Pawnee, Oklahoma not Prue, Oklahoma apparently my GPS was confused on my way to the rodeo in Pawnee, because I was as lost as lost can get! I punched the address into the GPS and headed down the road on my way to make the first portion of the Pawnee Bill Memorial Rodeo Queen Pageant, well little did I know that I was not going to make it in time. For those of you who know me know how much I can’t stand to be late! As I was lost in this town called Prue I stopped a local to ask where the rodeo was. The gentleman that I spoke to knew nothing about a rodeo, he had suggested that I call the police department as they know all the roads in the area and would be able to help me get to where I needed to go. I pulled over, whipped out my phone and dialed the local police department number that I had found on Google. A very nice man named Dennis helped me, he asked where I was and I explained. He quickly informed me that I needed to get out of there as it was not a good part of town, he gave me directions that I wrote down on the back of one of my autograph sheets. I soon learned that I still have a good 70 miles to go before I would be at the rodeo. Of course when I showed up I was late and had missed part of the pageant. Everyone there was so nice and understanding. We went on to continue with the pageant and I was able to meet all of the girls and even got to see one of my fellow Miss Rodeo USA contestants, miss Morgan Riggs! PS a huge congrats to her as she was crowned Miss Pawnee Bill Memorial Rodeo Queen! It came time to go to the rodeo and we started off the first night with queen runs. I was missed because Monty had forgot I was there or something but that’s ok because he announced me when I came in while carrying the American flag. I was very honored to ride alongside the drill team and carry the flag! I worked the arena all night long and would help Rod the pick up man chase back and clear the pen! It was a blast getting to ride several different horses that weekend. Not only did I get to ride a few of the Hampton Rodeo Companies horses but I also rode a few of Rod’s horses as well! During both nights of the rodeo I was able to work the arena along with Rod, I always enjoy working with him and getting to ride some new horses!
As things had come to a close for the Pawnee rodeo the excitement had just started! As I was riding through the arena that first night a strange man had hollered at me from outside of the arena, “Hey Heather, how’s it going?” I had no idea who he was and just replied with a quick and short answer. I had asked everyone there who he was and how he knew my name. My first thought was someone had put him up to it and was giving me a hard time. When the rodeo was over I was on my way out of the arena when this same man walked up to me and the horse and said, “You don’t recognize me do you?” Of course I did not recognize him, turns out he went to school with me all the way back in Iowa and was in the same grade as my sister. We used to show cattle together! What a small world as soon as I realized it was Kale I knew who he was! I just had to mention it because at the time it was a really funny story!
Blue Ridge, oh Blue Ridge, Georgia! What an experience that was! The first day there Justin Hedrick and I spent the entire day going to schools and visiting kids as well as going to sponsor visits! Justin made the perfect clown for his first time ever being a step in rodeo clown! He even let me help with his rodeo clown makeup. I made sure to tell him to powder it that it would be a long day and it would not last all day. He didn’t believe me at first but he soon made his way over to the stock trailer and pulled some baby powder out of the flank bag and threw some on his face. I had never laughed so hard in my life because he hit himself in the face while he did it! Once we got to the schools we had a blast with the kids and interacting with them about the rodeo! Justin had what he called a “woo ball” every time the ball was in the air the kids could scream and make as much noise as they wanted to but once it was back in his hand they had to be silent. The kids loved it!
The following morning, Friday morning Kevin the president of the rodeo committee and I got up bright and early and did a radio interview, once that was over we drove across town and did a TV interview. We then headed out to the rodeo grounds where we would put on a morning rodeo for the special needs kids! That was an absolute blast! I opened up the performance carrying the American flag! Once I was done with that I would get to run barrels on the pick up horse and then I was somehow talked into doing a cartwheel. When Heath the Dancing Cajun rodeo clown had talked all of the kids into asking me to do one I could just not turn them down. So I did it and I did not lose my hat!! Both nights of the rodeo went off with a bang! It was a blast and we had some great contestants and the crowds both nights were amazing! I had an absolute blast at the rodeo and meeting everyone there!
As I close out this blog please know that there are so many exciting things coming in the future! I am heading to some rodeos that have never had a Miss Rodeo USA before and traveling to some states that I never expected to go to all year! Of course Canada is coming up as well! Stay tuned and follow my year as Black Betty the mobile home and I are still seeing lots of miles!
