“We go together like Denim and Rhinestones…” as Carrie Underwood would say, and that’s exactly what describes me, Vegas, the Miss Rodeo America pageant, NFR, and the ultimate VIP experience.
Not only did I spend 12 of the most exciting days in Viva Las Vegas, but I spent the first three as a guest of Miss Rodeo America. This was a true highlight of my year as I was welcomed with open arms from the Miss Rodeo America Board, National Directors, PRCA board members and representatives, as well as Miss Rodeo America herself, Hailey Fredrickson. I witnessed some of the most amazing pageantry, production, and collaborations that made this entire operation work like a well-oiled machine! The best part, I felt like I was a part of the family. Miss Rodeo Canada 2022, Jayden Calvert, and I frequented numerous events together and had some of the best laughs, stories, and discussions that led to the development of a lasting friendship that was kindled by our love and passion for the sport of rodeo and the rodeo queen world as a whole. Did I mention I walked a collective 30 miles in the first 3 days?
One evening, the lady’s in waiting and I were able to head on down to the Las Vegas Strip for a fun “after hours” photoshoot with our amazing sponsor, Sherry Smith Photography. Let me tell you, that was a blast. You know what else was a blast? Trying to figure out where I had parked my car after we had wrapped things up. (Insert dying laughing emoji face here.)
At the conclusion of the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, I quickly swapped gears to head on over to Cowboy Christmas and spend the remainder of my trip working on behalf of NRS and Wrangler. Unfortunately, I believe all of us came down with a case of the “Vegas Crud” at some point or another, but we survived. A word unto the wise, always make sure your hotel is right across the street from the CVS. Mine was!
As the week rolled on, the days passed by rather quickly with plenty of time to have some fun and let loose after the work day. One night, my roommate and I quickly made our way down to meet some of our friends and made our way to the NFR Watch Party and Country Revival on behalf of NRS and NTS. We all had a magnificent dinner followed by a fun night out seeing the sights. Definitely could not have hand picked a better group of ladies to run with that week.
If you never have had the opportunity to experience Cowboy Christmas, then you need to make plans to attend next year. I thought I was going to have to buy and pack another bag to take home from Vegas. That or ship some things home, but thanks to Wrangler, I came home with two custom roller duffels that fit more than enough to get everything home.
Overall, was I exhausted, yes but man I would not have wanted to do Vegas any other way. I personally would like to thank our sponsor, NRS, for ensuring that my flight, hotel, and per-diem were all taken care of for this trip. Had it not been for you all, this trip wouldn’t have been possible.
Most importantly, Congratulations to Kennadee Riggs, your new 2023 Miss Rodeo America! May God Bless each and every one of you as we begin a new year, and in just 12 short days, we will be seeing plenty of “denim and rhinestones,” at the 58th Annual Miss Rodeo USA Pageant!
Until we meet again, God Bless and happy trails!
You know, we are beyond blessed to have some of the best sponsors in the rodeo industry as a whole, but some of those sponsors literally roll out the red carpet for you when you “step boldly” on the scene. One of those amazing sponsors is Lane Boots!
Lane not only offers the best fit, style, and comfort in boots, but also pour their hearts and souls into each stich and every other fine detail that goes in to making a pair of these beauties.
Throughout the year, you all have been a part of my journey as I have shared my “unboxing videos” of the 12 beautiful pair of lane boots just so you all could experience what I call “Lane’s Lane!”
In my home, there literally is a specific space for my collection of beautiful Lane boots. Each pair is designated as a showcase piece as a vital part of my attire due to their beauty, style, and versatility. Being able to simply visit your wardrobe, have a pair of boots in mind and pull from your arsenal thanks to generous sponsors such as Lane is a feeling and an honor that only one can dream of.
My first experience with Lane was at pageant in January of 2021. Each contestant generously received a beautiful pair of Lane Boots chosen specifically by the great sponsors at Lane to showcase that specific contestant’s personality and sense of style. Let me tell you, the pair I received instantly became my favorite pair of boots due to the fact that I could mix and match any outfit the way I wanted with my “Plain Jane” Lane Boot! Those Plain Janes were no Plain Jane’s! Needless to say, the boots did the walking and the talking!
If you ever have a chance to visit with a Lane representative, be sure to do so and tell them that Jessie Lynn sent you. I can promise you that you will never regret buying and investing into this amazing brand. Don’t forget, they have their men’s line, known as Capitan, as well as the amazingly ‘funky’ women’s style in “Junk Gypsy” by Lane.
Lane Boots are the exclusive boots worn by Miss Rodeo USA and we are blessed to wear these masterpieces that are meticulously handcrafted by master artisans. Lane Boots keep quality and style on trend!
Well, it’s time to venture off of “Lane’s Lane,” head on down the trail, step out boldly, and walk that walk wearing one of my favorite pair of Lane Boots!
