From the home of Black Hills Gold, the Miss Rodeo America crown, and Mount Rushmore, this week we are talking to former Miss Rodeo South Dakota and Miss Rodeo America, McKenzie (Haley) Vice! This South Dakota native talked about her time as Miss Rodeo America including what her hardest challenge was of the year and how she overcame it.
How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants?
My grandparents have always been involved with youth rodeo in South Dakota and my aunt grew up competing in rodeo and queen contests. My aunt was Miss Rodeo South Dakota in 1994 and first runner up at MRA. I took an interest in horses at a young age and I entered my first 4-H horse show at age 8 and entered my first 4-H rodeo and first queen contest at age 10. I competed in 4-H rodeo and high school rodeo growing up and I ran barrels, poles, tied goats and competed in the queen contests.
You were the first Miss Rodeo South Dakota to be named Miss Rodeo America since 1985. How did it feel to bring the title back to South Dakota?
It felt amazing!! I am the fourth South Dakota girl to win MRA and it is such an honor to be among those other women from South Dakota! One of my favorite things about being MRA was being able to attend rodeos or events in South Dakota. It was such a cool experience to be a part of rodeos that I had been a part of as the SD high rodeo queen, Jr Miss Rodeo South Dakota, Miss Rodeo South Dakota and then Miss Rodeo America. It was such a humbling experience and an honor to be able to make the people of South Dakota proud and excited that I had won Miss Rodeo America.
Besides winning the title of Miss Rodeo America, what was your goal when you were competing?
I went to Vegas to win! I had dreamed of being Miss Rodeo America since I was 10 years old, so I worked my butt off before I got there to insure that I was going to do my best at the pageant! Besides winning, I really wanted to do it how I wanted to do it. I wore clothes that I loved and I remained true to who I was. I really wanted the judges to get to know me. In order for me to be relaxed during the pageant, I had to make sure I was overly prepared and had an attitude that allowed me to be real and genuine. I believe I accomplished that goal. I had a blast at the MRA pageant, and not only because I won, but because I was relaxed and allowed myself to have fun and enjoy the moment. I also wanted to win some categories while at the pageant! I ended up winning speech, photogenic, personality and appearance. It was such an honor to not only win MRA, but to win those categories!
It's been seven years since you were named Miss Rodeo America, what has life been like after the crown? How did being Miss Rodeo America prepare you for that?
I took the second half of my year as Miss Rodeo South Dakota and the whole year I was Miss Rodeo America off from school and in that time I decided to change degrees. With the new degree I wanted, I had to change universities and partially start over with classes. In January 2012, right after I gave up the title of MRA, I started classes to get a degree in Communication Disorders. My plan was then to get my masters in Speech Pathology. While I was in school, I started dating my husband and we got engaged. After I graduated, I moved to Oklahoma and we got married in June 2014. We now live in Blanchard, OK and we have two daughters. Mesa is 2 and Dawsyn is 6 months. I have the privilege of staying home with them and I would not want to be doing anything else! When I was MRA, I met a cowboy who was good friends with my husband and he told him he needed to pursue me. So if being MRA prepared me for life right now, Id say it brought me to my husband and I am so thankful for that! Id say it also prepared me for the little to no sleep you get as a mother. There were many times as MRA that I was running on little sleep and now as a mom Im running on very little sleep as well. Jesus and coffee can get you through anything!!
What was your most memorable moment from being Miss Rodeo America 2011?
Oh my goodness! There were so many memorable moments. Being at the Black Hills Stock Show as MRA was pretty memorable. Mainly because I had been going to that rodeo with various titles since I was 14 years old and to be there as MRA was such a humbling and amazing experience. The Days of 76 rodeo in Deadwood, SD has and will always be one of my favorite rodeos and that year I was given my own day. They presented me with "McKenzie Haley Day" at the rodeo and it was all a surprise. There were so many neat and once in a lifetime experiences I had that year and I am so grateful I had every single one of them. The state queens that year were so fun and they helped make any time into a fun and memorable experience! I was so blessed to not only have a great group of state queens for my year as MRA but the group we had when I was MRSD was unbelievable as well! There are a few girls who are still some of my best friends and that is such a testament to the friendships that come out of being a state queen!
Who inspired you to compete for Miss Rodeo South Dakota?