After spending some time in the Oklahoma area it was time for me to head out of Oklahoma, but just for a short time! I left Oklahoma and made my second stop in Arkansas this year! It’s crazy because it was like I had been there before. Well, I sure had been, I spent a weekend in Huntsville back in May when I went out there for the memorial rodeo! Of course getting to Arkansas was not going to be as easy as I had planned! I spent a day or two in Lawton on the military base with my sister who I had not seen in a long time! While leaving the base I was involved in a car accident! No worries though everyone involved was ok and no one was hurt, just black betty the mobile home! Betty was still drivable, just a little rough around the edges and did not drive as straight as she once did! The police officer was very nice as well, while writing up the accident report he informed me that I needed to put down a job, well of course I stated that my “job” was Miss Rodeo USA because it is! He smirked, he then came down to the part where he was to write me a citation for the accident, he asked if I had proof of who I was, meaning Miss Rodeo USA. I pulled out my crown and my buckle to prove myself, he also asked what my schedule was going to be like for the next several weeks. After going through the long list of rodeos and states that I would be in and out of he laughed and said, “Just as I thought, there’s no way you'll make it to court on that day, looks like I’ll just have to let you off with a verbal warning!” I had always been told that sometimes the crown can get you out of a sticky situation, never did I think I was going to have to use it!
I made the trip to Huntsville, after my long and very stressful day I had finally made it safe and sound! I pulled into the rodeo grounds and immediately recognized the area! I loved going to the Sky High Arena, it was basically on top of a mountain. Really, it was though, I remember thinking about how lucky I was to not have to haul a trailer all the way up those windy, curvy, and very steep hills! The committee welcomed me with open arms and had me settled into my host home in no time! The following day we had sponsor visits and radio interviews, a little bit of everywhere we went it seemed like! I loved that we started off every morning with coffee and good food! I traveled all across the county with a couple of really awesome gals that I had a ton of fun with and were so cool! I met a man by the name of AT Smith, he would sit there and tell me stories of the days when he grew up. AT talked about his wife who he had loved for years and how they never had children but they were so involved with the community and how he had given back time and time again! I really enjoyed that ma and everything he had to say!
We kicked off both nights of the rodeo where I was blessed to ride one of Hampton Rodeo Company’s horses and was able to carry the American flag! I would get to lead the grand entry and help out in the arena through out the night chasing back cattle and helping in anyway that I could! That was really my first time getting to work for the Hampton’s, it was an absolute blast! The entire family was so kind to me and very helpful! Anytime that I had a question they never hesitated to answer and help out!
I was able to stay in Huntsville with my host home, who I had a blast with as well! The next stop on my journey was to Sallisaw, Oklahoma and it was just right down the road so they allowed me to stay and hang out! They took me water skiing and showed me around the farm! They were a blast and I really enjoyed getting to know them! Once I left Sallisaw bound I was! Thankfully I made it in one piece and it was one of the shortest drives I had been on all year! I pulled into the arena that night and met the committee chairman Mr. Marley! He was so nice, he gave me the to do list and informed me of all of the duties for the week! After showing me around the arena I checked into my hotel! The hotel I stayed at, well lets just say that it has trumped every hotel I have ever stayed in!! When they found out I was staying they made me homemade biscuits and gravy and not to mention they always checked on me! Really, spent a lot of me free time at the hotel in their lobby hanging out with them! Some of the most kind hearted people I have ever met! They will forever be apart of my rodeo family!
Well poor Black Betty the mobile home had herself another run in, literally. As I was leaving Charlie’s Chicken, which was one of the sponsor visits I went to that day she got hit. Someone had backed into me and Black Betty now has another big eye sore to add to her list. Woops! I then had to leave her at the hotel and the dealership in town who sponsored the rodeo was so kind and let me use a Jeep to get around town for the rest of the weekend! I was more than thankful for them! As it came time for the rodeo Matt McGee the announcer and I planned out the nightly events and had everything lined up! Sean, the pick up man brought me one of his trusty horses, Bob! He rode really well and was awesome to all weekend!
As the weekend came to an end I tried to remember all of the positives, which really means I tried not to stress about my two car accidents in one week. Again, Woops! Everything works out and everything happens for a reason! I had a blast both in Arkansas and in Oklahoma! I was not only around some amazing people but I got to do what I love! As I leave you with this update on my journey don’t forget to remember to look at the big picture, to enjoy every moment in life and to remember to be thankful and count your blessings!
Things sure have been crazy since I last dropped in and told you all about my adventures. The past several weeks have been so busy and there have been so many miles put on old black betty the mobile home! You already heard how I left Shawnee bright and early Thursday morning and drove all day just to make it in time for the rodeo in Columbia, Tennessee. Well good news, I made it even in plenty of time for the rodeo to start. I pulled in to see some of my favorite rodeo family, I always enjoy working with the Oubre Rodeo Company! We kicked off that Friday morning with a radio interview. That radio broadcasting room was by far the fullest I had ever seen one in my life. Bubba Oubre the stock contractor, Alan Morehead the rodeo announcer, the sheriff and a few of his fellow officers, and myself filled the walls of the radio station, not to mention the radio guys themselves, now that was a full house! We all had a last talking about the rodeo and of course giving each other a hard time. After the radio show we headed down to a local diner and had breakfast. I promise you as Miss Rodeo USA, you will literally never starve! Everywhere you go they manage to feed you well, and a lot of it if you choose to eat that much!
