“Hello, I’m Miss Rodeo USA 2021, Kylee Campbell” - boy hearing myself say that, it still doesn’t feel real! Those who know me, know that being Miss Rodeo USA has been a goal of mine since I was 10. When I first dreamed of being a cowgirl and wearing a crown, I knew very little about all the hard work and preparation that goes into what it takes to wear the Miss Rodeo USA crown! Six days of being tested on your equine science, rodeo and current event knowledge along with prepared speeches and impromptu questions that could literally be anything; not to mention those beautiful outfits you get to show off! As I got older and realized all that went into being a rodeo queen, it just made me want it more.
I can truthfully say the Miss Rodeo USA pageant was an experience I would never want to trade. I met some of the best people from across our country thanks to this organization and made friends for life. The early mornings, late nights, and long days in between were made so much easier thanks to the support and camaraderie between the girls I competed with. That’s what rodeo is though, a sport where you give your competitor a leg up when needed and push them to be THEIR very best no matter the outcome. During the whole competition we all built each other up and we were there for one another if something didn’t go as planned. Before coronation I was expecting to have all kinds of nerves running through me- those didn’t hit until they were announcing placings! Instead I just thought “This is my 10-year-old dream coming true. I made it to the Miss Rodeo USA competition, I’m at the infamous Lazy E and have learned so much about rodeo and myself from my experiences through rodeo queening.” I didn’t have nerves, I just was soaking up every detail of the rodeo, the rodeo competitors, the fans, the lights and announcers. I didn’t seem to be worried about placing because I knew I did my absolute best and was proud of the improvements I had made on my rodeo queen journey.
When you hear people say “it’s a whirlwind once you are announced as Miss Rodeo USA” they aren’t lying!! I had so much adrenaline and emotions running through me, I felt like I just ran a 5K! Shout out to Heather Morrison (Miss Rodeo USA 2019) for making sure I downed two glasses of water- it was needed! I was fortunate to have my Grandparents, Mom, and step-Dad along with my second mom who I call Mama Juju and her husband. Although my whole family wasn’t able to make it out, my best friend who I met through rodeo queening years ago ,surprised me during the first performance. Again, you make friends for life in this ‘biz! After the Gold Buckle Presentation, announcement of World Champions, and contract signing it was off to Arkansas for me and my best friend who surprised me to have pictures done with our pageant photographer and sponsor Sherry Smith of Sherry Smith Photography. I’ve never had an actual full on professional photo shoot and Sherry made my first experience one I will remember for a lifetime! Normally after pictures girls will go home and try to catch up on sleep, apparently, I like to be on the road. I drove home to grab some extra clothes, and then headed off to Jackson, Mississippi! With Johnny and June playing on my radio I was rockin’ and rollin’ down the highway! Keep an eye out for my next blog to hear, or rather read, about my adventures in Jackson!