Until we meet again, God Bless and happy trails!
Wow! Can you believe we are already in the month of November? I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by!
Well you may wonder what I’ve been up to since we last met on the trail and quite honestly, I’ve been busy preparing for the 2023 Miss Rodeo USA Pageant, wrapping up the last few rodeos of the season and packing my bags for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas! That’s right, this cowgirl is headed to Las Vegas for 11 days in December, but there’s plenty to be done between now and then.
Currently, I am in Fayetteville, AR preparing for my final photoshoot with Sherry Smith and reflecting on all of the amazing sponsors we are blessed to have. For this photoshoot alone, we will be featuring products from Lane Boots, Lazy P Creations, The Man in Black Leather Studio, Rodeo Hippie, Kendra Scott, Branded Bay Leather Company, Rodeo Queen Designs, Peaz and Karats, Southern Sass and the JoJo Gypsy Boutique… just to name a few. I cannot wait to see what all we capture!
Prior to driving up to Arkansas, I was in Huntsville, AL for the Gingerbread Holiday Market, which might I add, was epic! If you ever need a great place to holiday shop and pick out the perfect gift, you need to visit the Gingerbread Market. Stephanie and her crew invited me up to do a meet n greet session for all of the patrons from 1 – 3 p.m. Needless to say, I was glad it was held indoors, because this sudden cool snap would have made for a chilly day if we were outside.
Once things wrap up here, I’ll be headed back to Sweet Home Alabama where I will briefly have about 24 hours to unpack, repack, and then hop in the truck again to spend a few well-deserved days off in the Sunshine State of Florida! I like to mix work with pleasure so, I’ll be wrapping up a few extra dive certifications, spend a couple of days at the beach, and then make my way towards Ocala for an all-day drill team clinic during the first part of Thanksgiving week. Personally, I could not think of any more reasons to be thankful as we enter in to the holiday season. How about you?
Ironically, Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays because you have the opportunity to spend time with family, friends, and have the chance to reminisce on memories that were made long ago. Those memories that last a lifetime.
There’s a lot to be said for gratitude and how far it can truly take someone in his/her journey. Just being thankful for waking up and having breath in your lungs is one of the most awe inspiring, yet humbling experiences of a lifetime, because quite frankly when you get down to it, we are just God’s creation and are mere specs in time. Wow, what an honor to be a part of this journey we call life.
I’ve spoken on this before, but I believe it bear repeating. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to live, and I mean truly live. We busy ourselves with worry, doubt, fear, unnecessary anxiety, stress, work, drama, you name it, BUT in the grand scheme of things is it truly accomplishing what our goal here on earth is? Are we thankful for the blessings that God gives, or are we greedy in looking for the next available perk? Only you and God can truly answer that question.
As we move in to Thanksgiving week, I would like to challenge each of you to dig down deeper in your hearts, find something, anything, to be thankful for each day this holiday season. You will be shocked at what displaying and truly living God’s word will do for you each and every day. Re-read that last sentence one more time. You are to display and truly live out God’s word. Remember, your actions speak louder than your words. So, are you proud of your actions? Your choices? Your decisions? If not, it’s time to start with making the choice to be thankful today for what all God has truly given you, and if you can’t see that, then you’re looking in the wrong pasture.
Until we meet on the trail again, Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless!
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,
As we begin to wrap up the Labor Day Weekend, and the big Summer run, I am reminded as to the reason why we pursue dreams, goals, and crazy ideas that may seem completely out of reach… Others. Everything we see, do, touch, and ultimately have an impact on, is for the other person standing across the way that others may not see but you do. It’s all a “labor of love.”
The last time we met on the trail, I was preparing to travel to Huntsville, AR for one of the coolest and most amazing IPRA rodeos I’ve been blessed to be a part of. Not to mention, the Huntsville, AR rodeo is well known in the Miss Rodeo USA Association for its fair share of stories and experiences that each Miss Rodeo USA leaves with year after year. Needless to say, we had a ball and it was a week to remember!
Once I left Huntsville, AR I made my way down to Ozark, AR to prepare for the 2022 Miss Rodeo USA Clinic! Keep in mind, at this point in my journey, I had been on the road for four solid weeks straight. I was able to meet up with Tish and Jody at our campground for the week, that is until it was time to move over to the fairgrounds, and we were able to knock out a few things before our weekend truly began.
Thursday evening, we welcomed everyone over to our Lakota horse trailer, and started our clinic weekend the right way with a full-blown cookout. Ok, so I may have frantically ran around town all day to find a gas line because I left mine back in Alabama four weeks prior but ultimately it was Jody who saved the day and brought out their 32’ Blackstone Cooktop for the cookout win! 8lbs of Hamburger meat and a full case of Costco hotdogs later, everyone was full and ready to kick things off at the clinic the following morning.