We kicked off the rodeo that Friday night and for some reason I always get roped into helping out with the entertainment during the rodeo. This time ropes were no joke as I was asked to help Rider Kisner with his acts. The first act of the night was a little life fearing as he cracked whips around my head and body. I would hold a rose out of my mouth and he would crack it in half from a distance with a whip.He then proceeded to blind fold himself and would crack whips around me. To say that I was slightly nervous was an understatement! The second act that I helped with was much less dangerous on my end and I was thankful for that! I would lead the trusty pick up horse into the arena and park him where Rider could easily get to! I would stand holding the horse and ride would make a large community loop that would swing around the horse and myself, all while Rider would stand on the back of the horse! It was by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen!
Even though Columbia, Tennessee had come to and end I was sad but I knew I was headed somewhere where I would be seeing some familiar faces, and for that I was thrilled! Off to Ada, Oklahoma I went! It was a pretty long drive and I felt as though black betty the mobile home was really starting to get mad with all of her hard earned miles but we made it! I reached Ada and was welcomed with open arms! Some of my favorite rodeo family was there where they were hosting the Ken Lance Memorial Rodeo queen pageant! I was honored to get to be apart of it as I would get to mcee some of the pageant. While there I ran into DJ and Trisha Shields as they were two of the judges for the pageant, oh and of course not to mention Georgianne Abo Gillman was there as a judge too! Talk about having a blast! That Thursday night before the rodeo started we were able to work the arena and get some riding time in.! By far one of the best times I had as I got to ride one of the girls new head horses! Man oh man do I miss getting on a nice rope horse, flying out of the box and chasing down a calf! The only thing I was missing, was my rope!
The rodeo itself was awesome, and the host family that I stayed with was even more awesome! Her name never really stuck with me, she reminded me so much of my late grandmother that I just called her Granny all weekend and the name stuck! My sister even came to the rodeo to visit me! Having my sister come to my rodeo meant the world to me since I almost never get to see her and since we started rodeoing together it was really bittersweet! During the rodeo, I spent a lot of time riding in the arena and working the stock! During my time in the arena I was able to share it with a gal named Kade, she came all the way from South Dakota to the rodeo! Kade is one of the Indian queens from the north and we had a blast together! I could not get enough of her northern accent! Now I understand why people always tell me I have an accent and laugh when I talk to them!
Another rodeo had come and gone, and now here we are thinking about how my year as Miss Rodeo USA is over half way complete! This hit me the other day and I didn’t realize how disappointing it would be to think that it will be over soon. But I will say, I am living my year to the fullest and I am going everywhere that I can and to me that’s the only way to do it! In the end I will have no regrets! Well I am off to the next one folks! I sure hope you enjoyed this blog and stay tuned to hear about my current adventures!
As I drove to Memphis, Tennessee I wondered what it would be like. Memphis is such a big town and known all over the US, I have never really been to a town that big so of course I was a little nervous! As I pulled into town that morning I immediately seen familiar faces, which is always so nice to see! We all piled into several trucks and made our way to our first stop of the Memphis rodeo, the St. Judes Hospital. I tend to get very uneasy about going to hospitals. First of all they always smell funny, second of all, every time I have ever been to one it’s not for a good reason, and lastestly because it breaks my heart to see people having to go through pain or any misfortune. Once we all reached the hospital we were given “the tour.” This tour consisted of finding out about how the hospital came about and how every child is being taken care of and that no one is ever left behind for any reason. We learned about how they would fly in patients from other countries or even across the US to come and get the proper treatment! While at the hospital Colt 45, the rodeo clown had ran into a family that was being treated there, the family is from his hometown and the little girl is basically a hero in their town! We all stopped and talked to the family and really enjoyed how her face would light up when all of the cowboys and cowgirls would hug her or high five her! Before the tour was over we ran into another young man who everyone called, “The Bossman.” He was so sweet and we had been told that he received treatment that day and was feeling a little under the weather but he was not shy at all when it came to getting a picture taken with us! The children made the entire experience worth every second of being there!
During the rodeo I was able to ride two different horses! I started off the night on the pick man, Tom’s horse Geranimo, I then switched and rode a horse named Arnold. Arnold was a very pretty blue roan that was very good at his job! I was able to help in the arena throughout the night and I also had some great help. Dallas who is the son of Jim, the stock contractor came in and helped me chase back both nights of the rodeo! Dallas and I had a great time working the arena and getting to ride some awesome horses!
