“Now let us have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell Him all about our troubles, He will hear our faintest cry and He will answer by and by…” Ironically this was one of the first recordings I ever heard of my great-grandmother Jessie Hanson. I think one of the most unique things about the sport of rodeo and music is that we all have a story to tell and it’s usually one that involves God, Family, and Country.
Last time we met on the rodeo trail, I was in the Ozark Mountains completing one of the most amazing shoot weekends with Sherry Smith. Not only did we capture some amazing photos, but the visiting royalty and I captured some amazing stories and moments in time that I believe set the stage for the next phase of my journey. Of course, the stories were told over some great Mexican food with even better company! Can’t have a rodeo queen gathering without food.
During our visit, we discussed the meaning of purpose and telling your story, even when the able ear is unwilling to listen. It still matters. Your story still matters. I believe what I enjoyed most about this time with my “sash sisters” is that God was at the center of every conversation that took place at that table. Passions, dreams, ideas all fueled and filled with God at the hub. During that time, we all agreed that it would be an amazing idea to start a bible study “group” on Facebook where we could openly share our stories, successes, and most importantly, the Word of God to help one another on each of our journeys. So, once I returned to Alabama, I created the group “Sash Sisters in Christ.” While it’s still in the beginning phases of finding it’s groove, I’m amazed at how many questions I have received about fellow sash sisters wanting to join even though they are not a rodeo queen. The answer is yes! If you want to join, you can! It’s open to any and all who wish to learn more about God’s word and who want to have an environment where they can openly share their successes to which everyone applauds because you’re catching your dreams! Honestly and truthfully, this month has been nothing short of amazing and awe inspiring.
Needless to say, I did not have much of a break coming back from Sherry’s as I traveled down to Nashville to record two episodes for “Perley’s Place” on RFDTV, which is set to air at a later date, followed by an immediate turn south to Alabama where I would quickly go to work for my home-town rodeo in Wetumpka. Wow what a week! John Colquitt and I made nearly over 150 stops at several schools throughout Autauga and Elmore County. The most rewarding thing, is seeing the children’s faces light up when you entered the room and when they saw you again at the rodeo. I don’t’ think I’ll ever get tired of seeing true and genuine amazement in a kids face.
Friday night, as the sun lowered in the western sky, the arena lights came on, the music kicked in and we were off to the rodeo with Co-Captain Star in the lead. You know, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing like carrying that American Flag and hearing the crowd welcome her with roaring applause and showing the upmost respect. You have to be there to understand what I mean. Oubre Rodeo Company and the Wetumpka FFA Alumni put on an amazing rodeo that weekend with nothing but pitch perfect weather. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Once all of the festivities had settled down and I was on the road to my next stop, I couldn’t help but feel the deepest sense of gratitude and fulness as the tires quickly pounded the worn asphalt. Not only do I have the pleasure of getting up each day and enjoy what I do, but I get to actually make a difference in the lives of others. How cool is that?
I arrived in Newnan, GA ready to go for the weekend and man, what a weekend it was. Sold out crowds both nights with the committee having to require prepaid tickets only on Saturday night! Even then, we were still packed to the brim with plenty of rodeo action to go around.
Newnan was a short and easy stay followed by another one of my “hometown” rodeo’s, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo in Athens, AL. Not only is it a second home to me, but it is my home from where I came to the Miss Rodeo USA pageant in January as the 2021 Miss Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen. It’s funny, when you return to your home pageant and rodeo as the National Title Holder, you’re not quite sure how it’s going to feel. You’re closing one chapter of your book but are in the middle of writing another. There are so many emotions that that week brought on, I think I’m still trying to process them all.
From visiting schools within the county, sharing my story and testimony with the teachers and children, joining the band on stage that Monday night at the street dance, to making that final ride as Miss Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen 2021… all I can say is, it was golden.
You know, as I sit here in Hiwassee, GA looking out over Lake Chatuge, I am reminded once again why I do what I do, and why I choose to take everything in stride during the good times and the bad. Not everything in life is going to go as we plan or maybe as we expect it to be, but one thing that is for certain is that the Lord has a perfect time and place for us to be at His appointed time. Not ours, or other people for that matter. Trust when and where the Lord places you. He honors and rewards persistence, tenacity, true grit, and the ones who seek His face fist before His hand. Remember, your worth and work is never valued like the Lord values you. Not everyone will see what’s behind the scenes and the amount of work that it takes to make one thing happen. Let along 14 million other different items that have been placed on the list under your care. Trust in His absolute timing and His plan alone. It will guide you where you need to be.
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022