen coordinator, seminar instructor, judge and board member, all at local, state and national levels.
Notably, she worked under former Wrangler NFR general manager Shawn Davis for several years as a statistician and as former Tour Finals Rodeo flag coordinator and carrier, opening coordinator assistant, office assistant and worked in the Wrangler NFR credential office.
Thoman has won numerous awards for her passion and dedication to all things agriculture, including the 2016 Sweetwater County 4-H Horse Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2018 Red Desert Roundup Rodeo Volunteer of the Year Award.
Having served as the National Director for the Miss Rodeo Wyoming Association for 14 years, she was awarded a trophy buckle in 2018 for 20-plus total years of dedicated service to the Miss Rodeo Wyoming Association.
She served on the Miss Rodeo America Executive Board for eight years from 2009 to 2014 and again 2017-2018.
No doubt being raised on a successful working ranch instilled a tremendous work ethic into the entire Thoman family, but how did serving as a state rodeo queen influence Laurie’s very successful adult life?
“The pageant opportunities brought me out of my shell and instilled a love of public speaking and traveling,” said Thoman.
“I learned skills in public relations and interviewing that will last a lifetime.” “The growth and maturity that happens in one year is incomparable to any amount of formal education.”
“I was able to network with people from all over the county, many of whom are still friends.”
Today, Thoman remains an MRA Gold Member and serves on several MRA pageant committees, including the high-profile fashion show and the horsemanship competition, in which she serves as co-chair.
“I plan to stay involved in the family ranching operation,” said Thoman. “Taylor, my daughter, is very active in 4-H in 11 disciplines and rodeo queen pageants, so that is all intensive.”
“I would like to further pursue interests in design and textiles.”
See more at MissRodeoAmerica.com