Friday morning had finally arrived, and so had our participants and observers for the MRUSA 22’ Clinic! Talk about a jam-packed day with no room to spare on the day’s planned activities. I was blessed to go from speaking as a clinician, to going full on producer and sound engineer mode by the time 1 o’clock rolled around. Later that evening, my band members had arrived and we were ready to rock n roll with a full concert for all of our participants, observers and the residents of the Ozark area. Ms. Kelsey Baker kicked things off for us at 7:30 followed by our set at 8:00 p.m. It was truly a night to remember! Oh yeah, and hot…. EXTREMELY HOT!
As my band and I packed everything away that evening/ morning we all rolled in to bed around 1 a.m. but was back up and at em at 6:30 that morning. For what you may ask? We had a full day of Horsemanship to do! Did I mention that’s my favorite portion of a rodeo queen’s pageant? So we were all back in the classroom ready to learn and ride some amazing patterns with some 5 Star Quarter Horse’s and some volunteers who brought their horses as well so all of our participants had a mount to ride. Wow, what an amazing day. To see what these young ladies accomplish in 6 hours is truly amazing.
Later that evening, we were able to go downtown and have a mock fashion show. The best part about this portion of the clinic is that, not only were the girls given a sponsor outfit from TC’s Vintage Soul to model, but they were able to pick and choose what accessories to put with it and gain some insight as to what it would be like at a national level pageant where you are given an outfit and have to show that outfit off to the best of your abilities. Truly a game changer in the world of hosting a clinic and seeing the return of the investment made in each young lady.
As Sunday rolled in to play, it was time for some hair, makeup, and of course our mock pageant. When I say that I was truly blown away by how far each young lady had come in their journey from Friday to Sunday morning, I mean I was blown away. If any of the young ladies had asked me or any of the board members for advice, they took it and ran with it all the way. I was thrilled to see young ladies who were maybe timid or shy at the beginning of the week begin to come out of their shell and showcase their true personality on and off the stage. At the end of the day, the weekend was a huge success. From our guest clinicians, speakers, sponsor presentations, a live concert, fun filled days and more, it truly was a sight to see when everything was all said and done.
As my mom, grandmother and I loaded the last bit of cargo on to the trailer, we all couldn’t help but reminisce on the memories that had just been made for, not only us, but each young lady and observer who had the chance to be a part of the weekend. We got in, pointed the truck “east bound and down,” and began our journey home. The funny part is, I would only be home for approximately 14 hours before I would get back on the road to leave again. This time, it would be to travel down to Florida to obtain a few more diving certifications before shoving off to Rome, GA.
Advanced Open Water, Nitrox, and Rescue Diver all complete. It was time to head on up to Rome, GA and have some fun with my Southern Pro Rodeo Family. As I was driving to Rome, I came across some landmarks that seemed familiar and I was racking my brain trying to jog my memory as to why this all seemed familiar… Oh yeah, it’s where I had purchased my truck just the year before! What a coincidence. Not to mention they were a sponsor of the rodeo and hopefully will be on board as the presenting sponsor next year. Talk about fate. As the rodeo weekend ended, I began planning my trip to Blue Ridge, GA for the next rodeo weekend. This is where the story gets interesting.
As I made my way to Blue Ridge, I was in absolute awe of the countryside and how beautiful of a drive it really was on the way there. Upon my arrival to Blue Ridge, I was following my GPS to what I thought was the campground but later found myself on a mountain side road with a 50’ + size rig with nowhere to turn around. “This is gonna be fun,” I thought to myself and finally managed a way to back the trailer into a nearby driveway and turn it around without dropping it off the ravine on my left of the truck off the hillside that was on my right. Quite an interesting day for sure. I finally arrived safe and sound as was ready to take on the week/weekend.
The next day I met with Alysa Hargus, who you all may know as the official photographer from IFR 51’ and 52’ and we had an absolute blast. She took me around, showed me the sights, and of course showed me some of the best restaurants in town. Finally, it was time to rodeo and boy did we rodeo. We kicked things off Friday morning with the Special Needs Rodeo followed by a jam-packed performance that night. The next morning, Beth Weldon and I decided to go white water rafting on the Ocoee River. Was by far one of the best experiences of my life! You can see some of our photos on the Miss Rodeo USA Instagram page.
As that rodeo weekend came to a close, we wrapped everything up, dried off, because it poured rain that night, and began the trek back home to sweet home Alabama. Once I made it to the house, I was able to spend a few days resting and recouping before heading off to Edgefield, SC.
