Having traveled over 3000 miles since my last Blog, I truly feel like a “gypsy” rodeo queen, and I am loving every minute of it.
Newnan, Georgia was a great rodeo! The rodeo had hundreds of spectators each night, so I met a lot of people. Both nights of the rodeo, I was able to introduce the Coweta County Drill Team. This made me reminisce back to all of the great times that I spent as a member of my own local 4H Mounted Drill Team. I enjoyed talking to the girls about the different events and rodeos that they would open all over the state of Georgia. They were a talented group of ladies! I also enjoyed staying with Elise Farnham, who graciously opened up her home to me for the weekend. Elise is the president of the Coweta County Cattlemen’s association, and has put on a fantastic rodeo for a couple of years now. I enjoyed working with her!
Next, off to Toganoxie, Kansas I went for another great rodeo put on by the local Shriners. This committee was huge, and everyone was willing to help out! I was nervous about this rodeo, because I was afraid I wouldn’t know any of the contestants or personnel due to it being so far west. However, I was pleased to see many names that I recognized entered in the rodeo, and knew both of the bullfighters well. Also, I became good friends with the announcer, Brandon McLagan, and his girlfriend, Katie Rudder. It was a nice reminder that no matter how far from home I am, I will always have my old rodeo family, and make new friends along the way! Although we had a little rain for the rodeo, we still had a great turn out and a wonderful rodeo.
Last weekend, I was back in Georgia at Shady Dale. (I’m beginning to like this state!) I was super excited about this rodeo – people come from miles around to watch the rodeo. Robin Brooks with Southern Rodeo put on an awesome performance both nights, despite the rain and mud! I ended up doing a lot of promotional work with the bullfighters, who I later found out worked the Tennessee High School Rodeo my mom puts on each year in our home town. One of my greatest memories from this trip was meeting the fifth grade girl that sang the national anthem both nights of the rodeo. She had a beautiful voice and was so sweet!
Now, as I type, I am preparing to leave for Ozark, Arkansas. I can’t wait to get back on the road, although I REALLY am hoping that I don’t take the rain with me this time. I am looking forward to another great rodeo this weekend, and also can’t wait to spend a little time with Miss Rodeo USA 2015 Kirbi Allen.
I can’t wait to fill you in on my next Blog…. I have a really special trip planned next week. Until then, always remember to Enjoy the Ride!
These two weeks have been all about my home state of Tennessee! I started out in East Tennessee at the Sequoah High School Rodeo in Madisonville. This event is an IPRA rodeo put on by the high school to raise money for the FFA program. Both nights we had a great crowd, despite a little rain on Saturday. My month long trip of being on the road ended, and Sunday I drove back west to spend a week at home.
Tennessee has three stars on its flag which represent the three different landscapes of Tennessee. East Tennessee holds the Smokey Mountains and Middle Tennessee has gentle rolling hills. Where I am from in West Tennessee, we have flat farm lands. In one drive, I was able to see all three regions of Tennessee. It was a neat experience to watch the landscape change as I drove closer to home. I was home all week long and was able to catch up on some much needed sleep! This past weekend, I visited the Tennessee Youth Rodeo Association’s State Finals in my hometown of Martin. Visiting this association was very special to me because it was the first rodeo association I ever joined! Formerly known as the Tennessee Junior Rodeo Association (TJRA), I competed four years and won the rodeo queen title twice. If it hadn’t been for that association, I am certain I would not be where I am today! I was very active in TJRA, competing in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, break away roping, and ribbon roping during my four years. I qualified for Junior High National Finals Rodeo twice during that time, and won several buckles, including state barrel racing champion, state pole bending champion, and reserve all -around champion.
I spent Mother’s Day on the road with my mom, traveling to a photo shoot sponsored by Southern Exposure Photography in Oneonta Alabama. Pictures coming soon from this session, shot by the great Jack Bains! Now it is time to get back on the rodeo road! I’m off to Newnan, Georgia for another great IPRA rodeo!!! Always remember to enjoy the ride!
“From humble beginnings come great things.”
Georgia…what a great state for IPRA Rodeo! I had absolutely the most awesome time in Statesboro, Georgia! They kept me busy ALL week doing promotional work, but at the same time kept me entertained. While my week consisted of school visits, sponsor visits, and nursing home visits, my favorite part of the trip was meeting Georgia Southern University’s bald eagle, Freedom. Freedom is a captive eagle that is flown into all the football games at GSU. Meeting him and a few other animals at the Wildlife Center was an experience I will never forget. Throughout the week, I met so many interesting people and visited many beautiful places. The rodeo was phenomenal. The stands were full both nights!
