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