Adventures on the Road Again!
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.
From the East to the West!
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.