After Statesboro, I helped Danny Hedrick haul bulls to the next rodeo in Evans, Georgia. David and Wendy Speight were so kind to open their home up to me and take care of me all week! The week of the American Hero Pro Rodeo, I visited many schools and went bowling with the committee. One of my favorite things about school visits is when I have kids come up to me at the rodeo and tell me that they saw me at their school. Everyone was concerned that it was going to rain during the rodeo, but thankfully the rain moved out and made for two beautiful nights of rodeo. Saturday night was standing room only, and the Hedricks put on another great show, with fabulous entertainment provided by Colt 45. If you have never seen him at a rodeo, you have to make it a point to attend a rodeo where he is the funny man!
I left Evans and headed to Madisonville, Tennessee. I’m so glad to be back in my home state! I’m staying with the Hedrick family this week and helping them around the house. I’ve had so much fun traveling, but it is always nice to be able to relax and help out around the house. Tomorrow I’ll start promotional work by visiting a few schools. After this week I’ll be able to head home for a few days before my next rodeo.
Always remember to enjoy the ride! I know that I am!
Finally….my rodeo season has kicked into full gear. I spent much of the week before last promoting my hometown college rodeo at the University of Tennessee at Martin with school visits and a visit to a day care. I was even able to take my horse “Baby” to the daycare to give a little lesson on horse care 101. That really pumped up the kids and got them excited about attending the rodeo!!!
Following the UT Martin rodeo promotions, I travelled to Priceville, Alabama for a PCA rodeo. This rodeo is especially near and dear to my heart, because at this rodeo last year, I was crowned the 2017 Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen. Going back to promote and represent this rodeo meant a lot to me as this was the title that sent me to the Miss Rodeo USA competition. It was so fun hanging out with my Morgan County committee – they are the most dedicated and hardworking women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. All week I went to promotional events and sponsor visits, but Thursday was my favorite day by far. That morning, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Posse hosted a special needs rodeo. About 170 individuals with special needs were able to experience the western way of life and watch a rodeo that was produced especially for them.
After the special needs rodeo, I drove all the way back to Tennessee for the Thursday night performance of the 50th annual college rodeo in my hometown of Martin. It was wonderful to be recognized at my hometown rodeo as Miss Rodeo USA. I also was able to see many of my rodeo friends I haven’t seen since being crowned Miss Rodeo USA. Bright and early the next morning, I got up and hauled back to Alabama for more sponsor visits and for the rodeo performances Friday and Saturday night.
Sunday I got to spend a little time with my mom and dad before heading to Statesboro, Georgia for the Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo. I hit the ground running bright and early Monday morning! We went to plenty of sponsor visits and school visits, and I was able to meet most of the committee. Today, I had more sponsor visits and school visits as well as a county commissioner meeting and Kiwanis Club meeting. Tomorrow, I get to meet Freedom – a captive bald eagle that all the past Miss Rodeo USAs have taken a picture with!
I can’t wait to see what else the week holds, and I’m even more excited about the rodeo! Stay tuned for more adventures, and always remember to enjoy the ride!
What a whirlwind! My travel has officially started, and it’s already been so much fun! Right after I got back home from RFD-TV’s The American, I spoke at our county mayor’s meeting and was recognized as an outstanding citizen of Weakley County. After being acknowledged by the county mayor and county commission, I was able to speak to the citizens of Weakley County about the hard work and dedication that goes into becoming Miss Rodeo USA. It’s wonderful knowing that my community is so proud of me!
Next, Kirbi Allen-Carter, Miss Rodeo USA 2015 and I drove to Dallas, Texas to the Dallas Western Market. I’ve never been to Market, so this experience was incredible. I was able to meet and thank old sponsors as well as meet new ones! Every new sponsor we met was so excited to begin working with the Miss Rodeo USA organization. I am so excited to continue these new relationships and help these sponsors grow.
This past week, I went to my first rodeo as Miss Rodeo USA. The rodeo was held in Brunswick, Georgia by the Brunswick Exchange Club. The proceeds from the rodeo go to local charities that help kids in the community. This committee was so welcoming and hospitable that I felt right at home! During the week I went to several promotional events in the community and met many of the locals who live in Brunswick. It was interesting to hear their stories of living on the east coast and learn about the history of the beautiful town. During the rodeo, I had so much fun carrying the American flag and signing autographs for the kids. The Hedrick Rodeo Company put on a great show and I look forward to working with them throughout my reign.