Talk about being treated like royalty, Ms. Sandy and her rodeo committee had me at one of the neatest ranches I had ever seen in my life. The home place itself was absolutely gorgeous and the owner’s, Mr. Paul and Ms. Carolyn were just the sweetest couple you could ever meet. Their family came to join us for the weekend and boy did we evermore have a good time! Folks, they wouldn’t even let me lift a finger. They had hired help that unloaded my truck for me, took everything up to my floor, and that was on call if I ever needed them. When I say being treated like royalty, this was the place.
Ms. Sandy, the owner and producer of the rodeo was just the most amazing person I have ever had the pleasure to work for. She and I hit it right off and were cracking jokes before the weekend even got started. It was great!
Their presenting sponsor, Helios, was present each night and gave me the grand tour of their equine therapy facility. If you have not checked out their programs and range of therapy options for your equine partner, you need to. Holy smokes, what an operation!
I drove home late Saturday night, arrived home at around 3 a.m. and got some shut eye, because, as you know, I was going to be on the road again very soon!
As Labor Day weekend approached, it was time to head back down to Vortex Spring for the Labor Day Weekend Bash Celebration! What a celebration it was too! Diving, Music, Meet N Greets, Sponsor Item giveaways and more. It was a blast.
Well folks, at this point in the trail I believe it’s time to unsaddle, unwind, and prepare for the next time we meet.
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022
The last time we met on the trail, I was wrapping up a gorgeous weekend in Hiwassee, GA with Robin Brooks and his amazing crew. Currently, I am in Amarillo, TX on one of the longest runs I will make during my reign. Needless to say, the Summer fun has officially begun, but let’s not forget about all of the amazing memories that have been made since Hiwassee.
Following my run in Hiwassee, GA I found myself on the road to Vortex Spring Adventures to catch a little R&R as well as a few bubbles as I descended roughly 80’ in to Vortex Spring’s 68-degree freshwater spring with some of the best friends a gal could ask for. The best part, I was able to bring Vortex Spring on as an official Platinum Miss Rodeo USA sponsor. Talk about exciting! I don’t recall many opportunities that allow for fun, games, and business all at the same time. As Angela Dockery would say, “you know, we just do things a little different around here.” As luck would have it, we also were able to plan some amazing things for Labor Day Weekend at Vortex that, if you and your family are around, you won’t want to miss!
After a little R&R, I packed the rig up, dropped it at the house, and headed to one of my favorite rodeos in Shady Dale, GA! Let me tell you, Shady Dale is in the middle of “nowhere Georgia” but is rich and full of love for community, family, and of course, the sport of rodeo. Upon arriving, I immediately was welcomed by one of the coolest, most kind gentleman I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, Mr. Wade. As we drove to my first appointment of the weekend, he shared many stories of how he worked and managed some of the largest equine farms and facilities across the country. Talk about a textbook of information. I could have sat and listened to Mr. Wade tell story after story and he never would have missed a beat either. Today he hauls horses across the county for clients, private hires, and more.
Later that weekend, I ran in to the Mayor of Shady Dale, Mr. Larry, who was another gentleman that I could have sat there and listened to for hours. He was so kind and was a textbook of information about the city’s history, it’s residents, etc. He also shared a deep love and passion for music, just as I do, and needless to say he asked if I would get up and sing a song or two at the Rodeo Festival that Saturday. Of course, I said yes and kicked things off with one of my personal favorites, “How Great Thou Art.” Everyone loved it and asked if I would do another, so I wrapped things up with “Crazy” by the legendary Patsy Cline. Wow, what an awesome memory!
After the performance that Saturday, I pointed the truck back west and headed home. I arrived around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and caught a few z’s before getting up and preparing the rig for yet another trip. This time it was to head to Northwest Arkansas for the “From the Arena to The Cross” Bible camp.
On Sunday, I loaded up the rig, caught a quick afternoon nap, and started the first half of my 11-hour drive to Berryville, AR. I stopped for the night at a nice little campground in West Memphis, Arkansas that put me smack dab on the Mississippi River. Man was it beautiful too. I caught a good night’s sleep and finished my drive to Berryville on Monday afternoon. Upon arriving, I was quickly swarmed by Tish and Joanne and was told that I would be assisting with worship that evening and immediately went in to rehearsals with some of the most amazing ladies I’ve ever met. We kicked worship off at 8 p.m. and if I tried to describe the feeling that came over that arena floor, we’d be here all day.
As my week in Arkansas ended, I was pointing the rig Southeast and heading to Oxford, AL for what was guaranteed to be an amazing weekend. Unfortunately, the summer heat had finally started setting in over Alabama and much of the United States so we definitely were doing all we could to stay cool. (Kona Ice was my friend that weekend.) Greg Norrad and his crew with Frontier Classic Rodeo put on two amazing performances with plenty of action to boot. As soon as all of the action ended on Saturday night, I loaded up the rig and headed south to the house so I could prepare to do it all again.
