As I flew into Charleston, I was back in South Carolina for the Moncks Corner Pro Rodeo! This trip marked the first time I have taken to the skies as Miss Rodeo USA. My travels so far have been many highway miles, but this journey was way more realistic via airline! The best part of this adventure was that my aunt decided she needed to take a little vacation and came along with me. We both have mutual friends in the area and so naturally it was very easy to make plans to see them all. This was especially fun because I typically travel by myself everywhere I go. I was incredibly excited to have someone along for the trip, especially a family member!
The main event was the Moncks Corner Pro Rodeo with Ken Treadway Rodeo Company. I have had the honor of working with Ken and Pam at other rodeos throughout this year so naturally we all fell into a normal rodeo routine. Well mostly that is. Yet again, we were met with a very muddy arena and no sun in the forecast. As we were discussing my duties for the rodeo I requested a little bit of a different job from Ken. In a slightly joking matter I asked if I could untie calves and he said, “Girl it is way too muddy out there, you’ll get stuck in the mud!” I countered his rebuttal with the fact that I already duct taped my boots on my feet. We then came to the conclusion that he would let me help the next night. I sure didn’t forget my request and the next night you better believe I was ready to go when the action went down to the timed event end for tie-down roping. I unfortunately was wearing a white long sleeved shirt that night and wondered if I would be able to get through the event without getting mud anywhere on me. Sure enough, I managed to not get one spec of brown on that white shirt.
Along with my normal duties of leading the grand entry and signing autographs I had a special job at the Moncks Corner Pro Rodeo. I had the honor of escorting a well-known community military leader. He served in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. He was also awarded a silver star and two purple hearts during his years of service. In all of my time as a rodeo ambassador, this is the first opportunity I have had the honor to do anything of this manor. It is hard to put into words the feeling of standing out in the arena with a gentleman who did so much for our country. Clarence “Mac” McGee was a very humble and grateful for being honored both performances. It is people like that we need more of. He never asked for recognition or to be thanked but he definitely deserved every bit of it.
While in The Palmetto State, I got to meet up with some neighbors from the north. Miss Rodeo North Carolina-Taylor King, Teen Miss Rodeo North Carolina-Madison Smith, Jr. Miss Rodeo North Carolina-Lila Trogdon, and former Jr. Miss Rodeo North Carolina-Presley Gibbs, all traveled to South Carolina for a chance to meet in person with my aunt and I! We all went to a local attraction, Cyprus Gardens, where we were able to go out and explore the swamps in our own personal paddle boats in hopes to see a gator or two. Between all the North Carolina queens and the Jr. Moncks Corner Pro Rodeo Queen-Ashley Housand, we had a full paddle boat! We were quite the sight to see if you can imagine a boat full of rodeo queens with little paddling skills. I won’t say how many trees we ran into but it was more than one. From my experience it is much easier to ride a horse than steer one of those boats. We did end up seeing a gator and we managed to take a handful of awesome swamp pictures in full rodeo queen attire. It was an exciting day of adventure and making friendships that will last a lifetime!
To top off a very exciting few days close to the coast I was surprised with a birds-eye view of the rodeo arena! Right before the final performance in Moncks Corner we zipped over to the nearest open field and climbed into a helicopter! We then went straight up into the air faster than I could even get my phone camera open. Flying back and forth over the arena was quite the adrenaline rush and I couldn’t believe how long the line was for spectators to get in! Keep in mind this was hours before the rodeo even started. I have been in many planes over the years but it was my first time in a helicopter.
Between helicopter rides, swamp tours, and playing with pet raccoons I would say my time in South Carolina was well spent. I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunities this year has brought. I continue to be blessed by meeting new people and reuniting with others I have met along the way. For years to come, I will remember this weekend in full detail. I mean really, who gets the chance to feed raccoons mini donuts on a regular occasion. I’ll check that off the bucket list!
Miss Rodeo USA 2020
Brooke’s Bloopers: If you are a Toy Story fan you might recall Woody’s pull sting sound effect saying, “There’s a snake in my boot!” Well I have one better than that! While in South Carolina, I can literally say there was a snake on my hat, a 10 pound python to be exact. This was no accident because in the name of getting cool photos I jumped at the chance to have a snake wrap around my hat and crown. I willingly asked the snake guy to put this snake on my cowboy hat. I will say the look on his face was priceless when I told him I wasn’t kidding. A pinky promise might have been exchanged to endure I wasn’t going to freak out if in fact he did let the snake slither its way around my head.
Queens Corner: With fewer opportunities to attend schools this year I urge rodeo queens to still take the time to see if you can prerecord a video that can be played at schools and sign autograph sheets to send to your local elementary schools. My goal is to send 2,000 autographs to schools in my area before the end of the year! I have struggled with not having the opportunity to teach about rodeo and the western industry in local schools and this is how I plan to bridge the gap that we have experienced with the pandemic this year.
