The 15th annual Sandy Oaks Rodeo in Edgefield, South Carolina was one for the books. Ed and Traci David were not only my host family for the weekend, but also work with Helios Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation Center, who sponsor theSandy Oaks rodeo. On Thursday we had a sponsorship supper at the rodeo arena where rodeo committee members, sponsors, the rodeo clown and specialty act gathered to fellowship together. We all exchanged stories about rodeo and I even got to share some of my favorite corny jokes! Once we got back “home” for the night, we made a game plan to visit sponsors in Appling, Georgia and Edgefield, South Carolina before the rodeo Friday evening. While visiting sponsors, Ed asked me if I knew who Paul Revere is. Of course I said yes, and when I asked why, he told me I would be meeting him. Thinking he was joking, I laughed it off, but later that day I got to meet Paul Revere who is the county sheriff, a pastor, and was a third grade teacher for 34 years. I made him show me his driver’s license just to be sure they were not pulling my leg. Along with sponsor visits, we spent some time visiting with the horses and workers at Helios Equine Rehab. If you are in the southeast and are looking for topnotch equine therapy for your horse, make your way to Helios. After sponsor visits, meeting Paul Revere, and checking out the equipment at Helios it was getting close to rodeo time. Ed let me take his new truck for a spin to the rodeo grounds, which was like Christmas for me. Once I got to the rodeo grounds, I met up with Pam Treadway of Treadway Rodeo Company, the stock contractors for the rodeo, who I have not seen since my first rodeo in February. After a quick catchup, we made our game plan and I went to hop on “Semi” her retired western pleasure AQHA paint. My job for the night was to run sponsor flags with Haven Jarman, the Miss American Bull Riders Tour Queen. I have ran sponsor flags all year; however, this rodeo I rode on four wheels instead of four legs. Haven was the best driver I could have asked for on the Kubota that carried the Helios Equine Rehab flag, even if we almost ran into the arena gates a few times.
Saturday morning was an early one for Ed, Traci and me. We switched things up and started our morning with a trail ride at Foxboro Farms, English style! It had been roughly a year since I rode English, and I had a blast riding the farm with a group of great people. Although I was in Ariat jeans and my Lane cowboy boots, I was having the time of my life riding English. After a morning trail ride and a quick bite at a local Mexican restaurant, we had enough time to change clothes, grill, and have steak before rodeo time in Edgefield. Saturday before the opening ceremony, a friend I met during last year’s Miss Rodeo USA Clinic, Brittany Baker, and her mom surprised me. All through the night, they would stop by my “horse” for the night, say hi, and share stories. Rodeo family is a unique and one of the best types of family to have. After passing out autograph sheets and talking with the people of Edgefield, I helped Haven load up and take care of horses and said my goodbyes to the Treadway Rodeo Company crew.
Be on the lookout for me in Northeast Tennessee with the Spur’n S Rodeo Company! We will be throwing down rodeo style in Mountain City September 10-11, so bring the whole family and enjoy our western lifestyle with us.
When in Rome, rodeo- right? That’s what Southern Rodeo Company and I did for the Rome Rodeo. The Brooks brought in some of the best stock and contestants along with top notch announcer David Sharp and funny man Dusty Meyers. I rolled in Friday night before the rodeo and was welcomed with the smiling faces of Southern Rodeo Company and SAY JR. rodeo princess miss temperance. After the opening ceremony I stepped off of “Roach” and was on my way talking with the crowd and passing out autograph sheets. Temperance and I both agreed a sno cone was necessary, one of us didn’t think through our flavor choices and ended up with a blue smile! (Check out the pictures to find out who). Friday night came to a close and Saturday was quick to follow. The whole rodeo group met up for lunch at a sponsor restaurant and we celebrated worker and friend Caleb Combs birthday with a whip cream fight in the parking lot! After eating we all made our way to the rodeo grounds, saddled horses and pushed cows before the rodeo. Before we knew it might 2 of the #RomeRodeo was underway. The arena was a little sticky from rain overnight but we were all ready to rodeo. The opening ceremony song “Wave On” played while I made my entry lap, and we had a trip in the ground but just as the song says we got up and waved on! The rest of the rodeo was a success and finished strong. Southern Rodeo Company finished yet another great rodeo weekend on a high note.
