Under the bright lights and buzzing atmosphere at the Lazy E Arena on Championship Sunday of the International Finals Rodeo, when I was being announced a world champion, I knew I had made it.
“The 2020 Miss Rodeo USA… We will set history again… The first from the state of Kansas…” The crowd erupted and you couldn’t hear the words coming from the announcer in the arena. My biggest dream had come true; I had just become a national titleholder!
I kept waiting for someone to pinch me. “Is this really happening?” I thought, as I was crouching down for the 2019 Miss Rodeo USA, Heather Morrison, to put the iconic crown upon my cowboy hat. Now sporting a new sash and crown, Sarah Kelsey with Rhinestone Lipgloss was handing me a pair of earrings to wear for photos. I was officially being crowned the 55th Miss Rodeo USA. My mind was a complete whirlwind and I was trying to keep myself from shaking. There were no tears streaming from my eyes, because in my mind I had visualized this exact moment time and time again. Although, until it became a reality, I wasn’t convinced I had made it. Let me take you back to pageant week.
This was the first pageant I had ever competed in where I didn’t know any of the other ladies. That alone was a bit nerve racking, but from the moment I met all the contestants I knew this week of grueling hours and endless judged events would be much more enjoyable because of all the great attitudes and friendly personalities. My roommate Valerie Preston was so sweet, kind, and not to mention very supportive! She was first to get up each day and when I finally said my first words in the morning she was quick to reply with a chipper morning greeting. We then would all meet up in the hall and start the day with interviews. We passed the time between interviews with rounds of “Go Fish,” quizzing each other on potential questions, and watching Jordan Berry and Lily Caradine perform synchronized TikTok dance moves. We took turns getting to know each other as well. We found out Rachel Jackson, who we all called Pearl, was an outrider (look it up it IS as cool as it sounds.) Sarah Larson’s funny stories from her teaching career always kept the laughter coming too.
As a contestant I really didn’t get to see the other ladies perform, which meant I couldn’t compare how I felt I did to anyone else. I knew from getting to know all the contestants this was going to be a close race to the end and it was! I continually reminded myself to be the thing I knew best, and that was to be myself. I always made sure I stayed true to that. Each lady brought a unique quality to the table and frankly, I felt bad for the judges because ultimately, they had the toughest jobs. During the week, at the IPRA Ladies Luncheon I was excited the crowd chose my sunflower adorned shirt as the winner of the State Shirt Fan Favorite Award. The goal was for each contestant to showcase her home state by decorating a white Ariat shirt. This meant the most to me because I hand painted my outfit for this specific event. Winning a category that directly linked my skills to my future business was just the icing on the cake.
I would like to thank those specifically who helped me get to this competition. First off, thank you to the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo for trusting me to represent my hometown and their rodeo. Without you, I would not be where I am today. Secondly, I want to thank my family, who stuck behind me as I jumped at one more shot to be an ambassador for the sport of rodeo. Finally, a thank you to Lazy P Creations, Missouri Sewing Machine Company, Blocker Hay and Cattle, Junction City Rodeo Association, EZ Ration Hay Processors/RCMR Inc., CPRA Pageant, and Ranchy Bar B for being longtime supporters of my journeys.
This year I am looking forward to traveling places I haven’t been before… the South! Just a fair warning, I tend to pick up any accent I am around. So, by the end of the year who knows what my voice will sound like! Also, be prepared to see sunflowers in my wardrobe as you know this Kansas girl doesn’t make it far without a nod to her home state. I am extremely proud to come from “The Sunflower State” and I want the world to know!
As I strapped on a pair of Jody Lumley red chaps that flawlessly matched my Lazy P Creations vest, I couldn’t help but feel completely in my element. After adjusting the stirrups on a 5 Star Quarter Horse named Jane (something this short girl always has to do,) I swung a leg over and patiently waited for my name to be called for my first lap as Miss Rodeo USA 2020. I entered and made my way around the arena as the announcer said, “Say hello to the beautiful Brooke Wallace. She will be our official ambassador for the International Professional Rodeo for the next year.” I already know this year will fly by, but I hope to share every adventure, funny moment, and give you what no other queen has given before. This year will be legendary.
Miss Rodeo USA 2020
Brooke’s Bloopers: I plan to share all the funny things I stumble upon this year, (pun intended) and knowing me it will not be hard to fill this section. The first blooper of my year took place the night I was crowned. We were busy shuffling vehicles for me to drive after my family ventured home. I was left with my aunt’s vehicle that didn’t have automatic lights. Well, I didn’t remember to turn them off, so the following morning I was surprised to find my car’s battery had died. Thanks to a quick jump on a brisk morning, we were off to the Lazy E for my first photo shoot!
Queen’s Corner: I will be giving tips, hacks, and tidbits throughout the year to my fellow sash sisters! My first tidbit is regarding a pageant situation. Even when each event doesn’t go exactly how you planned; you can’t let that affect your performance the rest of the week. I experienced this during the week of the Miss Rodeo USA pageant. If I had focused on all the little things that I felt didn’t go as well, I might not have performed how I did in the other events. Remember, a pageant is made up of many points, so one little flub might not affect you. However, you can’t let that little flub affect the next part of the pageant. Keep becoming the best version of yourself!
Statistically Speaking: Throughout the year I will be keeping records such as miles traveled, horses ridden, states visited, and rodeos attended. These stats will be posted to this section every blog.