Tuesday morning rolled around and I was rolling north on I-65 with rig in tow. Not only was I in for some amazing things that week, but I was able to attend an Ann Wilson concert later that evening. Wow, talk about an amazing moment in my life! For all the young folks, that’s the lead singer from the award-winning Rock band “Heart.” If you don’t know who they are, you need to go look them up.
Once my run in Nashville was complete, I pointed the trailer back south for a rodeo in Jasper, AL. You talk about a great weekend for rodeo, that one was it! Ironically, we managed to blow out a transformer during my queen run on the second night but was able to rodeo well up until dark when the power company restored power to the area. I thought we were going to be racing barrels with glow in the dark cans. That would be an awesome event to add!
After completing my run in Jasper, I quickly ran home Saturday night to turn around and leave for Perry, GA on Sunday morning for the National Finals Youth Rodeo with National Roper Supply. I was beyond thrilled to be heading back to Perry but was even more excited to join the “road team” with NRS for Monday and Tuesday of that week. By the close of business on Tuesday, we were so busy I pulled out my old retail sales hat and was helping run the register, check out customers, assist with hat sizing, and more. It was awesome! That, and Mr. Steve with American Hat sent me home with another American Hat product, but this time it was a nice, cool straw hat for the summer. Wish we could wear them and our crowns stay on.
Once I wrapped up my stay in Georgia, I pointed the truck back West and entered my week and a half preparation for my month and half long run through 4 different states, 6 cities, and countless meetings/ appointments. The big rig had to be taken in for service, while the truck received a new pair of tenny runners, a new brake line, fuel filter, air filter, and of course a nice detail. On July 7th, I left the house headed towards Fort Scott, KS. I would later find myself in Russellville, AR for the night with only about 4 hours left to go in the drive. Glad I stopped. It was 106 degrees when I pulled off for the night in AR. Whew, it was hot.
I arrived in Fort Scott, on July 8th and was ready to knock out two stellar performances with Hampton Pro Rodeo followed by a days’ journey down to Shawnee, OK for the International Finals Youth Rodeo. Funny thing is, the Hamptons left that Saturday night because they had stock up in the first performance of the IFYR, while I stayed to catch some z’s and visit with a sponsor on Sunday.
After a wonderful stop/ visit in Claremore, OK. I finished my trek on in to Shawnee and set up for the week-long rodeo that packed in 11 performances, with over 900 contestants, 10 Miss Teen Rodeo USA contestants, some Miss Rodeo USA Director Sabotage fun and of course late-night conversations that would only allow us about 3 hours of sleep before starting all over. Needless to say, it was a blast! If you have not seen the director sabotage video, highlighted on day 3 of the Miss Teen Rodeo USA recap, you must do so at once. It’s stellar! We also crowned our second ever Miss Teen Rodeo USA: Ashely Polson. You can catch of the videos and highlights on the Miss Teen Rodeo USA Facebook Page.
Finally, when the week in Shawnee ended, I pointed the rig west and headed on to Amarillo, TX. Yes, I was totally singing “Amarillo By Morning” all the way over. Had a chance to stop in Shamrock, TX and capture some cool shots of the truck in front of the original Conoco tower fuel stop that was the inspiration for the one you see in the movie “Cars.” Pretty cool if you ask me. I made it on in to Amarillo, set up, enjoyed the afternoon, ate dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, and kicked my week off with a visit to Bustamante Boots, where they will be making me not one, but two pair of custom boots for me to use during my reign and after on the road with my music. If you ask me, I think this journey is going pretty well!
As I wrap this blog edition up, I’m enjoying a nice evening out under the awning in the reclining lawn chair, just waiting to see what lies ahead on Jessie Lynn’s trails. Huntsville, AR Rodeo, the Miss Rodeo USA Clinic August 5th – 7th, Ponce De Leon, FL, and more! Ya’ll be sure to stay tuned and keep up with everything that I am doing on the Miss Rodeo USA Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Page! Would love to see you along for the ride.
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022
“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
“I said Georgia, oh Georgia, no peace I find. Just an old sweet song that keeps Georgia on my mind.”
Georgia has definitely been on my mind as I’ve traveled from Grovetown, Thomson, Augusta, to Statesboro and everything in between. The “Peach State” has certainly been kind to this Alabama cowgirl and the best part, every rodeo was a complete sell out!
After spending four wonderful days at home, and obtaining my truck back from the wrap shop, I set out for Grovetown, GA at 3 a.m. that Saturday morning. I arrived to a filled park with hundreds of kiddos who were ready to hunt Easter Eggs, have their picture made with the Easter Bunny and me. If you were keeping up with my travels on social media you noticed that Ed, my horsey Easter Basket, joined along for the ride and was able to be a part of all the Easter Egg hunting fun! We later wrapped up the day and jumped straight in to my favorite of them all, Cowboy Church bright and early Easter Sunday morning. He is Risen indeed. The stone was rolled away and the Lord provided us with one of the most beautiful days I had ever experienced. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak at Cowboy Church that morning and again saw the Lord’s handy work unfold. It was there that the week truly began to take shape.