My next rodeo was one I had been anticipating since May when I first met announcer Jaime Osbrink and we did a promotional video for Blue Ridge, Georgia- “God’s Country” as Jaime likes to say. I was able to have my first round of school visits since May in Blue Ridge and was joined by Justin Hedrick pickup man for Hedrick Rodeo Company, but he wasn’t dressed in jeans. He joined me as the “rodeo clown”! After doing school visits at six different schools we stopped by a daycare to play with the kids. Some of the kids were excited over the clown and rodeo Queen coming. However, one wasn’t too keen on my rhinestones and crown. For the first time all year- I made a little kid cry! We came during snack time, the little boy decided he was over it and threw his spoon across the table and went into fussing. To say I was shocked is an understatement! We finished up with the daycare and stopped by the Dairy Queen for a blizzard! Friday before the rodeo we prayed for the rain to go away long enough for us to rodeo and it did! Friday night I was joined in the opening ceremony by the local Drill Team and ran sponsor flags throughout the night. Between two age groups of calf scramble for the kids, a women’s calf scramble, steer dressin and a boot toss I was one busy rodeo Queen during the rodeo all weekend! Saturday was another day of praying the rain away and barely sprinkled during lunch. The Hedrick rodeo crew and I were joined by Dan and his wife Robin Dailey who is a past Miss Rodeo USA! It was great getting to meet and talk to such iconic people in rodeo history. Saturday nights rodeo started with a bang and ended on a high note as well! Circle N Rodeo and Hedrick Rodeo Company put on yet another successful Georgia rodeo.
If you’re in the Georgia area and haven’t been to a rodeo yet, you’re in luck! This coming weekend I will be at the Sandy Oaks Pro Rodeo. As always, keep your eyes peeled for my American Hat, Ariat Jeans and Lane Boots on the rodeo road. Don’t be afraid to holler and say “hey”!
After the IFYR, I moseyed my way to Lincoln Co. Arkansas to Sherry Smith’s for a photo shoot with the newly crowned Miss Teen Rodeo USA, Lana Carter. Lana, Sherry and I spent the evening getting shots in our Lazy P Creations chaps. After having a few days of photography with Sherry, it was off to Huntsville Arkansas for the first -ever street dance and kid’s day. After dancing the night away and having ice cream for supper (thanks Leslie!), I headed to my host home and got ready for the next day of sponsor visits. Wednesday two rodeo board members, Leslie and Brooke, joined me and we drove all around Huntsville and neighboring towns saying thanks to the many gracious sponsors. We even were able to have some fun and make a TikTok dance video at Willow Brooke Farms. Thursday morning was an early start at the Kiwanis, Club. I was able to share my platform of Mentoring Matters along with what being Miss Rodeo USA entails. Throughout the day, we met with a local radio broadcaster and did live remote interviews at several different sponsor locations. While visiting with the White River owners, they mentioned toilet and bathtub go-carts. Me being me, I asked if I could take them for a spin! You can see videos from my time on the Miss Rodeo USA TikTok. Thursday evening we had slack, and I was able to help throughout the night. Friday was another full day of live remote interviews and driving around in our sponsored Ram truck before the first performance of the rodeo. Three other local queens who helped in the mutton bustin’ and passed out autographs during the rodeo joined me. I was horseback for the majority of the night, helping push cows and assisting with the calf scramble. Thank you Shawn Prater for letting me borrow Big Yella Friday night. I always seem to find palominos wherever I go. Saturday I was joined in the parade by Miss Teen Rodeo USA, Lana Carter, and we got to spend some quality sash sister time together before the rodeo. You can keep up with her by following the Miss Teen Rodeo USA Instagram and Facebook pages. Night 2 of the Madison Co. Rodeo, I was privileged to hop on “Percy” the black half quarter horse/mustang that I rode during the IFYR, as well as a paint of Brandon Harris’s. The whole weekend I ended up riding four different horses and each of them were superstars! We had our champion mutton buster announced and some great rides and runs during the rodeo. Being from Alabama, football is something taken seriously and the same goes if you are in Arkansas. I had the experience of ‘calling the pigs’ thanks to Jeff Lee bringing attention to the fact that I’m an Alabama fan. Sunday I got to relax with my host family and practice my roping skills for the first time on a tracking dummy and was able to catch at the lope! Thank you to The Reeds, Madison Co. Rodeo Committee, and sponsors for all you did to make this rodeo happen.
This past weekend was the highly anticipated Miss Rodeo USA Clinic. To say I was excited is an understatement. I was able to attend the clinic in Alabama last year as a participant, but was ecstatic to be a clinician at a new location at Jasper Springs Ranch in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Several past Miss Rodeo USA’s and board members were able to attend, along with some impressive cowgirls that wanted to be part of helping these young and upcoming queens advance their knowledge in the industry. We had 25 young ladies attend, along with parents and even had sponsors stop in during meals so the attendees could meet those who helped put on the clinic and support our organization. Thank you to all the sponsors who helped make this event the success it was! From a full day of horsemanship, modeling, rodeo 101, media interviews, hair and makeup tips, and even a photo shoot for each participant, everyone attending was sure to walk away with new and improved rodeo queen skills. We had attendees from 8-27 years old, and each person improved throughout the weekend. I can’t wait to watch the journey of each and every one of these queens.
I am now back on the rodeo road to Rome, Georgia with Southern Pro Rodeo, loaded down with my Ariat denim and Lane boots for both inside and outside the arena.