There was an extra “bam” in my trip to ‘Bama this time around. I will get to that later though. For now, let’s cover the sweet time I had and all the sweet tea! While my home isn’t in Alabama part of me feels a little bit of home there for one very important reason, the Terry’s. It just so happens that northern Alabama was on my route on multiple occasions and Marsha and Keith Terry have opened up their home to me time and time again. The Terry’s have definitely made me feel at home while on the road!
One evening Marsha comes in and asks if I could help with something but I didn’t quite hear what she said. I throw on my tennis shoes and head out the door to realize I wasn’t quite dressed for the occasion of throwing square bales! I jump right in and load up about 80 bales with a handful of folks. It went pretty quickly and after we were done Keith asked why I had shiny tennis shoes on and I said well I didn’t know what we were doing! I think that was part of the reason it feels like home because that is exactly the kind of thing I’m used to doing!
While preparing for the Lawrence County Cattlemen’s Rodeo, I had a few different appearances to make! I was able to chat with the 4-H students in the county about my platform, “Dream Bigger!” We chatted on Zoom about how to set goals and manage the steps to really push ourselves to dream bigger. I was really impressed with the interaction each student made! Along with that, I had the honor of dropping off autograph sheets and rodeo tickets to all the 4th graders in the county! Let me tell you what, that was a lot of signing of autograph sheets but it was well worth the time to be able to hand out a special surprise to students in Lawrence County.
If you have been following along with my blogs you have heard about me carrying huge American flags in the opening of many rodeos. Well, I obviously didn’t really know what a big flag looked like. I soon found out what a really huge flag was in Moulton. Think if you were to take the measurement from the ground to the top of my hat while sitting on the horse and then double that. You then would get the measurement to the top of the flag. Yes, that is no exaggeration. I have never been so nervous to carry a flag in the opening until this very moment. What didn’t help the situation was I was on a high energy barrel horse that was prancing around as I’m about to go into the arena. That didn’t help the situation by any means. Luckily, she settled just fine as I entered the arena and we had a flawless opening. My arm sure was sore the next day from holding up such a ginormous flag.
Again, if you have been following along in Brooke’s blog world you might recall a little story from Huntsville, Arkansas. I found myself in a very familiar situation at the Lawrence County Cattlemen’s Rodeo. This is where the “bam” to my time in Alabama came from. I was riding a very well trained calf horse for the opening. He warmed up like a champ and wasn’t afraid of the flag at all. Well as I loped out into the mucky, muddy, and deep arena this horse decides to add some theatrics to the performance. Yet again, I start out the saddle bronc riding and continue to ride this horse out as he crow hops around half of the arena. I remember right as he started throwing an attitude, I thought to myself this can’t be happening again. Well sure enough I found myself hanging on for dear life but managed to stay on this time around unlike in Huntsville! The one common denominator of these two events was the amount of mud in the arena. Each time the horse was a great horse, I just managed to catch them on the wrong day. I have come to the conclusion that I am an expert at turning a broke horse into a bronc horse!
Miss Rodeo USA 2020
Brooke’s Bloopers: The bronc horse didn’t even make the bloopers this blog because I have an even better one! I was helping hang banners the Friday morning of rodeo weekend and some of these banners were to be hung on the wire above the bucking chutes. The wire was a pulley system that could be let down to reach so you could climb on the chutes to zip tie the banners on. As I was doing that and climbing along the fence line I abruptly feel my feet slip out from under me. I scramble to grab something to hang on to. What had happened was I was standing on a gate and it had come unchained and swung open. So there I was with my arms and legs wrapped around the top bar of the panel, like a koala bear, as the gate was wide open to the pen of bulls. I just hang there for a second to make sure the commotion didn’t disturb the bulls and send them flooding out the gate. When the coast was clear I reached for the gate with my foot and all was good. I chained the gate and turned around to the pickup men just about to bust a gut over the stunt I just pulled. We all had a good laugh and I managed to finish hanging the banners without any more issues.
Queens Corner: Autographs are such an important part to the role of a rodeo queen. Nothing makes me happier than receiving a message from a parent of a child that has continued to talk about their signed picture days after the rodeo! It is a good reminder to take the time at each event to offer your time to sign autograph sheets no matter how many different duties you have that evening. There have been rodeos where I have signed pre rodeo, mid rodeo and also post rodeo autograph sheets and there is always someone who might not of gotten one if I hadn’t have been there. Just think if you were a kid that didn’t get one because the queen only signed autograph sheets after the rodeo and you didn’t get to stay the whole time.