When the rodeo was over Saturday night in Memphis I had to pack up and head straight down to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the IFYR 27! I was very excited to get there and to be apart of the IFYR. I had heard so many cool things about the event and I could not wait to experience it myself! The drive was about eight hours long, so plenty long for an all night drive! Once in the car and headed down the road I was of course tired but I stuck it out and was able to make it just in time that morning to catch a quick nap and get ready for the first of eleven performances that week!
The first performance was that Sunday evening! Once getting to the arena I met the family who would be there helping me out and taking care of me! They were all so kind! We took off in the golf cart to find a horse for me to use during the rodeo week! By the way Shawnee and the IFYR are golf cart central, I think everyone there owns one and if they don’t they will soon! Either way on our way to locate a horse we found the wonderful Steve Ratchford who was so kind and offered up his horse Scamper for me to use as my fly by horse! I hopped on and rode him around to get a feel for him! I felt as though I was buying a horse and had several to choose from as there were a couple of other people there too who had offered for me to use their horses as well. After the test ride on Scamper we decided he would be perfect for the job! As I took my new trusty horse over to the gate to enter everything was going perfect! I had just been lined up for my first fly by during the IFYR, across the three arenas I went, but not to fast. As Scamper and I entered the arena he had a different idea of fun. Scamper crow hopped across the first arena and into the second arena and before reaching the third we had each other figured out! At the end of the run I passed him off to Steve and laughed with him about how his horse was now warmed up and ready to flag all night! I rode Scamper the rest of the week while I was there and we never had another issue! Scamper was a great horse and lots of fun to ride. Not to mention I had several people laugh about it and tell me how high they scored my ride!
Shawnee was a blast and I hate that I was not able to stay for the entire event but I of course was booked and off to another rodeo! Columbia, Tennessee was my next stop and I left bright and early Thursday morning to be sure to make it in plenty of time!! Well I have to run now as there are many things to do still and this girl could actually use some shut eye! Stay tuned and continue to follow my journey on the road this year! I can’t believe it's half over already! I hope all is well wherever you are and I pray that all of you are enjoying the nice weather we have been having this summer!
Blairsville Georgia was my next stop! I enjoyed getting to see the town as I was informed by some of the locals that we were in the mountains! They really were not kidding as I drove through the town and around the area I noticed that I seemed to take a lot of windy roads and there were plenty of “hills” as I would call them! I pulled in that Thursday night for the saddle club meeting and was able to meet all of the people who had spent countless hours preparing for this event! Everyone was so nice and welcoming! The arena was covered and alongside one of those “hills.” It was a beautiful setting and the arena ground was so nice!
Night number one of the Blairsville Pro Rodeo rolled around and I was thrilled to see the Hedrick family there when I pulled in! It is always so nice to see stock contractors that you know and love so much! I was fortunate enough to use Bullseye, who is Stacey the pick up man’s horse! Bullseye had been there and done that! He was perfectly behaved and we enjoyed the opening ceremonies as we carried the colors of our country and carried sponsor flags throughout the night! The rodeo went smoothly and I had a blast with the crew! At the end of the rodeo we signed autographs for the young fans! I love getting to see all of the smiles and the kids of course!
Night number two of the Blairsville Pro Rodeo started off about the same, except Mark Northall had informed me that I did the introduction WRONG the first night! Woops!! I made a lap and a half around the arena and I was supposed to make two laps. I informed them that I was going to need hand signals, for some reason counting and riding a horse can be a little difficult apparently. So as I prepared to go in with the American flag Danny Hedrick was sure to be there for the hand signals. As I made my first lap Danny leaned over the bucking chutes with one finger in the air and yelled “that’s one lap.” Laughing out loud I made my way around for lap number two. As I turned the corner I was sure to see Danny lean over the bucking chutes one more time holding up two fingers saying, “that’s two laps!” I laughed the entire time I was in the arena! As the night went on everything went just as planned and perfectly until, I went to carry the flag for the Bareback riding event. I took off with my horse and cowboy Tanner Phipps following for his victory lap thought it would be funny to lap the rodeo queen. I guess he was wanting to race. We all got a good laugh about it and I was sure to inform him that he did the victory lap incorrectly! Maybe next time he will get it right!