July has been nothing short of thrilling for me on the rodeo road. I drove 11 hours, leaving my house at 2 a.m, for Fort Scott, Kansas to rodeo with Hampton Pro Rodeo. When I arrived, announcer Jeff Lee greeted me. After introducing myself, he asked where I was from, because he knew it wasn’t anywhere close by. He got a kick out of how I say my home state, Alabama-and didn’t let me forget it! After meeting Kevin and Gina Hampton and the rest of the Hampton Rodeo crew, we shared some homemade cookies courtesy of Gina, and I got a quick nap in before rodeo time. Friday night’s rodeo started with Ole Glory and I entering the arena on “Jessie”, an AQHA buckskin of the Hampton’s. The personnel kept the rodeo moving and before you knew it, the rodeo clown, Colten Ulmer, was up with his miniature horse “Rocky”. They gave the crowd a show to remember and left them cheering for the dynamic duo! The Calf Scramble was up next, and kids seemed to appear out of air to get into the arena for their chance at winning a gift card. Kids of all sizes got a little rowdy in the rodeo arena chasing calves, and all got a dollar for coming down! After bull riding, they even had a “money the hard way” challenge for the adults. Two brave souls got in the arena and tried to grab a ribbon placed between a bull’s horns for $500! The first performance ended with nobody badly hurt and people excited for the next night’s rodeo. Saturday morning the weather was not in our favor with tornado and storm warnings for the entire day. Thankfully, by showtime it had cleared up and all we had to worry about was not getting stuck in the mud. After the opening ceremony with “Jessie” I started walking through the crowd and saw familiar faces from the night before! Many rodeo fans wanted to see who the overall champions were for the rodeo, and if anybody could win “money the hard way”. Even though this rodeo was muddy, we still had the calf scramble for the kiddos and I HAD to join in! I was on kid un-sticking duty and had to do a little digging through the mud to find a few pairs of shoes, but everybody left with all their belongings and rodeo mud as a souvenir. After the Fort Scott Rodeo, the Hamptons and I both were off to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the International Finals Youth Rodeo.
The first performance of the IFYR Sunday in Shawnee came fast and the excitement was in the air. The richest youth rodeo in the world was underway with three arenas going at once. I had the honor to carry the American flag on Brandon Harris’s (pickup man) horse during the opening ceremony. Abigail Benz, media personnel for the IPRA, and I gathered contestants to do quick interviews with throughout the night. Even with three arenas going at once, the rodeo lasted for two hours! After driving all day and rodeoing through the night, I was ready for bed when the rodeo finished. Monday morning came early with the morning performance at 9 am. Each day, there is a morning and evening performance. In between performances, two of the youth board directors and I had the opportunity to speak at the Shawnee Rotary Club on how we got into rodeo, and our future plans inside the industry and out. In conjunction with the IFYR, there was a Miss Rodeo TEEN USA pageant, making history for the Miss Rodeo USA association and the IPRA. The girls checked in Monday night and settled their horses in during the nighttime performance. Tuesday morning I somehow managed to convince the announcers Jeff and Monty to let me help out in the crows nest announcing and writing times. They both were infatuated with my annunciation of Huntsville, Alabama. After the morning performance, I was able to join in and say “hi” to the 16 young ladies competing for the Teen title at the Shawnee mall where they had impromptu questions, interview and written test. Seeing a few familiar faces from Alabama was a treat, but meeting all the young ladies from across the country and getting to know them throughout the whole pageant was special. The contestants joined in for Tuesday night’s performance carrying sponsor flags during the opening ceremony. The girls were expected to be at each performance to fulfill their job of carrying sponsor flags as well as daily portions of the competition. Wednesday after the morning performance, I dropped off the horse Brandon Harris let me ride and he stopped me as I was walking away and asked if I had any of that “glitter stuff” for Friday night’s championship go around. I told him I didn’t have any, but I could get some ASAP! His daughter Harley and I were in brainstorm mode for what we could do to “Percy”, a Percheron and mustang cross. Wednesday was a “fun” day for the girls, judges and myself as we joined together for a paint party courtesy of Tish Ross. A few of the girls and I found out there was glitter and were able to spice up our paintings with a little bit of sparkle! One of the helpers asked us if we would like any, we all three looked at each other and said, “yes please!” You do not tell a rodeo Queen you have glitter, and expect them to turn it down. Wednesday evening’s performance was unique and special to the state of Oklahoma and rodeo. Governor Kevin Stitt carried the flag during the opening ceremony and national anthem. It was such an honor to have him there, showing he cared for rodeo, the youth and the impact they both have on the future of our country. Thursday was a big day for the contestants in the rodeo and the pageant. The top cowboys and cowgirls were battling it out in the final go around before championship day, and those not competing were shopping at the expo center where you could find any and everything rodeo and equine related. From clothes, hats, tack and even jerky, the expo had so many vendors that you could get lost in it! A huge shoutout to Drake with Shorty’s Caboy Hattery for touching up my American Hats and the girl’s. The rodeo queen contestants had to prep and get ready for speeches and modeling at the Ritz in Shawnee after the morning performance. To say I was excited to put on my brand new dress made by Brooke Wallace (Miss Rodeo USA 2020) and red Lane Boots was an understatement! Brooke truly worked wonders on my dress. I showed her a picture of a rock I found in a museum, and she brought it to life in the design of my dress. All the girls did wonderful through their speeches and looked stunning. Sherry Smith Photography, the official photographer and videographer for the pageant, was able to capture beautiful memories for each young lady. After speeches, the judging for the Queen contestants was complete, and they all relaxed a little more. Thursday night’s performance was fun, fun, fun for the girls as they were relieved to make it through the week. Friday morning’s performance had the top competitors in the final go before championship round and everybody was on the edge of their seat watching each event. There were record times including a 1.7 in breakaway! The youth of our industry are true rockstars. The Queen contestants and committee had lunch at Farmers Daughter where we got to fellowship and release some pre-coronation nerves.
