The Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo was next on my schedule! I was really excited about attending not just because it’s close to home, but because my half-roomie from the pageant was going to be there! If you didn’t already know, during mid-week of the pageant, they pulled the ol’ room switch-a-roo competition! We had 30 minutes to completely change rooms and roommates! Don’t worry, all the contestants completed this task in 20 minutes and 2 seconds! With that being said, my new roommate was Mary Ashley! She was the Miss Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen and this is her rodeo that I was able to attend! Of course, when I arrived there was a lot of catching up to do! It was wonderful to see her and get to hangout all weekend while we both worked!
Thursday I felt honored to be a part of the largest special needs rodeo that I have ever seen! There were over 1,200 special friends that attended this huge event! Even though it was rather a brisk morning in Decatur, that didn’t stop the kids from wandering outside to all the booths and fun activities that were planned for them! Mary Ashley and I got to interact with the kids and sign autographs. After lunch was held for everyone, there was a mini rodeo performance for all that attended!
Friday morning we awoke at 3 am to get ready for our TV interview! It is a good thing I am a morning person, or making this appearance would not have been easy! We advertised for the rodeo and then left to start on sponsor visits! A special thanks goes to Whinny Wisdom for their sponsorship of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo! It was great stopping by the store to check out all of the adorable items!
Rodeo night on Friday was so much fun running flags with Mary Ashley! We had our horses shiny and glittered for the night! Thank you to Amber with Gypsy Tails for providing me an awesome set of Red, White, and Blue to add to my horse, Doc! They looked so pretty and are simple to put in your horses mane and tail! Saturday morning we went to a community event for children in a neighboring county. We spent a few hours signing autographs, taking photos, and handing out free tickets to the rodeo.
This is the really fun part next – I got to go on a helicopter ride! This was not an ordinary helicopter ride either! I set in the co-pilots seat of the Cullman Police Helicopter with my curls blowing in the wind (because there was no doors) while listening to the Eagles through my headset. We ventured over to a lake and dipped down to right above the water and literally raced around the curves like we were on a race track! It was the neatest adventure ever! The best part is when we passed fishermen on the water as we got the most unusual looks! As we were racing around the turns, I told the pilot,“ I see why you love your job! This is about as fun as flying gets!” I know that not every day is sunshine and daisies as a police officer, but flying always makes it better! Thank you to all of those that work hard every day to make sure we are safe! And I almost forgot to mention that I GOT TO FLY THE HELICOPTER! For only 30 seconds, but it was my first time on the controls! It takes a lot of talent and skill to be able to maneuver a helicopter where you want, and I for sure learned just that! According to the pilot, it is more about pressure than actual movement of your hand on the controls. Another amazing memory added to my year!
Rodeo night number two was even better than the first with a larger crowd! It was the last time that I will ever run flags with Mary Ashley as the Miss Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen, so it was bittersweet! I watched her take the last ride for her reign during the rodeo. Mary Ashley – you have done a wonderful job during your title and I am so glad I got to meet you and spend time with you at the pageant! I am looking forward to more memories with you in the future! The new queen was crowned and we finished the rodeo strong! Thank you to the ladies of the Morgan County Queen Committee for all the work that they do and that they did for me while I was in town! Along with the Morgan County Sherriff, Anna Franklin for all that she does for the community with the rodeo!
The next weekend adventure brought me to the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky! I traveled five hours across the state to the beautiful mountains where Hindman is located. Most people have no clue where Hindman is, but when you say Hazard, Kentucky it gets their attention! It was wonderful to be able to stay in my home state with all the UK Wildcat Fans! Go Cats! The main event located in this county is the Knott County Trail Ride. Horses and riders come from all over to take part in this week long event! In fact, when I arrived in town, there were already campers in line for the ride that was two weeks away! This is the first year that Knott County is having a rodeo and it’s in conjunction with their annual trail ride. Thank you to the Knott County Tourism for bringing me into their side of the state to help promote the rodeo! I visited six schools in two days, thanked many sponsors of the rodeo, and visited the nursing home.
Looking back, my favorite part of my trip to Eastern Kentucky was my visit with the residents of the nursing home. When I arrived, the staff informed me that because I was coming to visit, they had “rodeo day” with the residents! Everyone was all dressed accordingly with hats, bandannas, and western attire! One particular gentleman was dressed just like he walked out of a western tv set! He had his hat on, vest, super fancy boots, and walked with a cane. As he walked by he told me he fell off his horse which was the reason for the cane! Clearly, he wanted to make us all laugh! I loved visiting with everyone and talking about rodeo and what Miss Rodeo USA is. I took pictures and signed autographs for every resident that was in the dining hall! By attending this event, I know how much of a difference it makes in the lives of others who can’t physically get out to the appearances where I would be. It was amazing to brighten their day and I truly enjoyed being a part of it!
My last thank you goes to Danny Laferty with Knott County Tourism for being my tour guide for the two days that I was there! Thanks for all that you do for the county and community! And thank you to Hindman Settlement School for allowing me to stay at your settlement! On the way out of Knott County, I grabbed some sweet strawberries to bring home to my mom! It’s the little things in life that make others the happiest! Hope everyone had a Happy Easter with family and friends!