South Bend, Indiana was a long drive! I left Alabama VERY early that morning for the ten hour drive! As I drove through Indiana I was so thrilled to see shoulders on the side of the road, no trees on the side of the road, corn and bean fields as far as I could see, and two story farm houses! I laughed to myself as I thought of how different things were in the south compared to the Midwest. I had really missed the rich agriculture of the Midwest! While looking at the map of where I was headed I realized that Indiana is a very vertically LONG state. I literally went from the bottom of the state all the way to the top, almost to Michigan! Once I reached my destination I was jumping up and down to see that I was about to attend my first fair rodeo! The local county fair was going on during the same time as the rodeo at the same place! That meant that I got to see all of the livestock that I wanted and I would not be judged for getting googly eyes over some very attractive angus cattle! Ha Ha! The rodeo started off that night with a tribute to the military and we had an awesome crowd! I rode Kevin McElroy, the stock contractors horse, Rony Pony. They said the real name was Shadow but no one would call him that! We carried the American flag and helped chase back cattle and work the arena through out the night! Night number one of the fair rodeo was a success! We then made our way to the fair where I of course ate the not so good for me but super tasty fair food. That may have included fried pickles and Oreos. I just could not help myself! After the fair I went and got some much needed sleep as I had been u very early to make it to the rodeo in time!
The second night of the rodeo was just as amazing as the first night but I got to do things a little differently! I carried our colors again and then handed the horse off the Jim’s granddaughter who would be helping chase back. Braden Tate the rodeo clown had talked me into helping with both of his clown acts for the night. At number one consisted of an obstacle course where I competed against Jaylie and Taycie Matthews! I just knew for sure they were going to beat me. We raced through the course and it was very competitive, we all had a blast as laughed a lot! After the obstacle course I was going to get to drive Braden’s car. This car is a two seated metro with a steering wheel in the trunk. I sat in the trunk of the car with a steering wheel, brake, and what looked like a lawn mower throttle. Driving through the arena in the trunk of the car I prayed that I would not run anyone over as I could not see a thing! I made it through the act and everyone got a good laugh at the dog “who drove the car.”
Well as much as I would love to go on and on about how much fun I have been having I am on to the next one! Stay tuned to see where I go next and what adventure awaits me there! I hope you all have a blessed day!
After the beach I went on to Shady Dale, Georgia which I was so excited for as I was going to get to work with Southern Rodeo Company and Dusty Meyers. I have heard so many wonderful things about both of these people and I could not wait to work with them! A big thank you to Robin Brooks for always checking on me throughout the weekend to make sure I was always ready and good to go! Another thank you to Robin’s son Josh for putting me on a good horse and also checking in to make sure everything was gonna be just fine and of course to his wife Dawn for always making sure I was taken care of! Well, it rained and it poured like I had never seen before. Have you ever seen Forest Gump where it rained sideways and upward and all around? Well that scene pretty much describes the rain in Shady Dale! I was a little bit afraid to see what the arena was going to be like, but to my surprise it was great! We are so thankful for God’s creations and the sand that he has given the world! The arena was full of sand and the groundskeepers did an awesome job at keeping things just right to put on the best rodeo! I seen water sweep in and make rivers through the ground in a matter of minutes. Robin told all of us that, that weekend was going to separate us from the rest and we were going to cowboy up! I really took what he said to heart and thought, he sure is right! It made me think of my family farm back home and how when my father or grandfather have something going on at the farm that can not wait they don’t. No matter the weather if there is a down calf or a momma cow that needs an extra hand they will withstand the weather no matter how bad. This past winter in Iowa it was brutal, negative forties and thirties at times and snow past your knees. My family stuck through it all and made it happen. They did just as Robin talked about and they would cowboy up! Thank you Robin for reminding me of home and for being my rodeo family that weekend! Your a true inspiration to me and I can’t wait to work with you again!
After leaving Shady Dale I got to go “home,” well my home here in Bama! I spent the week with the Terry family as I helped them prepare for their hometown rodeo. Now when I say hometown rodeo we all have one of those right? Well this one was awesome, I literally walked out the front door of the house and there I was, Rodeo Galore! I was right there at the rodeo grounds and ready to go! We spent some time at the LouAllen farms where I met several people and had the chance to talk about the rodeo and farming! My two favorite things! We also went over to the Co-op and met even more people and I passed out tickets and hoped to see many people there. Saturday morning we got up really early and went to a Veterans run, then over to a Veterans ceremony. My heart was so full as I thought of my sister and her being away from home as she is in the US Army. My heart was full and my eyes wanted to fill with tears as we placed metals on each Veteran that stood in front of us as we honored their service! I had never in my life seen something so moving!
That night I went on to the rodeo where I had a blast and was reunited with the Bubba Oubre crew! I always have a blast with them! Kevin of course put me on my favorite grey horse John! Oh and before I forget, I got to do something that was so cool! Mr. Jerry Thornton was the specialty act that weekend with his world famous Andalusian White Stallion, Nervioso. Jerry let me try my hand at his tricks before the rodeo! By the way, I can’t ever say that was a lie as Jerry was sure to get pictures for the proof! I can’t thank Jerry enough for allowing me that experience! I have really had the best experiences and am so blessed to walk in the boots that I do! Before I leave you all as I hate to but I have so much to do before I leave for my next big journey, I wanted to leave you with another quote that I felt was very fitting for my life right now!