Friday might have been my favorite day because it meant- glitter! Miss Harley, Brandon’s daughters and I went to town with the red, white, and blue glitter and ribbons throughout Percys mane, tail and whole body. Hairspray and glitter were flying but the final product turned out fabulous! Once Percy was ready for showtime. I was off to the coronation of the first ever Miss Teen Rodeo USA. I danced with the girls in line up and joked with them to help relieve any nerves. They all looked beautiful and cheered each other on as the awards were announced. Congratulations to Lana Carter for being the first ever Miss Teen Rodeo USA and all the young ladies who competed. After coronation, it was the championship round for the IFYR. The world champions for each event were crowned immediately after the rodeo, and the all-around cowboy and cowgirl were awarded their NRS Trailer.
I am now making my way through Arkansas; keep an eye out for my next blog to hear about my time with Sherry Smith in Lincoln and Hampton Rodeo Company in Huntsville, Arkansas for the 24th Annual Madison County Pro Rodeo!
After a few days rest after The Old Frontier Days Rodeo in Thomson, Georgia, I was back on the Georgia highway to Blairsville for the 10th Annual Blairsville Rodeo. Thursday evening there was a town market where over 60 vendors were set up. I met with Art Miller, one of the rodeo chairman, and Alysia Hargus, local and past IFR photographer and enjoyed the wide range of vendors including lemonade, real estate, boutiques and my favorite- the rodeo booth! The people of Blairsville were ecstatic to see the rodeo back in town and many already had advanced sale tickets. Once we were finished with the event, Art, his wife Debbie, and I stopped by a local Mexican restaurant before heading to the house. Debbie and Art were gracious enough to let me come crash at their place for the weekend and I was welcomed by three of the happiest dogs on Earth! Friday morning Art and I were off to the arena for a Facebook Live with the Chamber of Commerce Steve Rowe. We were joined by Dillion Gross-one of the coolest announcers, and talked about the rodeo and what the weekend would look like. Blairsville Professional Rodeo is in a covered riding arena that the local saddle club uses during the summer as well, so regardless of weather conditions, people can enjoy a dry night of rodeo action. After stopping by Chick-fil-a for lunch (another AMAZING sponsor), it was time to get ready for the rodeo. Circle N Rodeo, along with Hedrick Rodeo Company were hard at work making sure stock and workers were ready for the night’s performance. Along with the standard rodeo events, Blairsville Pro. Rodeo has a drill team presentation, trick riding, kids’gold rush, kids and women’s calf scramble, steer dressin’, a horseshoe toss to win brand new truck, and a drawing to win a pair of Durango Boots. To say we had a full night ahead was an understatement!
The rodeo began with the Kids Gold Rush, and once I was finished helping wrangle the ‘littles’ back to their parents,I rushed to my horse for the opening ceremony. The rodeo started with Sass- n- Saddles Drill Team doing a presentation, then went into the official opening ceremony where I was honored to lead with the American flag,followed by each branch of the military and a first responder’s flag. Once we stood at post, USAF First Sergeant Matthew Miller led a group of service men and women along with a flag pole and raised the American flag while Dillion Gross shared “The Ragged Old Flag”. There was not a single person seated as the ceremony proceeded, and by the end of the national anthem, people were cheering loudly for our country. The patriotism displayed at our sport is something that always gives me chills. Throughout the night, I ran victory laps along with a drill team member and the winner of each event. It was such a joy to have another girl with me behind the chutes to sing along to songs and enjoy the rodeo!
Saturday morning at the rodeo arena, it has become tradition that we have a big breakfast for all the rodeo workers, staff and families. We enjoyed some of the best handmade biscuits and gravy along with fresh fruit, and of course bacon! It was a great time getting to relax with everybody and enjoy each other’s company. Saturday night the crowd turnout was astonishing, even with a little rain. After another heart- felt ceremony, it was rodeo time. Dillion and clown entertainment Heath “The Dancing Cajun” were at it again making the crowd laugh and inform them on the rodeo. It was another great rodeo where I added many great memories. Thank you to Blairsville Professional Rodeo for welcoming me with smiles and open arms.
