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!
Miss Rodeo USA 2019