My life right now as crazy as it is, “is like a bull in a china cabinet,” this is by Kristi Coggins of Blythewood, SC! Thank you for the good laugh Kristi, you and Buck always had something fun to say or do!
Last minute I was talking to my dear friend Tisha Ross from Arkansas. I was not at the time booked for Memorial Day Weekend. Of course Tisha had other plans after talking to her for a little while which was just fine with me! Tisha has a dear friend who had lost their son in an accident a year ago and they were putting on a rodeo in his memory that weekend. She asked if I would like to be apart of the rodeo. My first thought was ABSOLUTELY! First of all I love rodeo, and about a year ago our rodeo family back home had just been through the exact same experience so I knew that I wanted to be apart of this. As I write this I get the chills and goosebumps as I know there are two cowboys up in heaven watching over us as we ride every weekend nd honor their dreams! After agreeing to be at the First ever Rodeo for Tyler, Tisha booked me a flight to Dallas where I would meet up with her and we would fly into Fort Smith together. My first time ever on a plane was very entertaining! Security was by far the worst part of the entire experience! Once I was on the plane things were just fine! The way home was the best plane ride, they had a TV on the back of the seat so I was able to watch a movie on the way home! I was in shock, but then again I was not as technology has come along way!
Once I got to Arkansas we headed out to see the sights and then we went on to the rodeo. I met some of the most amazing people and they were all so down to earth and kind! I was honored as I was asked to judge the rodeo queen pageant there at the rodeo! There were a total of nine girls in three different age groups! Wow, that was phenomenal to see that many girls come out and want to be successful in life and in the arena! I was so proud to be apart of their journey! The first night of the rodeo was a huge success and there were so many people who came out to support the Rodeo for Tyler! The second day of the rodeo was also a huge success as it was a youth rodeo. I loved getting to see all of the kids coming out to try their hand in the rodeo arena. Our future in the rodeo industry sure is bright! After the rodeo Tisha and Jody took me to the water where we got to do a little water rafting! The water was warm and beautiful, I have never seen water move like that before! We took the kayak out and of course Jody and I had a little race. I was winning until I got caught in a current and flipped mine over! Tisha and Jody had a good laugh and well, I guess I did too! It was one of the best experiences of my year!
South Carolina, was not at all what I expected. It was better! I laugh as I am always on guard as I travel across the US in my car where it seems like I live. Which I do most of the time when I am not going from one hotel to the other! Anyways back to South Carolina, it was beautiful and although I was caught in some crazy traffic vodo I still managed to make it to dinner with Buck and Kristi Coggins. Buck and Kristi are the rodeo committee members for the Blythewood rodeo. I was soon informed that the E was silent in Blythewood, I guess that's why I usually get called a Yankee! I pronounce everything down here in the south wrong it seems like! Pulling in on a Tuesday night means getting to promote the rodeo all week long and getting to know the people your around even better! This is my favorite part! I learned a lot about Buck and Kristi and their beautiful and successful family! Krisiti’s best friend Miss Chris even came to town all the way from Texas to help with the rodeo! Another group of people showed up as well that I really got to know Mr. Don, Mr. Rob and his beautiful wife Megan and there very fun and active son Lucas who is only five! I grew to love all of these people in just a week! Can you imagine if I lived there full time how much fun life would be and how blessed I would be!
We got everyone geared up for the rodeo Thursday night as we kicked off with the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce Cow Patty Bingo. I, well I was a judge, here I am in the middle of the rodeo arena with an audience and four cows as I waited for them all to do their duty. I can say that was a first for me! Friday night was the first night of the rodeo and although the dust flew and you couldn’t really see anyone behind you in grand entry that night it was a blast! I was honored to carry the colors of our country alongside the flag girls of Treadway Rodeo Company! Miss Pam of Treadway made sure that I did everything correctly and was so helpful! When the Saturday performance came along the grounds were even better and the rodeo was still amazing! I had the best time at the rodeo that weekend! I also got to do my first ever queens runs as Miss Rodeo USA 2019 which was an absolute blast! I can’t thank Buck and Kristi enough for all that they have done for me and for becoming apart of my rodeo family!
My next stop was the beach! That’s right I went to the beach and got to see the Ocean. I know I have seen it in Brunswick but this was in a whole different way! Miss Megan and her son Lucas graciously took me around the sights of Charleston where I got to be a tourist for a couple of days before my next big rodeo! There was nothing better than some girl time on the beach and getting to see my first ever dolphin! Also it was just insane to me to look out over Folly Beach and not see land on the other side. It’s a feeling I can not explain!
Don’t forget to stay tuned to hear all about my next adventures! I have some really fun and exciting things coming up in the next several weeks! I may have been spending a lot of time on the water here recently but I am about to be spending even more time in the arena dirt!
