As we begin to wind down the rodeo season and prepare for the 2023 Miss Rodeo USA Pageant, I can’t help but sit here and reflect on what an incredible year I have spent with my rodeo family. My stock contractors, judges, specialty acts, the “man in the can” at each event, rodeo committees, teams, and all of the memories have truly made this year an enjoyable ride. An utter sense of gratitude and joy is what comes to mind when I think back on these fast-paced days that are now numbered.
When we last met on the trail, we were preparing for an action-packed Labor Day Weekend, filled with tons of activities, meet n greets, and more! Since then, I have enjoyed and had the pleasure of traveling to 7 different rodeos and events throughout the Southeast. One of particular interest was the “Friends of Chuck” event in Atlanta, GA that was held on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Not only was this a new event for Miss Rodeo USA, but it was one of the coolest and most diverse events I think I have ever been to. Special security tools, systems, robotic dogs, and even “unbreakable glass” that I may or may not have taken a swing or two at. It was the neatest yet one of my most rewarding events I have ever been a part of.
Once finally back on the “weekend warrior” trail, I trucked it on up to Gainesville, GA where the Osiyo TV crew met me for some behind the scenes footage of what my life looks like at a rodeo and what some of my duties are while on the scene. Robin Brooks and the entire Southern Rodeo Company crew, as always, were so easy to work with and worked effortlessly to ensure that we obtained the footage that was needed. P.S. this feature will air on Osyio TV in January 2023! We have literally been filming and working on this project for an entire year! It’s crazy and amazing all at the same time.
After the dust settled in Gainesville, I pointed the truck back to Alabama and prepared to travel to the northern part of the state for the Moulton IPRA rodeo, hosted by our very own Ms. Marsha Terry and her family! Of course, I was thrilled to see Mr. Bubba Oubre and his entire crew. We’ve had the pleasure of working together for many years and this just added another feather in our cap of the many rodeos we’ve worked together on over the years. The rodeo was a great success and it was so nice to see so many friends who came in from Muscle Shoals, Florence, and even south Alabama! Did I mention there was a little bit of excitement this trip as it started pouring down rain on my way back to the trailer and a coyote ran right out in front of me and scared me half to death. Needless to say, the coyote vs the one-ton… you can guess how that ended. Luckily no damage to the truck as we kept on rolling on to our next destination, Lebanon, TN!
Folks, when I say we literally have some of the best rodeo committees ever on this planet, we do! The Lebanon rodeo crew welcomed me with the “royal treatment!” They literally had a welcoming crew when and where I parked my trailer, presented me with a basket filled with tons of goodies, and even treated me to one of the BEST Italian restaurants I think I have ever eaten at! All in one day! Did I mention that when Sandy, Joe, and Valerie came to pick me up each morning they had my favorite Starbucks coffee in the truck waiting on me? I mean you can’t get much better than that! Several things I enjoyed about this rodeo is that majority of the proceeds go to assist the entire county’s FCA programs and I had the opportunity to visit and speak at one of the FCA meetings held that weekend during the rodeo. For those who may not know, FCA stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and aims to bring the word of God in to schools around the nation while encouraging students to work and do all things for God’s honor and glory. This was a major highlight of my entire rodeo career and definitely set the pace for the weekend ahead.
During my visit in Lebanon, I had another opportunity to speak on my platform: “Be a Dreamcatcher” at our sponsor/ committee dinner where I was surprised, once again, with a beautiful basket that the ladies of the Cowboy Church had put together for me, followed by testimonies on what my presentation meant to numerous people sitting in the room that night. I believe then and there is when I realized, I’m continuing to fight the good fight and am fighting for what’s right!
Somewhere between Moulton and Lebanon, I remember asking the lady who started this whole journey, Ms. Debbie Blakely, “What would you have me do…” and I remember hearing these words as if she were standing right there beside me, “continue to fight for what’s right!” At that exact moment in Lebanon, I knew I was continuing to fight for what’s right and was fighting the right fight! Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Ms. Debbie before she passed, but I feel like she has been a part of my life and journey since I made the decision to run for Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen in 2021 and I truly believe that she has been with me every step of the way on this incredible journey.
As Lebanon came to a close, I immediately turned the truck north and headed to Mayfield, KY for the Northeast Regional Finals with Broken Horn Rodeo Company. Now when I say this trip was a turnaround, it was a turnaround. I left Lebanon, TN on Sunday morning, drove three hours, arrived in Mayfield, setup, ate a bite of lunch with the producer Scooter, came back, opened and worked the afternoon Finals performance, and turned the truck south back to Bama at the close of all the festivities. In that one day, I drove a total of 11 hours, was up a total of 22 hours, and had a blast all at the same time! It was an amazing day! Mr. Jeff, with Broken Horn, was a hoot to work with and had me laughing non-stop.
Once back home, I prepared for three back to back weekends with Southern Rodeo Company in Georgia and Alabama. Unfortunately, we are on the last rodeo of the season with SRC and it’s truly bitter sweet as I sit here and reflect on how this rodeo crew has truly become family. The guys are out feeding the stock and preparing for tonight’s performance, we are all prepping flags, of course making plans for lunch, and all looking back on what a phenomenal year this has been with SRC. Tonight’s performance will be bitter sweet, but I know where a rodeo home lies if I ever need one, and that to me, that is some of the best peace of mind you could ever ask for!
Well folks, it looks like it’s time for me to go and get ready. As Chris Cagle would say, “Let there be Cowgirls!”
Until we meet on the trail again,