Packed down and loaded after the Limestone Sheriffs Rodeo, I made my way to Richmond, Kentucky for the Madison County Pro Rodeo put on by Spurn S and JR Drake. I started my time in Richmond Thursday doing a radio interview with local station “The Coyote” and got to talk about not only the upcoming rodeo, but also how rodeo is a family event where whether you are a seasoned spectator, or it’s your first, you’ll have a blast! After my radio interview, JR and I spent the evening at Texas Roadhouse, one of the main sponsors for the rodeo. I passed out free kids tickets and autograph sheets, and answered questions people might have had about the rodeo or for me! One family I met even had a graduate from the University of Alabama and we shared a “Roll Tide” before saying bye. The majority of people I spoke to had not ever been to a rodeo before, but by the end of our conversation, they had their nights cleared so they could make it! Friday morning there wasn’t anything scheduled for me to do, so I joined in at the arena helping set up for the night’s performance. While helping set up at the T-shirt and toy tent, the Madison County Firetrucks came in to hose down the arena. After watching the boys struggle to hold the hose for a few minutes, one of the women who work at the tent dared me to go up and ask if they needed help. Without skipping a beat, I walked up and asked! Sure enough, they took a break and let me handle wetting the arena down for a little. I will say, it was not as easy as it looked but it was still a blast! Once the arena was worked, it was time to move cow. I joined in on horseback with Ronnie, Wes and my new favorite little cowboy Ren. Ren and I determined we were the better team pushing cows and could go pro. Once the cows were taken care of, it was time for me to get rodeo ready. The first performance was such a hit that Saturday we brought in more bleachers! At the rodeo there werepony rides, toys and shirts from the Swag Tent and a tent set up for Line-X, another big sponsor to the rodeo. Line-X had corn hole and goodies for people to enjoy before the rodeo and during. After talking with the Line-X workers Friday night, I was excited to spend Saturday morning there for free burgers and pony rides. The bullfighters, pick up men and the one and only Mighty Mike Wentworth joined me at Line-X for meet and greets. Although this is technically work, we always have time for fun, and I joined in with a few kids playing corn hole. I told them to go easy on me because I do not really play, or know what I am doing. I spoke too soon because I ended up being 3-0 with different people on my team each time! We all decided after my year as Miss Rodeo USA, I needed to join a corn hole league. I had a quick break to eat, then it was time to rodeo! The final performance of the Madison County Pro Rodeo could not have gone better. Even with bringing in extra bleachers there were people standing to watch the rodeo. The stock, cowboys and entertainment were all top quality and put on a show everybody loved. Thank you to Jon, Wes and JR for letting me be a part of this event!
I had a week until my next event in Hiwassee, Georgia and found residence with the Hedrick’s of Hedrick Rodeo Company for a few days before my time in Georgia. I told them whatever they needed help with I was willing to try, and they took that seriously! I learned how to work a skid steer and excavator and helped with dirt work on the farm. When I told my Mom, she said “Oh no! Please do not break anything your insurance doesn’t cover this!” After a few (maybe several) learning curves, they set me loose and had me work on my own. I would not say I amready for hire, but I didn’t break anything! Along with learning machinery, I helped bring in hay.
After working with the Hedricks for a few days, I was off to Hiwassee to Southern Rodeo Company and their rodeo located next to a lake. Friday when I arrived, I sawmany familiar faces, along with many new ones. As the start of the rodeo got closer, we noticed the weather was quickly shifting from warm and sunny to cloudy. The forecast called for rain, rain and more rain all night! About 20 minutes before start time, it came a monsoon and my old and new friends all huddled under the announcers tent together. A few of us made a run for the truck after a 20-minute delay was announced. We snacked on pretzels and hoped for the rain to let off enough so we could rodeo. Whether rain or shine, rodeos still go on! After a 45-minute delay, we started the rodeo. The rodeo fans in Hiwassee are something special, because several stayed in the rain waiting for the rodeo to begin, and those that went to their car came back. It was not a sold out night, but the stands were filled with enthusiastic spectators who were there because of their love for rodeo. Saturday we could not have asked for a better turn out. The weather was perfect, especially in comparison to the night before. Before the rodeo began, photographer Warren Petty and I grabbed a horse and walked over to a baseball field right next to the arena. Warren and I were joined by another cowgirl and cowboy and the three of us helped each other wrangle horses and wind to get the perfect shot. The rodeo began as scheduled, and the night went on thanks to Robin Brooks and his crew. Dusty Myers (the rodeo clown) and David Sharp (the announcer) kept the crowd entertained and informed throughout the night. They worked great together and the crowd loved them! Although it was muddy, there was still stiff competition and the times and scores in each event were competitive.
Once the night ended, I said my goodbyes and left,excited for my next rodeo with Southern Rodeo Companyin Shady Dale, Georgia this next weekend. After Shady Dale, I’ll be back with the Hedrick Rodeo Company in Thompson, Georgia. As always, keep an eye out for me in my Ariat denim, Lane boots and American Hat! If you see me, holler!