I often say that “you never know who you may be helping” and that we often “entertain angels unaware.” This definitely was one of those moments. After speaking at Cowboy Church, I was told one of the most heartbreaking yet refreshing stories that I’ve ever heard.
Earlier that morning I had passed 4 crosses on the side of the roadway and right then and there, I felt like the Lord told me to speak on our Purpose, Perspective, Prayer, Power and how they all intertwine to help us achieve our dreams. Later that afternoon, well after I had spoken at church, I was told that that exact location was where one of the sons of the Pastor and his wife were killed in a car wreck just about a year ago. Talk about God using a moment and person in time to convey a message. I believe it not only spoke to me during this time, but also the community that surrounded this beautiful family. I definitely believe this was “God moment” that set the stage for the remainder of the week.
We spent a good portion of our week visiting with sponsors and even stopped by iHeart Radio and Channel 12, the main television station of Augusta, GA. to promote the rodeo and concert that would be taking place each night with Tanner Fussell and Taylor Smith. As fate would have it, I would later join them on the arena floor for a couple of songs, and my newly wrapped truck would be on full display as their stage. Wow, talk about a dreamcatcher weekend.
Overall, I spent 8 days in Grovetown and was thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet so many individuals who believed in their community and town so much that they were ready to bring the rodeo back again this year. Ironically, I’ll be less than 20 minutes away from Grovetown at another rodeo they are producing in June, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store!
Come Sunday morning, I packed everything in the truck and began a short trek down to Statesboro, GA where another busy but fun-filled week was in store. Now, there are always stories from every place I visit, but I feel there are definitely some that need to be told… and this was just the beginning!
Monday morning, we kicked things off in true Statesboro fashion. Busy week with meetings starting bright and early followed by a jam-packed day of appearances, sponsor visits, and whatever else we could stack in between. All-in-all, it was a successful and productive day given that I was battling laryngitis. As Tuesday rolled around, I ended up needing to visit the local Urgent Care to address my sore throat, weak voice, and eventually what was the start of an inner ear infection. (I promise there’s a great story here.) Upon leaving the doctor’s office, Ms. Martha and Mr. Frank, (the most amazing two individuals you will ever meet on the face of this earth.) escorted me to the pharmacy to pick up my medications. Here’s where the week took a little turn. After returning three different times to obtain my medicine, Ms. Martha had, as I call it “a come apart” so we later sent Ashlee to pick up my prescriptions as I had to be at another meeting that afternoon. Side Note: The entire Kiwanis club now uses the phrase “a come apart,” because they had never heard that used before. We proceeded to our afternoon meetings and on to the Brooklet Kiwanis Dinner where I was scheduled to speak that evening. At the conclusion of the evening, I had my medicine in hand, had just completed another phenomenal speaking engagement and was ready to make my way back to the hotel to rest and prepare for another great day. Well, one of Brooklet’s finest pulled Mr. Frank over for failure to use a turn signal in a private parking-lot 2 seconds after we pulled out of the Kiwanis meeting. (Insert a thud or dramatic sound effect to capture the moment.) At this point in the day, I think all I could do was laugh! It was one of those, “you had to be there” moments to experience all of the emotions at once. I will say, we made good humor of it at the Wednesday Kiwanis meeting as Ashlee had printed several WANTED posters for Mr. Frank and Ms. Martha. It was a giant hit!
There are so many stories from Statesboro that it would almost take a book to tell them all, but there is one additional story I feel that needs to be told. On Friday night, we all were reminded of why we do what we do as we honored a very special cowboy on the arena floor. Mr. Brandon Ennis, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at an early age, joined the entire Hedrick Rodeo crew and I on the arena floor to help make his dreams come true! That evening, Brandon became an honorary World Champion Cowboy with Hedrick Pro Rodeo and was able to send a “tip of the hat” to his fans and audience in attendance. Whew. Talk about hitting all of the emotions at once. Brandon and his mom unfortunately lost his dad due to complications with Covid-19 but still carried a hope and light that showed everywhere they went that evening. Talk about the hope and calling on our lives that the Lord gives and shows us if we are willing to listen.
Honestly, I am a quarter of the way through my reign and I’ve never felt more at home and in the moment than I do now. This journey has opened so many doors and provided opportunities that the Lord could only put in to motion.
If I have to leave you all with a word of advice on this blog, it would be to look for the opportunities God puts in front of you. They are there, we just have to be able to recognize them and act on them as He would have us do.