One of the fundraisers the rodeo has is a raffle for a horseback ride on the beach with Miss Rodeo USA. On Easter Sunday, a few lucky winners and myself took a beautiful ride on Sea Island. I rode a nineteen hand draft horse named Gunther, who turned out to be a gentle giant! It was such a fun experience, and an amazing way to celebrate Easter. After all, it combined two things that I love the most: horseback riding and the beach!
Without a doubt, my travels have begun, and I’m having so much fun representing the association and sport that I dearly love. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
My travels have begun, and I’ve had so much fun! I drove to Oklahoma City and attended the Royal Review Rodeo Queen Jackpot. This clinic is put on by the wonderful Candice Carper, Miss Rodeo USA 2007. I was able to see sash sisters from all across the United States and make new friends. I loved watching the girls grow and improve their skills; after all, practice makes perfect! One of the highlights of my trip was getting to hang out with Miss Rodeo America 2017 Lisa Lageshaar and Miss Rodeo America 2018 Keri Sheffield. These women were so much fun to work with, and I’m so honored to call them friends! Even though we represent different associations, we are bound by our passion for the great sport of rodeo. While I was in Oklahoma City, I stopped by the IPRA office to say hello to the people who work so hard for our great association.
On Sunday, I left Oklahoma City and headed to Arlington, Texas to watch RFD-TV’s The American. This was one of the most exciting rodeos I have ever seen! The unique setup of two side-by-side arenas keeps the show moving smoothly and the action leaves you on the edge of your seat. I love how this rodeo has well-known rodeo competitors and “underdogs” competing against each other for the chance to win a million dollars. At the rodeo, I ran into one of our great sponsors, JT Wynn with Wynn Leather. I was able to hang out with him for a bit and thank him for all that he does for the Miss Rodeo USA organization. I also got to spend some time with Lauren Terry, Miss Rodeo USA 2013. I remember when Lauren was a judge when I competed for Junior Miss Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo. My, how time flies!
Although I’m thankful for the opportunities I have already had, I’m excited to start my travels and looking forward to my first IPRA rodeo at the end of this month. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!
It’s been wonderful making local community appearances these last two weeks! Everyone I have interacted with has been so proud of my accomplishments, which is truly humbling. On February 10th, I attended the Boots and Spurs Gala, and fundraiser for the University of Tennessee at Martin Rodeo Team. Over 130 of my rodeo family attended the gala, allowing me to visit with many friends that I hadn’t seen since being crowned Miss Rodeo USA. Thousands of dollars were raised for scholarship money for the rodeo team members. It was a fun night filled with great people supporting a wonderful team.
On February 15th, I was able to speak about my experiences at the Miss Rodeo USA pageant and talk about the great organization with the Martin Rotary Club. This event was particularly special to me because I had visited them as the Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen in November where they allowed me to practice giving my speeches in preparation for the competition. They were very proud of my accomplishment and were excited that I was able to share the memories I made.
This week I will be preparing to travel to Oklahoma City to the annual Royal Review Jackpot. This is a clinic for rodeo queens that I have attended in the past. I am so excited to see some of my sash sisters and watch them compete. I will also be attending RFD-TV’s The American as well. I am so excited for my first big trip as Miss Rodeo USA!
Hey everyone! It’s been so nice to be back home for a couple of weeks in Tennessee. Now, I am working on reaching out to sponsors to let them know how much the organization and myself appreciate their generosity. We couldn’t do it without them! I have already spoken with a few sponsors, and it’s wonderful to know that we have a team of amazing people willing to help in any way they can. Since I have been back home, I was able to go to the annual Girlfriends’ Gala in Decatur, Alabama with my Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo committee. It was nice to be able to spend time with the wonderful group of women who made my year as the MCSR Queen unforgettable!
The Girlfriends’ Gala is a fundraiser put on by the United Way Women’s Leadership Council. This fundraiser raised approximately $40,000 for The Circle Ranch, a camp for foster children. This is a wonderful organization that promotes equal opportunities, starting in their community. I was very interested to learn about this organization and the impacts they had made in Decatur, Alabama. This was a fun night spent with great people! As you can see in the pictures, it was a Masquerade themed party.