My aunt was Miss Rodeo South Dakota in 1994 and first runner up to MRA. When I started competing in queen contests, I always said I was going to be Miss Rodeo South Dakota and Miss Rodeo America. Having an aunt who was MRSD was really an inspiration and she played such a huge part of my success as a rodeo queen. I started living with her every summer starting when I was 14 so I could rodeo and have her to help me with all of it. I also lived with her the second half of my MRSD year and she helped me get ready for MRA. She started really "coaching" me when I was 14 and having all that help for all those years really prepared me for competing for MRSD and MRA. Because of the help that I received from her, I now love to help girls and give back. You can say she inspired me to become MRA and now has inspired me to help others achieve their rodeo queen dreams!
What was the hardest part about being Miss Rodeo America?
I feel my year as MRA is most remembered by that fact that I was different. That was the year that Wrangler was really pushing the Rock 47 jeans and they were more trendy than the traditional wranglers. So I was wearing more trendy jeans, I wore knee length dresses or skirts, my jeans tucked into tall, fun boots, lots of jewelry and at the time that was different and out of the ordinary. I also did not wear any dyed jeans during MRA pageant or during my year and that was also different. I got a great deal of praise for being different and for stepping out of the box and opening a door for other girls to do the same, but at the same time some people did not like it. So I took some heat for not being traditional and being unique. I would say that that was probably the hardest part of being MRA. Everyone has their idea of what MRA should look like and when I did not fit that image for some, I felt I was not received very well. I learned to ignore that negative opinions and embrace the positive and I did not let anyone take the joy of that year away from me. Now when I look at what rodeo queens are wearing, they are wearing short dresses and skirts, fun tall boots and they are stepping out of the box and allowing their own style and personality come out in their wardrobe and I love it! So if I helped the rodeo queen world see its ok to be unique and its ok to embrace your own personal style then it was all worth it!!
If you could give one piece of advice to girls who are just starting out in the rodeo queen world, what would it be?
My biggest piece of advice is to stay true to who you are. Every one is different and that is what makes you beautiful and helps you to stand out. If you try to stay inside the box, or be like someone else you are hiding who you are and that will hinder your performance. Being confident and open with who are and allowing yourself to be vulnerable while competing allows the judges to get to know you and if they feel like they know you, they will like you! My other piece of advice is do not think that you have to wear certain clothing to win. Wear what you want, have your own style, be creative and have fun with your wardrobe! Whether you are traditional with your clothes, trendy, unique or vintage, wear what makes you happy and what makes you feel confident! A confident and genuine girl always gets noticed!
So many times contestants often feel the pressure of fitting into a mold and I'm really glad McKenzie shared with us what is was like to be different and to stay true to yourself. To this day we still see some of the trends she wore during her year as Miss Rodeo America being worn by current competitors. Don't get caught up in the mold and dare to be different, who knows it may even lead you to winning that ultimate title you've always dreamed about. Thank you again McKenzie for sharing some insight on year as Miss Rodeo America, especially how awesome it was that you brought the title back home to South Dakota for the first time in 26 years!!
Until next time,
Miss ORA Pageant
Photos courtesy of: McKenzie Vice
Miss Murray State Rodeo, Miss Sunbelt Ag Expo, and Miss Rodeo USA. Those are the only rodeo queen titles this week's titleholder has ever held. She says it's not about how many titles you have won, it's about how passionate and determined you are! I would like for you to meet Miss Rodeo USA 2017, Brittany Howard! Brittany is from Kentucky and was the first woman to bring the title back to her home state in 50 years! Keep reading to take a glimpse into Brittany's year as Miss Rodeo USA!
How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants?
Growing up, I always had a love for animals! It was an easy decision to attend college where I could bring my horse and major in the Animal Health Technology field!
I attended Murray State University in Murray, Ky where I first saw their collegiate rodeo team. I joined their team my junior year and that is the first time I heard about their rodeo queen pageant. I had no idea what I was getting into, but thought that it was something I was most definitely interested in! I loved representing the team, Murray, and the greatest sport on dirt. That year 2014, I competed for the first time in the MRUSA pageant. I had no prior pageant experience, but walked away with memories to last a lifetime and friends that I will forever cherish!
What was your most memorable experience of being Miss Rodeo USA?
There were so many memorable experiences throughout my year as MRUSA. I don’t think I can name one but I’ll give you a few!
What has life been like since you gave up your title in January?
Life has been back to the real world since I gave up my title in January!! The Day after I handed over my title, I packed up and headed back to Kentucky! I was at work the next day and haven’t stopped working since! I have assumed my job as a Licensed Veterinary Technologist and am loving every minute of helping animals and enhancing their lives! I find time to ride my horses, play with my dogs, and spend time with family!
With being Miss Rodeo USA, you traveled thousands of miles throughout the country, what was one item besides your crown and sash, you made sure you always packed?