I look forward to seeing you all on the rodeo trail again soon! I’m currently spending a few days at Sherry Smith’s for some photoshoots, and quite frankly to re-energize my body, spirit, and mind. (Ms. Sherry has the most amazing space to do all of this in and capture amazing shots!) As we close in on another journey, here’s to being a dreamcatcher!
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022
Dream. A word we commonly associate with sleep, décor, and occasionally life or career goals, but why is it just occasionally? Why do we not “dream” all of the time? Do we become so engrossed in the everyday hustle and bustle of life that we ourselves forget to dream and think outside the box? I would venture to say yes. We often become so entranced in our everyday routine that we often find ourselves on autopilot just trying to make it through another work day, week, or weekend. There never is a time for the dreamer to live a “dreamers dream…” but you know what the best part is? You can still catch your dreams and goals even in the midst of all the hustle and bustle!
Over the past few weeks I have traveled to Brunswick, GA. Dallas, Fort Worth, Bowie, and Decatur Texas as well as Sandersville, GA. all within a span of 3 weeks. Whew, talk about busy! You want to know what the best part about every hour, minute, and second spent on the road is? It’s one more hour, minute, and second invested in to someone else’s dream, goals, and spiritual walk with the Lord. It’s then and there that I realize, I’m living a dreamer’s dream.
Some of the places I have been blessed to visit almost seem like a dream of their own. My first stop landed me right in the heart of the “Golden Isles” of Brunswick, GA for Rodeo at the Beach! The stringent smell of the swamp marsh land mixed with the sweet aroma of the blooming magnolia trees made for one of the most beautiful and diverse places I’ve ever visited.
During the first half of my stay, I visited the many sponsors who have been long-time supporters of “Rodeo at the Beach” including the presenting sponsor, Stambaugh Aviation. I must say, this was by far one of the most interesting and amazing sponsor visits I’ve ever been a part of. What was even more exciting is I had received a phone call from the Cowboy Channel asking if I would be willing to help them in obtaining footage and interviews for a new segment that they are starting called “My Hometown Rodeo,” set to air in May. Well of course, I said yes and knew that one of my interviews had to be with JR and Scott, the owners of Stambaugh Aviation.
Later that week, we kicked off the rodeo weekend in true rodeo fashion with a mechanical bull riding competition between the teachers and principals from the surrounding schools. Needless to say, we were all in stiches! We wrapped the weekend up with a visit to Jekyll Island for a dolphin tour and then took a ride on the beach with four of our winners on Sea Island. It was a trip to remember.
Upon leaving the “Golden Isles,” I returned home on Sunday March 20th and immediately left out on a flight Monday morning headed to Dallas/ Fort Worth for Market. After a few tornados, a reroute through Houston, to finally landing at DFW around 10:30 p.m., I had arrived and was ready to meet some of our amazing Miss Rodeo USA sponsors. The following morning started bright and early as we met with Mr. Wayne from C. Warren and Associates for breakfast at the Market Café. During our visit, he presented me with my brand new Ropin West Luggage Set and the matching cosmetics case. Talk about excited!
We spent two days at the World Trade Center visiting with new and current sponsors with our third day being spent visiting American Hat Company, The Best Hat Store, and NRS! If you have never been to market in Dallas, it is an experience that you have to “be there” to understand the overwhelming excitement and magnitude of it all. Still think I’m living the dream? I do!
I returned to Alabama on Friday March 25th and was back on the road Sunday March 27th heading to the 61st Annual Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo with Co-Captain Star (A Star in the Rodeo) in tow for meet n greets. We had an absolute blast and couldn’t have asked for prettier weather. I even held a Diamond-Back Rattlesnake!
On Tuesday March 29th I found myself back in the driver’s seat headed to Sandersville, GA. for the 3rd Annual Washington County Farm Bureau Rodeo. If I’m being honest, I have had the best rodeo committees a girl could ask for. Upon my arrival, I was able to meet with Mr. Eddy Turner, the chair of the rodeo committee, and we discussed plans for the days ahead and what all we would be doing.
Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit and speak to five different school groups in three different schools and speak to the First Baptist Church Youth Group later that evening. By far one of the most amazing dreamcatcher experiences I’ve ever had.
Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to speak at our Gold Sponsor Dinner and all I can say is wow. The response I received from speaking that evening left me with the most amazing sense of gratitude and humbleness that again you can only experience in a “dreamers dream.” I was even asked to sing “Walking After Midnight” for everyone.
Friday, I visited the Old Jail and Genealogy Research Center in Sandersville and the best part, they opened early just so I could come in and visit. Ms. Kayla, Loretta, Mr. David, and Mr. Parrish were an absolute joy to visit with. They even requested a private concert featuring “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Must have been a Classic Country kind of week! Want to talk about a plethora of history all in one location... this was it! Later that evening, we kicked off the first sold out performance of rodeo weekend. Little did we know Saturday was going to be even bigger! The question here is, are catching your dreams and seeing the amount of opportunities that are made available to us if we take the time to recognize them?