Being back home in the rocket city dif not mean a break for me. I had a few days to spend with my family and help a few younger queens get ready for Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo week. Then Friday and Saturday night I spent my time in Attalla, Alabama with the Double Creek Rodeo Company for the Etowah County Rodeo. My friend from home joined me on the rodeo road for the weekend. I was surprised to see so many familiar faces during the rodeo including both competitors and spectators. A few sash sisters competed in barrel racing, and I was able to meet new young ladies and share my rodeo queening experiences with them. After the Attalla Rodeo, I said my goodbyes and was back on the road to get ready for Limestone Rodeo week.
Rodeo week in Athens, Alabama starts the Saturday before the rodeo with a parade on the square. A specialthank you to Allen Craig for letting me borrow “Buck” for the parade. The following Monday was “Kick off into Rodeo Week” at the Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo Arena where there were free pony rides, karaoke, face painting, vendor booths, and carriage rides. Thank you to Stan Smith for letting me take over the wagon rides for a few rounds during the evening. Tuesday Abigail Benz, 2020 Miss Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo, 2020 Little Miss Limestone OraLee Madison, Mighty Mike Wentworth- the rodeo clown, and I started our morning early with school visits. Later that evening was the iconic street dance! The Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo street dance is an event I have been going to for ten years now and it is always the highlight of my year. From two stepping to the cowboy cha-cha to swing dancing and line dancing,the Limestone Street dance is an event where everyone can feel included. My family came out to enjoy the dance and fashion show where the queens showcased their western fashion forward outfits. I decided to go ‘full USA’ and wear my red white and blue Lane boots with black leather pants and black leather shell, topped off with my favorite red leather Scully T-shirt jacket and trusty white American Hat. After a night of dancing, Wednesday morning we were all off to school visits again and we added 2020 Jr. Miss Limestone Anna Leigh. Thursday morning, Abigail, Sheriff Blakely and I were joined by two contestants in the Miss division for a radio segment. Abigail and I were able to promote not only rodeo, but also rodeo queening and the friendships made that will last a lifetime. After visiting with the radio station, we stopped by the Spring Park for a Senior Citizens Park Day and played with baby ducks, and grown ones too .Once we were finished making our rounds at the booths and vendors at the park, it was time for us to go to watch‘slack’. Slack is a part of the rodeo where the overflow of competitors who are not in the performance compete. Friday was not only the first performance of the rodeo,but also the first day of the Miss and Sr. Miss division for the rodeo Queen pageant. Friday’s performance was a sell-out. Although Limestone has been voted the largest outdoor rodeo of the year several years in a row, this was the biggest crowd I had ever seen! Abigail and I took turns running sponsorship flags throughout the rodeo performance and had a blast. The horsemanship portion of the queen’s contest started bright and early Saturday morning. My trainer Judy Darnell brought a horse for Abigail to set the pattern on, and they surprised me with one of my favorite horses, Tater, who I have not had the opportunity to ride in months. The final judged event for the girls was the Luncheon. The Limestone Luncheon is a fundraiser for the queen’s pageant, where the Miss contestants share their speech, model, and answer impromptu rodeo and personality questions. The luncheon has always been a highlight to me because it allows the girls to showcase their skills in front of an audience. The final rodeo performance and coronation for the new Miss Limestone Sheriff’s rodeo was shortly after the luncheon. The rodeo sold out Saturday night, and for the first time in quite some time had to turn people away.
Each night of the rodeo, before the opening ceremony,there was a special segment in honor of Debbie Blakely. Queens, as well as her family placed a rose on a saddle while a riderless horse was led around the arena. Debbie was not only the pageant director and Sheriff’s wife, but also a coach to championship basketball and volleyball teams, a friend and mentor to many. Debbie helped me personally throughout my years as a younger division titleholder and taught me about not only rodeo queening but life. Debbie was a person who loved everybody and treated all with the same kindness and love that she showed her own family. Being a part of the Limestone Rodeo as Miss Rodeo USA was a dream come true for me, and I cannot wait to go back as a spectator or competitor in future years.
Keep your eyes open in the Richmond, Kentucky and Hiwassee, Georgia the next two weekends! I will be in myAmerican Hat, Ariat jeans and Lane boots, on the road and in the arena.