When I left you all I was in the car riding around the big town of Athens, Alabama promoting the 37th Annual Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo! I was so blessed and lucky I got to spend so much time with one of my best friends miss Kaitlynn Norman the 2018 Miss Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen! We had an absolute blast running all over the town and filling the world full of the good news! The rodeo was coming to town!! Mr Mike Wentworth also spent quite a bit of time with us as we went to ten schools during the week to talk to the kids and hand out rodeo tickets! It was an interesting experience as Mike had brought a couple of horses along with him! He packed the bouncy horses and the teachers would race one of the rodeo queens across the gym. I tell you what, if that doesn’t get kids riled up and ready for a rodeo I don't know what does! I went to several TV and radio interviews throughout the week. On Thursday I was sad that I knew it was my last day to spend with my Alabama family, but I knew that I would be back! Spending time with Kaitlynn’s family was really a blessing we had a lot of good laughs and I of course ate way to many of Fancy Nancy’s brownies that looked like cupcakes (but tasted like heaven). I still can't believe I left home without the brownies! We watched several world champion athletes compete on Thursday in the slack and enjoyed great day in the sun and no rain! Which was a first for Limestone in about six years! The committee and Kaitlynn and myself all met at the Sheriff's office right before I left town and I was presented with a beautiful bracelet from the committee! They truly become your family when you join the bama crew!
After packing the car and driving through the night, I pulled into Newnan, Georgia. It was pretty late when I got there but I was welcomed with a big smile open doors, and a hug from Miss Elise! I was welcomed into her home for the weekend where I would stay for the 29th Annual Coweta Cattlemen's Rodeo! After getting a few hours of sleep Elise and I got up bright and early and headed down to the local school where I was able to talk to the kids about the rodeo and introduce them to the western way of life! I loved getting to meet the kids, there are always so many fun expressions and of course there are always the wild questions! I can’t tell you how many times this year I have been mistaken as a bull rider! After leaving the school we headed to the Bar W Feed Store where I met the owners Mr Allen and Mrs Leah. I just absolutely loved meeting them and hearing about how they started their business from the ground up and how they have grown to what they are now! Allen and I got to talk some cattle and about the farming industries and the differences from our home states! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about how they do things there in Georgia! Elise and I left the feed store after getting to talk to several customers and of course we enjoyed ourselves some of Leah’s great grilling before heading out. We then went on to the rodeo where I was greeted by the one and only Bubba Oubre, where he introduced me to the pick up men Patrick and Kevin. I then got to hop on Mister John the horse and ride throughout the rodeo! John was a great horse and never once missed a beat! I can’t thank Kevin enough for a great mount!
After two really good nights of rodeo and two wonderful nights of slack my time in Newnan had come to an end. I stayed with Miss Elise for the evening before I left to get to spend some more time with her, she was just an absolute doll and I loved hearing about her cows, and how she had done things there on her farm. Not to mention I would be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy her cooking! Elise always made the most amazing breakfast and of course anything else she cooked was well worth it! As I sit in my hotel room tonight here in South Carolina I think about all of the things I have blessed with. I know you all hear me say that a lot but I don’t really think I can express to you all how lucky I am to get to be on this journey! I am so lucky and God has been so good to me in my life! Please stay tuned to see what else I have been up to. I promise they just get better and better with each and every stop! Before I leave here is one of the more famous phrases I heard while I was in Alabama! “More nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers” -Kaitlynn Norman!
After leaving Evans, Georgia I was finding it hard to leave all of the good people that I had met. I wondered and hoped that the next several people I would be spending time with would be as fun! I of course was shown by the good lord above that with each stop the people get better and better along the way! My next stop was Madisonville, Tennessee, I was very fortunate to be able to spend my time there with the Hedrick family! They are the stock contractors for the rodeo and were beyond good to me! During the rodeo I was so fortunate to get to carry the American flag and present the colors of our country both nights. Meeting lots of new people is one of my favorite things to do and of course I was able to do that as I got to meet and greet with the crowd both nights during the rodeo. We all took lots of photos and I was able to sign a few autographs as well.
The following morning I had to get up early and leave Tennessee to head to the great state of Alabama where my next rodeo family was waiting on me. My first stop though was a little out of the way but more than worth it! I was able to meet up with my good friend Kaitlynn Norman who is the current Miss Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo Queen. She and I had competed with each other last year during the pageant and then again this January at the Miss Rodeo USA pageant. We have become such good friends and she has helped me out on the road tremendously. Once I reached my destination I was then preparing for a wonderful photo shoot with the one and only T.P Creations of Des Moines, Iowa! This worked out perfect to me as she stopped by Alabama to do a fun shoot with me on her way back to Iowa from her adventures! We shot photos in a creek out on a farm here in Athens, Alabama. The landscape of Mr. Allen’s homestead was just absolutely amazing and I am so lucky to have been able to do photos there. The following evening we went out downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Talk about crowded, haha it was just awful! There were so many people but it was wonderful I did not feel out of place one bit. The beautiful scenes of Downton Nashville will make for some amazing photos and I can't wait to see the photos that Tisha will produce! I can't thank her enough for being with me on this journey!