I’m often asked what it is like to be Miss Rodeo USA and how stressful is it to have everyone needing a piece of my time, calendar, or attention and how do I maintain it all. The funny thing is, my job and duties as Miss Rodeo USA maintain me, and it’s all thanks to two little words: investment and dream. Investment. Merriam Webster defines Investment as “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” My investment in to my “job” provides me with opportunities that open doors for my dreams to become reality. Not to mention the numerous doors it opens for the individuals I come in to contact with.
There are a multitude of stories I could tell to convey this point but there’s one in particular that stands out to me and made me completely stop in my tracks and say, “that’s a God moment.” While Tish, Jody, and I were meandering through the Fort Worth stock yards we came across an extremely young but talented female singer who was accompanied by no more than her tracked music and a single microphone. Her name was Sophia and she later told the crowd that she was just 11 years old! I noticed she was performing strictly for tip money so I walked up, placed a $20 bill in her bucket, and spoke to her father who had just come off the stage from performing a duet with her. I asked about Sophia’s history and found out that her mother was addicted to methamphetamine when she was born and that she had been adopted by the gentleman and his wife not long after. We spoke for quite some time and he asked would I sing a song with her. Without hesitation I said yes and next thing I knew, Sophia and I were performing “Does He Love You” in front of a packed crowd in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The most amazing experience of my life reflected an image of myself at age 11. It was like looking in a mirror with a sign that said, “Invest Here.” The ironic portion of this story is, I cut my first demo at 11 and have had individuals invest in me since day one. Wow!
The “Dreamers Dream…” A rare and fine occasion where one lives out the dreams he or she once dreamed of. There are dreams and goals everywhere, it’s a matter of do you recognize them and the opportunities that tag along with them. Get out there and be an investor of dreams. They’re waiting!
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022
Did you know that the month of March has a total of 744 hours in its 31-day span? By the time the end of March rolls around, it will officially have been 75 days and 1,800 hours since the day I was crowned Miss Rodeo USA. You know what the best part about that is? All 1,800 hours will have been spent loving on our sponsors, patrons, attending and working rodeos, setting up and attending meetings, signing hundreds of tear-sheets for rodeo fans across the U.S., setting and making Miss Rodeo USA history, and the best part, meeting new friends and rodeo family members along the way!
For the past 12 days, I have spent some of the best hours and minutes of my life promoting and advocating for the sport that I love and the Miss Rodeo USA Association. Not to mention, I have been extremely blessed with the opportunity to catch new dreams and invest in those of others.
On Friday March 4th, everything shifted in to 6th gear! I started the day off with meeting Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey, followed by a visit to the Alabama Cattleman’s “Moo-seum,” a brief lunch with my mom and then I turned the truck north-west and headed to Ozark, AR. Upon arrival, I began preparations for what was going to turn in to a phenomenal week of meetings. That Saturday, I was blessed to be asked to sing the National Anthem for the Ozark Chamber of Commerce 75th Annual Awards Banquet and was later asked by Congressman Bozeman and Congressman Tom Cotton’s representative if I would be interested in making a trip to Washington D.C. later in the year. (Insert your own amazing response here.) Obviously, the answer was yes and things continued to just get better and better.
Upon leaving Arkansas, I traveled on in to Claremore, OK where I had the chance to visit with some more of our amazing sponsors, swing back down through Muskogee to visit with and pick up my aunt, surprise my mom at the Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City, and finally wrapping a four day stay up with a first time ever invitation to present the colors and help run sponsor flags at the Cinch Timed Event Championships! Did I mention, Reba McEntire’s sister, Susie McEntire, sang the National Anthem the final night I carried ole glory in to the arena? Woooo talk about chills and an honor!
Today as we travel back to Alabama and I reflect on these “moments” in time, I’m reminded of how important a “moment” is to someone. A moment that two little girls will remember for a lifetime when Miss Rodeo USA stopped by on the rail after they flagged her down to just say hi and ask my name, to the older gentlemen and legendary cowboys who stopped me, after running frantically to get a hotdog, just to say hello and asked if I could wave to them on my lap around the arena, to finally presenting Erich Rogers with his first ever Cinch Timed Event World Championship check alongside some of the biggest names in the rodeo business… Folks, a moment matters. People matter and most importantly, you matter. You matter to those around you who have vested interest in seeing you succeed. Others may attempt to dim your light or even try to put it out, but remember, your dreams and your moments matter. So take the remaining 432 hours of March and invest in something that matters to others. You’ll be amazed at how God will use your talents and gifts to enrich and bless others!
Until we meet on the trail again,
Jessie Lynn Nichols
Miss Rodeo USA 2022