The traveling has officially begun! I am so excited for all the adventures that this year is going to bring! After my coronation ceremony, I immediately began setting up plans for the following weekend. I left Kentucky on a Thursday and headed to Arkansas to spend a day with the one and only, Sherry Smith! Upon arrival, I quickly hurried and got ready to take the perfect picture. Which so happened to be on a windy hill, overlooking a beautiful lake, with the sun setting perfectly in the background, in 24 degree weather, and smiling like it was sunny and 75! Arkansas was beautiful and so are Sherry’s photography skills! She worked hard in the cold weather to make sure the photo was perfect, and it was!
Friday arrived and we were ready for another photo shoot! This one in particular was taken to highlight the sponsorship of Ariat, Horsemanship sponsors, and a few others that have so generously donated their time and funds to the Miss Rodeo USA Association. I loved the clothing provided by Ariat that keeps me ready to work and comfortable at the same time. We had the opportunity to use a couple horses in the photos, along with tack that I am so thankful to have won. Without the support of sponsors such as the Woods Family, Ariat, Smneek Family, American Hat Company, Sherry Smith Photography, and many others, I know the association would not be what it is today. Thanks to you all for all that you do and have done for many queens before me.
My time in Arkansas was over and I headed West to Oklahoma! It had been almost a month since I had crossed the Oklahoma state line and I was so excited to travel back! Now most of my friends know that I have a terrible sense of direction would never believe this, but I made it to my director’s house, Jamie, the first time without calling for help! Yes, I know, its hard to believe! By the time this year is up, I will be better at road directions than flying navigations! The following day, Saturday, brought me to another amazing photo shoot with Jenny’s Pics. Talk about having some fun, we drove around to different places in Lindsay, Oklahoma to find the perfect background before the sun set. We made it to a farm where I learned it wasn’t simple to cross cattle crossings in heels, and that the three minute rule in the pageant for changing outfits, was legit. We moved downtown to capture the historic brick walls of Lindsay and had one more stop to make before our session was done.
The airport. The night before an idea had crossed my mind, I wanted to take a picture standing in the middle of a runway with the sun setting behind me. Pretty random, right? For those that don’t know my aviation history, here’s the scoop. I started flying with my dad at a young age. It was our family tradition of going out on Sunday afternoons to the airport to take a flight around the patch, as we call it. At 16, I became a student pilot and started taking lessons from instructors to obtain my Private Pilot’s License. Although I am still considered a student pilot (because I put my education as first priority), I have many memories of heading to the airport to fly with my Dad. Eventually I soloed before I turned 18 and have been flying ever since. My plan is to finish my pilot’s license after my Miss Rodeo USA reign ends. So going to the airport was nothing strange to me. In fact, I knew we could just walk out stand on the runway, listen for planes, and take photos. Jamie and Jenny, not so much for them! After some “believe me, it’s okay, just run when you hear an airplane” jokingly pep talk, we made it out just fine and managed to snap a few of the coolest photos you will ever see!
I spent another few days in Oklahoma before heading to back to the bluegrass state of Kentucky. Just last week, I made an appearance at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Rodeo and agriculture go hand in hand and it seemed fitting to visit the largest farm show in the United States. I talked to many different agriculture professionals about what Miss Rodeo USA is and how I am not only the face of IPRA, but of agriculture as well.
My next appearance took me to Cullman, Alabama where I was honored to be asked to be a part of the judging team for the Miss West Point Rodeo Queen Pageant. I spent the day with Dodie Rogers, the daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, along with Travis Owen, a professional bull rider of 15 years. It was such an experience to have the opportunity to meet them both and have a part in choosing the next advocate to represent the sport in which we love, rodeo.
There is never a dull moment in the life of Miss Rodeo USA and I look forward to every memory that is yet to come! Thanks again to all the dedicated supporters and sponsors of the Miss Rodeo USA Association!
I cannot believe that is has been two weeks already since I started my journey as Miss Rodeo USA! Time is flying by and I know this year will too! Since coronation in Oklahoma City, I was able to come home and start preparing for my Coronation Fundraiser. It has been crazy (fun) around here visiting people, places, and sponsors. One of the first things I did when I arrived back home, was take some time to go visit the Mayor of Madisonville, Kentucky. I also made other stops to visit the Judge Executive, local sponsors, and met as many people as I could!
Coming from a non-rodeo town, it has been exciting to tell everyone what Miss Rodeo USA is. What better way to do that than do school visits?! I have had so much fun visiting schools and watching the students walk in to find someone standing there in a hat and “pretty jewelry” as they call it! To watch their faces light up and eyes fill with excitement has truly been a blessing to me. I’m learning that the community, students, and little children love to hear about all aspects of rodeo and it is amazing to be a role model for them. As part of my school visits, I like to give a little insight to what happens in a rodeo. I encourage students to get involved by asking questions, participating in the pony races, and voicing what they focus on and aspire to become.
In the past two weeks, I have also attended community meetings, dived further into becoming more involved with my community, and worked to plan my coronation fundraiser. It was just last night, February 4th, that my ceremony was held. First of all, thanks to all my sponsors, family, and friends for helping to make this event happen and be successful. In attendance, there were 120 supporters there to participate in the evening fun. A meal was provided by the amazing Brother’s BBQ of Madisonville, and entertainment was by Chris Knight! Knight is also from my little town of Slaughters, Ky and it was great to have him provide the music for the evening. After the music, we had a little live auction fun and auctioned off some wonderful cakes and desserts! Most were donated by Sissy’s Café which was voted best dessert in town! Overall, the evening was wonderful and I am so thankful for the support that everyone has showed me.
As for the future, I am already planning to head back to Oklahoma this week and couldn’t be more excited to meet sponsors and have a little fun doing photo shoots! This journey has just begun and I can’t wait to make the most of it representing the IPRA!
Miss Rodeo USA
Follow the adventures of Miss Rodeo USA 2017 Brittany Howard as she travels the country representing the IPRA. Check back often for updates and new blogs!