After the photo shoot I spent some much needed time with my Alabama family here in Moulton, Alabama! I sure have missed them and all of their personalities! I have been so blessed to walk in the shoes that I do and to have met the people that I have as I walk down this path in my life! Every morning I wake up and feel so blessed! The good lord above is wonderful, speaking of that he and miss Sara Pro with Lazy P Creations worked some magic for me not long ago! As I was walking out the door for my photo shoot my chaps from Lazy P Creations showed up and were nothing shy of amazing! I was absolutely thrilled with the way that they had turned out! There is so much meaning behind my chaps and they are so bold I just had no idea what they may actually look like, but I assure you that if Sara can imagine it they will be perfect! A huge thank you is in store for her as she is a big part of my life!
Well folks I am currently on the road and headed around town here in Athens, Alabama so I will have to leave you for now. By the way, No, I am not driving! Ha ha! I do have a driver and good company! Thank you all for reading my blog and I hope that you are all following me on social media to see all of the fun things that I am getting to do! Before I leave you I wanted to share something with you! Throughout my year I have been writing down some sayings that I have learned while being in the south! Things that I have never heard before and have had a good laugh about usually. This one comes to you from Evans, Georgia; “So many people you can't stir them with a stick” thank you Susan for the good laugh! God bless you all and thank you for reading! Stay tuned for my next blog!
I have been all over the place since I last wrote you all of you! I hope you are keeping up on social media as I have been having a blast and trying to post as much as I can! My first stop was in Statesboro, Georgia!
Wow, Statesboro was a busy busy week, but it was most certainly fun and memorable all at the same time! I spent the week going to lots of sponsor visits because we all know you can’t have a great rodeo without the best sponsors! I also got to talk to several different civic groups and discuss with them my platform and why it means so much to me! I love hearing the responses from when I talk about my brother and Autism and how it has changed me for the better! I hear a lot of times about how someone else has been touched by Autism or even other disabilities! It really is something to get to be touched by god from one of his many blessing!
One thing that we did in Statesboro that will be a life long memory and well, it might have been my favorite event of that week, of course alongside the rodeo. I was able to see Freedom the eagle! During this experience I was able to pet him and get up close and personal with him! Of course I had my photo taken with him while I was there because he is famous in the town of Statesboro! Freedom is the mascot for the Georgia Southern University. I learned while I was there that Freedom is so famous that he flies over the football stadium at every home football game as well as during the graduation ceremony for the Georgia Southern graduates. Since it was almost graduation time there at Georgia Southern I was lucky enough to get to see Freedom in action! We made our way to the football stadium which was the nicest football field I have ever been on before and Freedom went to work showing off his skills! He flew from the top of the bow at one end of the field to the other and was able to land on hi handlers hand Mr. Steve Heins. I was absolutely blown away at how well he was able to execute this practice, you could tell this was not his first flight!
My next stop was in Evans, Georgia! The few days that I was there were an absolute blast! The committee was so fun to work with and really took me out and about to show me the sights of their town! Susan who took me around the town was so fun, I really got to know her well and it turns out we had a lot in common! Her sister Patty who is an absolute inspiration survived breast cancer and used Proverbs 31:25 during her fight, little did Susan and Patty know but that is my live by quote. Most of you have probably seen it on my belts that I have made and you will soon see it on many other personal items of mine as that is what I try to live by! I was deeply touched and we would soon run across this Proverbs many more times while I was there!
While I was in Evans we ran across this place that is a horse rehabilitation center that is under construction! Susan and I made our way down the long driveway and was lucky enough to meet the owners of the facility! Her name was also Susan and I instantly fell in love with her barn that just so happened to be her dream. Susan, one of the owners of Helios (Which is the name of the barn) is a retired nurse, Army Vet, and also a retired firefighter. She has lived a life far beyond many people and now her dream that she drew out on a napkin has come to life! I felt so blessed to have met them and connect with them! The people you meet while being Miss Rodeo USA is truly a blessing! I have met some of the best people out there and I will get to meet even more as the year goes on!
I am so lucky and blessed to walk in the shoes that I do! I have had a blast up to this point and it’s just the beginning! I can’t wait to see where all I will go the rest of the year and all of the people I will meet on my journey! Don’t forget to keep up with me on social media and to reach out and say hello if you see me on the road! Have the most blessed day and I will be back soon to keep you posted on everything going on this year!
Miss Rodeo USA 2019