My endurance for driving sure has built up this year. I completed driving 11 hours straight to Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Earlier in the year, I would have said there is no way that I could stay awake that long! Now, it’s simply no big deal with coffee and good music! My mom was able to come with me to the annual Miss Rodeo USA Clinic. It was wonderful to have a traveling partner and even better that we were able to spend the weekend together.
I arrived on Thursday evening to help set up the room in which the clinic was held. My forte is certainly not decorating, so I let the pro’s handle that! We all formed an assembly line to put together the clinic binders for the participants and observers. This task was done in a few short hours with the help of everyone. On Thursday I also invited the participants to dinner if they arrived in time. We had a total of 4 clinic girls and 1 observer attend. It was a great dinner at Trails End BBQ where we all made new friends and chatted about the upcoming clinic.
The clinic schedule started at 8 AM Friday morning with 20 participants and several observers! Ice breaker games were played and then we dove in to the material. We spent over 13 hours in the classroom but the girls learned so much! Saturday brought horsemanship day. Thanks to one of our great sponsors, 5 Star Quarter Horses for bringing a load of horses for the participants to ride! We greatly appreciate all that you do! Horsemanship was conducted by none other than the talented former Miss Rodeo USA, Trisha Shields! Trisha is amazing at what she does and helped each girl one on one with their horsemanship skills.
During the horsemanship portion, Trisha let me sit on Foxy. Many of you may know who that is, but if you don’t, she is the horse that Trisha trained in a mustang competition. Foxy is truly a once in a lifetime horse and I can’t believe that she let me sit on her! Trisha’s parents were there and came over to me on Foxy. We were talking and all of a sudden, I notice Foxy doing something but didn’t know what. Next thing I knew, Foxy laid down! I figured it was time to just step right on off. Meanwhile, Sherry (Trisha’s mom) was saying, “Give me your phone!” She knew this was the perfect kodiak moment and didn’t want me to miss the documentation! Trisha has trained Foxy to lay down with a certain cue, although I didn’t even know what that was!
After our fun on Foxy and at the horsemanship arena, it was time to head to lunch at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Earlier in the year, I had the opportunity to stop by the cultural center to be a spectator and learn about the Indian culture. I had so much fun and loved meeting all the wonderful people there so I wanted the clinic group to come back. The plan worked out for the clinic group to eat Indian food for lunch and then take a tour of the beautiful facility. Thanks to Donnie, our pageant director for helping us get in on this awesome experience. We were able to watch a stomp dance, view the influential statues, play a game of stick ball, and learn all about the Indian culture.
Our tour was a great break from the classroom that we all enjoyed. We continued on with our study material to end the day. Sunday was mock interview day where all the participants were able to do interview, impromptu, speech, modeling and receive critiques on them. I had to skip out early as I was booked for the Youth Finals Rodeo held at the 2017 Doxa Extreme Rodeo in Alex, Oklahoma. I arrived at the rodeo where I found that this was a big annual event and that there were 151 youth contestants entered for the 10,000 added Youth Finals Rodeo! My job was to be a part of the buckle presentations to the youth. I met Cord McCoy and he was definitely my entertainment for the day. The rodeo lasted for about 9 hours, but it was great getting to see the youth excel in each event!
Monday night I was invited to the local Senior Citizens Center to support the center and band of Wynnewood. I met up with Allie Burgin, who I met earlier in the year with the Thunder in the Valley Committee. It was great to visit with Allie and his wife and to meet new faces. I also met the Mayor of Wynnewood. Tuesday I headed to one of the Miss Rodeo USA Sponsors, the Norton’s with Norton’s Jewelry in Pauls Valley. They invited me to lunch and we all had a wonderful time catching up. They shined my diamond ring that they sponsored me and we said see you later!
My next stop was to Henryetta, Oklahoma. I took the couple hour drive on Thursday to meet up with Tammie, one of the founding partners in the Living Legends Rodeo. We visited a couple different schools in the area to hand out tickets and spent time with the students. I had a blast talking to the classes and visiting the special needs students. They are the sweetest and make you smile constantly! We also stopped by a few sponsors in the area including the dealership and a local veterinarian. It’s always a great time when I get to experience things from the veterinary industry. Dr. Collquett gave me a tour of his facilities and equine surgery suite.
The highlight of the day was stopping at the Henryetta Chamber of Commerce. Upon arriving, I saw the charming outdoor patio setting that displayed much of the town’s cowboy history, I stopped for a photo and then headed on inside to find something that I had no idea was located inside. There it sat, the IFR Gate 2 with the legendary Tornado’s horn mount on top of it. After reading the proclamation and taking in all the other memorabilia, it was photo time again. This time, I had to get a picture touching Tornado’s horns! I remember at the pageant this past January, the contestants all took a visit to the Cowboy Hall of Fame where we toughed the bitter cold and walked to see where Tornado was buried. We all stood in awe for a brisk few minutes and then headed back inside. I never even thought about his horn mount being displayed in the cowboy historic town of Henryetta, Oklahoma.
Saturday night brought the first performance at the Living Legends Rodeo Arena. At this time, Hurricane Harvey has been flooding Texas for a solid week or more. It was only fitting for the rodeo committee to decide to do a tribute to Texas. I carried the American flag on Willie the Wonder Horse from Hampton Rodeo Company first and then came back after the saddle bronc riding with a different flag. As Monty began to talk about the effects of Hurricane Harvey, I made my way to the alley way and entered in the arena where all eyes were on me as I walked in with the Texas flag. It was a moment like this that I could tell that every person in attendance was thinking of those in Texas. A high school rodeo family had been displaced due to the hurricane and was given tickets to the rodeo. It was great to see the community reaching out to help and recognize others in a time of need.
Between both nights at the rodeo, I probably signed over 150 autographs. When I had visited the schools earlier in the week, I told the students to come see me at the rodeo. It turned out that the kids actually listened and they ALL came to see me! It was great to see so many exciting faces at the rodeo! I want to say a big thanks to Teresa at Southern Sass for keeping me outfitted in the latest fashion trends! I ran into her at the rodeo with her boutique! I finished up the rodeo and then it was time to drive 700 miles back to Kentucky! Stay tuned for my next blog to feature my travels to the land down under!!