Page Page I may have to find residency in Georgia with how much I am traveling there! Statesboro definitely made me feel like I was at home with the welcoming staff at the Spring Hill Inn and Suites, along with the community as a whole. I started my week off right doing sponsor visits around town and meeting the people who support the rodeo. After visiting with a few sponsors in the morning, KC from KC Lashes did my eyelashes so I would be bright-eyed all week! The Statesboro Kiwanis Club Rodeo is a fundraiser for the children in the community and it was a truly special experience going to after school programs throughout the week and telling them about both the rodeo and my platform; “Mentoring Matters”. All the kids were excited for the rodeo and learned how they can be a superhero (mentor) by encouraging others to reach their goals. Meeting Freedom, the bald eagle, and other wildlife animals at the Georgia Southern wildlife refugee has made my top five memories of the year! When I was younger at the “birds of prey” shows, I always thought they were putting the birds on display for me to pick which one I wanted, and I always chose the bald eagle! Day in and day out, the Statesboro Kiwanis Club kept me busy meeting and visiting people and unique places in the area. The rodeo does all sorts of events in the community leading to the rodeo. There was a ribbon cutting, a day of recognition for the rodeo, and a day at the local western general store, Anderson’s, where we had a “guess the weight of the bull”! A few of the unique places we ate at was Vandy’s, a BBQ place that’s an iconic must stop restaurant in downtown Statesboro and Bull and Barrel, a steak house that had recently opened downtown. Both places did not disappoint. On Friday before the rodeo, Kiwanis President Ashley and I stopped by Sno in the Boro and picked up sno cones to surprise the rodeo and Kiwanis members prepping for the rodeo. We had two nights of SOLD OUT rodeo. Friday and Saturday night Rob Gann, the rodeo clown, and I were joined by a young lady named Ireland who has been living with a blood condition but is determined to live her life to the fullest! She has been a part of the rodeo for 5 years now and I was honored to get to spend time with her this weekend. Saturday before the rodeo, Rob and I cut loose a little and had a foot race after the gold rush. I’m not saying he won- but I want a rematch! All the advance tickets were sold before each performance began. After saying bye to my new Statesboro family, I was off to Wetumpka, Alabama for the FFA Alumni Rodeo.
Once arriving at my home for the week with Jamie, Ricky and Dani Loeb, I knew I was going to have a fun filled week. Dani is the first person from the state of Alabama to make the U.S Ski Team in Ariel skiing, and she’s only 19! Dani is from the Wetumpka area and joined in with school visits where we talked to kids about rodeo and shared a combination of our stories. Dani was told several times that she wouldn’t make it to where she is today because of where her athletic career began, as a gymnast, not an Ariel skier. However, she continued to work hard and is achieving the goals she has set. While talking to the kids about our stories, we worked in how I am the first generation cowgirl in my family thanks to the mentors in my life, and that no matter what your dream, goal or aspirations in life are, you can achieve it by being dedicated along with the importance of encouraging others. Dani and I did this all week and even got a boat ride in during some down time and saw a wild bald eagle nesting! During the rodeo Dani was a part of the famous TJ Williams specialty acts and recognized during the grand opening. Thank you to Sid McKissick for running around and putting up with Dani and me cutting up during rodeo week! Between the last two weeks, I have met and made some amazing people and I am honored to call them my friends now.
I am home in North Alabama and I am getting ready for the Attalla rodeo along with my “home-town” rodeo, the Limestone Sheriffs Rodeo! Keep an eye out on my Instagram and Facebook for pictures and real time updates on my travels!
My time at the Washington Co. Ag Rodeo was nothing short of a blast. Before the rodeo on Friday and Saturday evening, I was fortunate to share my platform “Mentoring Matters” in a few different settings. The local private school and the rotary club both welcomed me with open arms! Thursday morning I started my day off with the rotary club. After discussing my platform and the importance of mentoring in the community, I mentioned that I was going to the local private school. The public school superintendent then asked if I could come by the following morning to elementary school classes. Even though it was not on my schedule, Eddy, the rodeo chairman, and I made sure I had time to go by and talk to classrooms. The children were very excited to see a rodeo queen and learn more about mentoring. In between my sponsor and school visits I was able to visit downtown Tennille and enjoy some of the local restaurants. My favorite stop was an ice cream parlor where I enjoyed strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Friday night’s rodeo performance was a hit with the Hedrick Rodeo Company.This rodeo did something unique after calf scramble: they put all of the participant’s names in a hat and drew for a bike. They did this both Friday and Saturday night and handed out one bike for a girl, and one for a boy. The Washington Co. Ag Rodeo is all about community and giving back. Saturday afternoon before the rodeo, we had a special visitor stop by the grounds. Mason, a young boy diagnosed with cancer, came out for a surprise private tour of the rodeo grounds and animals. Tractor Supply even brought him the ultimate Easter wagon that was filled with toys with his favorite being a nerf gun. At first, Mason was shy about being around so many strangers, but once he got his hands on the nerf gun, he came to life,taking a shot at everybody! I felt honored to be his bullet holder and help him reload for the next victim. Often in the life of a rodeo queen, it is all about the kids. Speaking of being “all about the kids,” my next rodeo was in Tuscumbia, Alabama with the Tennessee High School Rodeo. The association put on a performance open to the public in honor of Ross Hill, an iconic rodeo bullfighter. I was able to catch up with sash sister Hannah Hungate, the Tennessee High School Rodeo Queen, who I originally met at a clinic in 2019. Hannah introduced me to three girls who will be competing in the queen’s contest for Tennessee High School Rodeo and I got to give them a few words of encouragement and advice. The rodeo performance was a FULL house, and I even got to see former Miss Rodeo USA Leslie (Burgreen) Waldrep, who was a judge during my first time competing for a Miss title. Along with meeting new friends and catching up with current Rodeo family, I also carried the American flag during the opening ceremony. After the National Anthem played, rodeo announcer Jaime Osbrink got the crowd amped up while introducing sponsor flags carried in by high school contestants. I was honored to also do the final fly by with the American Hat Company flag. The rodeo performance was a great success. I did not stay away from Hannah for too long as my next rodeo was in Cookeville, Tennessee with the Lone-star Rodeo Company. I appreciate the Hungates opening their home to me for the weekend. The Lonestar Rodeo had three performances between Friday and Saturday. I was joined by Miss Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo Abigail Benz and we spent the weekend enjoying rodeo and talking with fans at the rodeo. Between rodeo performances on Saturday, a group of us ladies packed into Abigail’s jeep to run and get some caffeine. One of the vendors at the rodeo happened to be a family that has a daughter who competes in Tennessee High School Rodeo. I had met them the weekend prior, and it was a great coincidence to see them again and cheer on both their daughters who were competing Saturday night in breakaway and barrels. They say “sleep is for the weak,” but Rodeo Queens say “we don’t sleep for weeks!” Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on my next stop- Statesboro, Georgia. As always, I look forward to giving you a morein- depth look at my travels in my next blog.