This Saturday, I will be attending a gala for the 50th anniversary of the University of Tennessee at Martin College Rodeo in my hometown. Even though I am no longer on the UTM Rodeo Team, I am honored to be a part of the promotion of the hometown college rodeo. Our college rodeo prides itself in filling the stands each night of the rodeo, drawing in thousands of spectators. I am looking forward to seeing some of my rodeo family come together to celebrate fifty years of successful college rodeos!
This month is a month of preparation before my travel as Miss Rodeo USA begins! While I appreciate the opportunity to get ready for the year, I can’t wait to get started! I have been dreaming about this year since I was little, and I can’t wait to share my adventures with all of you!
Hello everyone! I am Summer Weldon, the 2018 Miss Rodeo USA. I am from the small town of Martin, Tennessee, home of the University of Tennessee at Martin where I have been a member of the UTM Rodeo team and studied cell and molecular biology. However, I will be taking a year off from classes so that I may enjoy my year of travel to the fullest! I am so excited to begin this new chapter in my life as I represent the International Professional Rodeo Association. To represent this great organization has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl.
The week of competition was a whirlwind! I met eleven beautiful, talented, and driven ladies that were as passionate about this great sport as I am. The days were long, but the memories that were made will last a lifetime! The competition started Tuesday, January 16th, which happened to be my 20th birthday. This day was mostly a get-to-know-you day for the contestants and judges. We visited the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and also had a sponsor photo shoot. That night we had a fun- filled pajama party at the end of the day where we played games and had a show and tell with an item we brought that meant the most to us. I brought my stuffed animal “Simba” from the movie The Lion King and told everyone how I had taken Simba on every family vacation and rodeo that I had ever been to. He will definitely be traveling with me throughout my year!
Wednesday brought the horsemanship portion of the competition. We were honored to ride the fantastic equine athletes provided by Five Star Quarter Horses! That evening we gave our platform speeches at the Centennial Rodeo Opry. Rodeo announcer, Tyler Brown, and Miss Rodeo USA 2017, Brittany Howard, did a great job keeping the crowd entertained.
On Thursday, we had our media interviews at the Wyndham and the IPRA Gold Buckle Gala at Events at West Main in Yukon Oklahoma. This day was so much fun! It was such an honor to get to see the top fifteen cowboys and cowgirls in each event receive their back numbers and jackets. I was able to visit with a few college rodeo teammates that had qualified for IFR 48. I was proud that my home state of Tennessee had so many contestants that had qualified for the finals!
Friday was our busiest day by far! We attended a reception for MRUSA 2017 Brittany Howard followed by the IPRA Ladies’ Luncheon. At the luncheon, we showcases our state shirts, but the most special part of the luncheon was meeting Jacee Beth Thomas. She and her family were so inspirational and kind. After the auction to raise money for Jacee Beth and her family, the luncheon attendees voted for their favorite state outfit. I am proud to say that my shirt was voted as crowd favorite! Next up was the Miss Rodeo USA Fashion Show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum where we modeled two of our own outfits and two generously sponsored outfits from Southern Sass and the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum. Friday night was round one of IFR 48! We visited the trade show, watched the rodeo, and attended the IFR round one buckle presentation. We were exhausted, but it was a fun day!
Saturday morning we had our State Speech and Royalty Brunch at Remington Park. We enjoyed attending both rodeo performances of the state fair arena, followed by another buckle presentation that evening.
Sunday held my favorite event, the OG&E Children’s Rodeo! The children were able to get a taste of the western way of life and meet several rodeo contestants. During the fourth rodeo performance the crowning of Miss Rodeo USA occurred after breakaway roping. I can’t tell how nervous and excited I was when I stepped onto the arena floor. As all of the contestants stood side by side in front of the huge crowd, I knew that if I didn’t win, I couldn’t wait to come back next year. As they called out the top five placings, I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest! When they announced me as the new Miss Rodeo USA, I couldn’t believe it. My dream had finally come true! Tears were streaming down my face as I made my first lap as queen. It was a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Congratulations to Jolye Durrett, Sara Weekes, Heather Morrison, and Heather Bundy on their top five finish! All of the contestants are truly wonderful ladies and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
The first few days as Miss Rodeo USA have been so much fun! I have already had a sponsor photoshoot with the wonderful Sherry Smith and have received many calls and messages from several of the fantastic sponsors of the Miss Rodeo USA organization. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me and I hope you will follow along for the ride!
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Follow Miss Rodeo USA 2018, Summer Weldon on her adventures representing the IPRA and the MRUSA Association!