January 26th was my 22nd birthday and along with all the excitement of turning 22 I also had a fashion show to attend and as Miss Rodeo Topeka. So off to Topeka to Roy Frey Western Lifestyles I went, getting all dressed up and pretty for the Jackson County Livestock Association's meeting in Holton. After picking out a gorgeous turquoise leopard top, Cruel Girl jeans and Ariat boots I was set. I then headed to Holton, Ks and changed into my outfit. After everyone arrived several cowboys and cowgirls joined me in modeling our Roy Frey' Western wear. I gave a small speech about our Topeka Pageant including what it took for me to receive the crown, and then passed out discount coupons to Roy Frey's. Afterwards I received a complimentary steak dinner with chocolate ice cream for desert. I was one happy cowgirl and it was a great way to celebrate my birthday!
This past weekend was one of the greatest I have ever had. I cannot even begin to express the excitement and joy that came out of such a once in a lifetime experience at the Kansas Horse Council's Equifest event in Wichita.
I arrived Thursday morning with my drill team and began to get Skeeter settled into her stall. Our team began to ecorate our stalls and didn’t leave till about 11:30pm. We had a really elaborate Old West town theme that included special stall fronts for each stall.
In addition to all of the excitemet of building our stall area I also received my custom sponsored chaps from Russ Brown of R Bar B in Topeka! They were absolutely gorgeous, and done just in time for the weekend. The next three days I performed a total of 10 performances with my team, all amazing and each one better than the previous.
On Friday I was asked to be a “celebrity performer” in the cowboy drag race by Rusty Walker of 94.5 Country, who was also in the race. Now I have learned in the sport of rodeo to never say no to an opportunity, but I had no idea what I had just signed up for. After carrying the American Flag for the opening of the cowboy drag race I was then instructed to “watch carefully” because I would be completing the same course in a matter of minutes. The course consisted of a drag strip Christmas tree light, which you were supposed to watch and go on green. Once the light hit green you had to go down around a barrel, do two roll backs at the fence, run through the barrels at the end, jump a high jump, run around the barrel, stop back up and then cross the finish line. Now, Skeeter had never actually jumped before, so you can imagine I was a little nervous. But as soon as that light turned green, Rusty Walker and I were racing to the finish. I floored it around the course into the rollbacks and made for the jump. No spurs needed here I went straight over, my legs flapping out with surprise. It may not have been a pretty jump but we left it standing in one piece. Skeeter and I won the celebrity division, knocking out two other celebrity cowboys and earning us a “ Get em’ Cowgirl!” from the event sponsor.
What really made my entire weekend was the feeling of achieving a dream of mine I had since I was 10. I have had the goal to carry the American Flag since my very first Equifest. I cannot express enough how much it meant to me to be sitting there atop Skeeter, the whole crowd with their hands over their hearts looking at that beautiful American Flag we were presenting. Saturday night I was asked to carry the flag again, this time for the Ranch Rodeo. After all the cowboys had lined up in the arena, and we paused for a little Rusty Rierson sing along, Skeeter and I were ready to be let in the arena. Our instructions were simple, pray with all the cowboys in the middle and when the song angry American came on I was to walk with the flag and then to floor it when Toby Keith "... it’s the American way..” And that’s exactly what Skeeter and I did. It seemed like ages waiting for those words to come, but when they did we shot out of the dirt and made 2 laps around with the crowd screaming louder than I’ve ever heard. I got goose bumps, wanted to cry tears of happiness and couldn’t stop smiling! I had had the greatest day ever. As if all of this wasn’t enough to make one cowgirl happy, I still had Sunday left. I went around and signed autographs, hung out at the Roy Frey Western booth, met some really sweet little cowgirls, met Rusty Rierson in person and even took a picture with him! Equifest weekend truly was a blessing and I am honored to have represented Miss Rodeo Topeka there.