Congratulations to anybody who guessed Brunswick, Georgia as my destination in my last blog! I hit the road after a storm in Huntsville heading to Brunswick and did not get there until two in the morning. Late night travel is often a way of life in the rodeo world. When I finally got to the hotel in Brunswick, I was shocked to see MY name on the television screen in my room! Maybe I just need to go to more hotels, but I have never seen that before. I spent my time in Brunswick visiting sponsors, doing radio interviews, dolphin watching and enjoying the rodeo and community. While there, I visited with Stambaugh Aviation and received a tour of the facility where they repair the inside and outside of planes for people all across the country. During my visit to Brunswick, I learned a few things. The shrimp is, and I quote, “THE best shrimp you will EVER have”. This is because there is a sugarcane-like marsh that results in the shrimp from this area having a sweet flavor. I also learned that on Jekyll Island there is a center for rehabilitating sea turtles. I ran into Tiny Miss West Point Whitley Slaton and her family while touring the sea turtle rehab center. After visiting with the turtles, my chaperone Terri and I headed out for an exciting dolphin tour. Before that day, the closest I had ever been to a dolphin was on television. We had some luck riding with us on the boat and not only saw one dolphin, but a whole pod! It was a great way to end our trip to Jekyll Island and head back to the rodeo grounds. Both performances of the rodeo were wonderful thanks to the hard workers with Hedrick Rodeo Company. The nights were filled with fair rides, food, trucks, trick riding, and top rodeo competitors of the IPRA (both two legged and four). I came home from Brunswick with special memories that will last a lifetime.
After a short trip home, I caught a flight to Dallas Fort Worth to experience Dallas Market. When I arrived at the airport, I learned my flight had JUST been cancelled due to weather. Talk about stressed! I was so thankful my Mom came in to see me off for my first flight as Miss Rodeo USA, because she was able to help me book another flight and I was on my way in just a few moments. When I was boarding the plane, I had somebody ask me if there was an animal in my hat can. I giggled and told them no, it is my cowboy hat. Not even a minute later, we heard a cat meowing. I had ALL eyes on me and people were wondering how I had fit a cat in this dome shaped tin. Once I landed in Dallas, I met up with Miss Rodeo USA Chairman, Beth Weldon, and we hopped in the car to go to Fort Worth to catch some shuteye. A huge shoutout to Missy Bonds for welcoming us into your home. The next morning Beth and I met up with two other board members and we toured American Hat Company and learned all about the hand made quality that goes into American Hats. After touring and seeing all the love, passion, and thought that goes into each cowboy hat, we stopped by The Best Hat Store at the Fort Worth Stockyards. I picked out two hats and had them shaped by one of the best in the business. Special thanks to Danny Adams for keeping me looking sharp! Meeting Keith Mundee, the President of American hats, our tour guide Connor, and Danny (the best hat shaper ever) was a true honor as American Hats is the official hat sponsor for Miss Rodeo USA. We also stopped by NRS World and had a tour of the famous ranch where I learned they do a whole lot more than sell everything western. From cabins, events and shopping, I could get lost in NRS for days. The next day was Market day. Although we did manage to work in a little shopping, we were there to meet some of our amazing sponsors of the Miss Rodeo USA Pageant and organization. We began our morning stopping in to visit Tammy Taylor with Double T Sale, and then went next door to Lane Boots, our NEW official boot sponsor! I cannot wait to share my beautiful collection of Lane boots. After being in awe of the selection of Lane Boots, we were off to see some other sponsors. We visited with Paige Wallace Designs, Barbosa, Cotton and Rye, Dallas cosmetics, Camel Threads, and West and Co., just to name a few. At Market, we met many new supporters of the Miss Rodeo USA Association. Keep an eye on the Miss Rodeo USA Facebook and Instagram pages to see all the goodies provided by our wonderful sponsors. I am positive you will see something you just cannot live without. After Dallas Market was over, it was back on the plane to good ole Alabama to get ready for my next rodeo. Stay tuned for my next blog to hear about my time in Sandersville, Georgia with the Hedrick Family at the Washington County Agriculture Rodeo.