Skeeter and I were on the road again in December, this time back to my hometown area. We dressed in our warmest and most festive holiday outfits and were off. Skeeter even wore antlers for a little bit. After a chilly but quick ride down Main Street collecting canned food from all the major businesses our group, the McPherson Saddle Club and the Silver Buckle Drill Team, headed back to start pony rides and collect more canned food and donations for the local shelter. By 5pm the crowd finally died down and Skeeter was worn out, we had raised 3 boxes full of food and almost $200.00in cash. We then loaded back up and headed to Marquette, where I proceeded to string lights to Skeeter. We then rode down main, with a couple more layers on, and waved to the charming people of the town. My favorite part of this parade was at the very end, we got to ride though the nursing home driveway, just so the elderly could see the parade too.
This past weekend I attended to the CPRA finals as visiting royalty and sisterly support for my youngest sister who was competing for the princess title. Skeeter came with me again this time. We did queen runs, carried sponsor flags and enjoyed being visiting royalty instead of having to compete! The pageant gave me lots to do, each of the visiting royalty modeled in the fashion show and answered an impromptu question to keep us on our toes. Each of the contestants did so well, nobody was sure of who was going to bring home the crown. After a long weekend Mikaela Brackney, Krissie May and Katelin Farney were all crowned CPRA Royalty.
The next appearance I made was at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Ks. I was already performing with my traveling drill team and in my down time this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the Miss Rodeo Topeka Pageant name out there. I visited many western and tack stores. I even milked a plastic cow in one of the many expo centers. I met many new people and had fun, even though it started raining. Seems to do a lot of that when I have been wearing my crown and sash! After a quick hat change, I stopped by the petting zoo and made friends with a camel who had an eye for my crown. The Kansas State Fair treated me well this year!
What an honor it is to be the very first Miss Rodeo Topeka!
In order to receive the title I was judged in several categories including Appearance, Horsemanship and Personality. On Friday afternoon I demonstrated my horsemanship skills by executing a horsemanship pattern, carrying the American flag, performing a queen's run and answering questions related to my horse and equine science. I also was interviewed by the judges, answered impromptu questions and presented a prepared speech. Friday evening, August 24, Miss Rodeo Kansas 2012, Heather Temple, placed a bling crown on my hat, pinned a sash to my shoulder, handed me flowers and it was official - I was Miss Rodeo Topeka 2012. I was then off in a rush looking at flashes from the cameras and taking off to make my very first official Queen's run as Miss Rodeo Topeka 2012.
After this was completed it was onto night one of the rodeo, carrying the American Flag for the opening of the rodeo during the National Anthem. Throughout the rodeo the were sponsor flags to be carried and fly bys to be made by Miss Rodeo Kansas Heather Temple and Miss Teen Rodeo Kansas Erin Harvey. Friday night was spent with the one and only Rusty Walker of the Big Country 94.5 Walker Daniels Radio Show. Not only was Rusty great to talk to during live radio remotes and while carrying flags, she was very gracious to welcome my family and me into her home for the weekend. Thank you Rusty!
On Saturday August 25 there was rain and plenty of it. I was given the day to meet new faces and begin my reign as Miss Rodeo Topeka 2012. The day began with a pancake feed held at the North Topeka Saddle Club clubhouse. Rusty was on hand with her miniature horse, Shorty, and all of the little kids not only enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast but many got to sit on Shorty and to give him a good petting. High hopes for a dry day continued as Heather, Erin, Rusty, Shorty and I went to Roy Frey Western Lifestyles in Topeka. Jo and Duane Turner are the owners and are great supporters of the Topeka PRCA Rodeo. While at Roy Frey's we signed autographs and did a little shopping. We had lunch at Dickey's BBQ in North Topeka and then spent some time at the Brigg's Dodge dealership in Topeka.
After resting a bit in the afternoon we gathered at the arena to see what the night would bring. It had rained all day and as we all know rodeo doesn’t stop for a little rain, even though it was more of a downpour! After some major waterproofing and a silly looking poncho, Skeeter and I were ready for some wet rodeo action. We carried the American flag for the national anthem and then helped clear the arena of cattle during the Tie-Down Roping and Steer Wrestling events.
Even though it was one of the wettest rodeos I’ve ever done it was by far the most memorable and it will be an experience I'll soon not forget. I'm really looking forward to promoting the Big Country 94.5 Topeka PRCA Rodeo during the upcoming year!