And then there was that one time when I left my buckle on a different belt at home... I’m not even kidding! Don’t worry, I turned around for that one! I had several items that I almost always had with me— a battery pack for my phone, tablet, cheese sticks, SNACKS! , and my trusty pair of twisted x loafers!
Our pageant gives our Miss ORA the opportunity to go on and compete for Miss Rodeo USA, what piece of advice would you give to girls who are unsure about competing at the national level?
My advice to girls who are deciding o whether to compete for USA— DO IT! Make the most of it and THIS time in your life!! You won’t regret it because regardless the outcomes, you will have had an incredible week, made lifelong friends, and lots of great memories! Never let the competition sway you from competing, you always strive to be the best you can be, stay focused, work hard, and never give up!
Who was one person you met during your reign that inspired you?
An inspirational person... my pageant director, Donnie. He inspired me to cherish the most out of every experience and to keep going and be the best person that I could be. He was a great impact in my year as MRUSA and I wouldn’t have made it through without him!
What's your favorite quote to live by?
“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals” James Todd Smith
Stay focused was my platform. Inspired after having a conversation in GA with their president of farm bureau who ended the conversation with “stay focused”.
There you have it girls! From a former Miss Rodeo USA, you don't a bunch of experience to win the big title. All you need is a lot of determination and hard work. One of my favorite parts from this is interview is the quote Brittany shared. How true is it that we get discouraged and lose focus of our dreams because we don't think we are good enough. Keep believing in those dreams and reach them! You will get there whether it takes you one try or thirty tries.
That's all for this week! Thank you Brittany for sharing some of your experiences with us!
Until next time,
Miss ORA Pageant
Photos courtesy of: Brittany Howard
As I sat in front of the gate on my paint mare, holding the American flag and wearing the ORA
Queen chaps that were graciously passed down to me, and hearing the announcer have the
crowd welcome me as their new royalty for the year... I felt what I have always tried to explain
to others about rodeo. Happiness and Excitement. The season had begun.
As I made my way around that arena and looked among the crowd, I could instantly tell that the
spirit of rodeo is still very much alive and well. With as much going on with progress in our
country and the “out with the old and in with the new”, it is an indescribable feeling to see the
smiling faces of fans that came to see the “the old” that I too had fell in love with growing up.
Rodeo is here to stay and represents everyday that the western way of life is a part of our
history as well as something to be respected and supported. I am proud of the people of this
organization working hard each year to bring that view I was able to see at the beginning of
each rodeo... that is what it is truly all about! I am very blessed to be able to influence and
promote the public about rodeo and agriculture through the ORA.
We raise that flag the start of each rodeo to remind us all why we are here and the great
country we are able to rodeo in. What a blessing it is to be in the arena each weekend in the
Land of the Free and as they say “It’s Rodeo Time”!
I can’t wait to see y’all at the next one!
I have been exceptionally busy since my regin has started. I attended the Daddy Daughter Dance in Kirksville, MO on Friday, April 27th. While there I was able to dance with the girls, take pictures, and sign autographs.
April 29th, we hosted a barrel race fundraiser in Bowling Green, MO. The day was a success, and we were able to watch some pretty competitive runs. After that our first rodeo was held at St. Clair, MO on May 4th and 5th. At the next rodeo in Desloge, MO on the 11th and 12th of May, we drew for the winner of our smartwatch. We also had a drawing for a cute cooler and purse, both which were stuffed with goodies. This drawing was special to me because the next day was Mother's Day, and some lucky ladies were presented with these goodies.
At these rodeos, I have carried the American Flag, and gotten to know some of the competitors. I know I speak for all of us when I say, we are all excited for this year to kick off and get full swing into rodeo season.
Miss Teen ORA 2018
Photos courtesy of: Rockin Rodeo Creations and Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Pageant
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
That's the Bible Verse this week's Titleholder lives by! From our neighboring state of Iowa, this week we have Heather Morrison, Miss Leon Rodeo! I met Heather in Oklahoma City this past January where she was competing for Miss Rodeo USA and I truly enjoyed watching her, not to mention she is one of the most down to Earth people you will ever meet! Heather walked away with a Top 5 finish as Second Runner up for her first trip to Miss Rodeo USA! I hope you learn a lot from Heather this week!
How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants?
I first became involved in rodeo when I was a senior in high school. The local rodeo had become PRO and they were going to have their first ever rodeo queen pageant. My sister and I had heard of it and decided to place a bet, whoever placed higher in the pageant would not have to do farm chores for an entire month! Of course that was a bet we were willing to wager! After the pageant I had decided that I loved the sport and all it had to offer and I was hooked from that point on.
Having previously talked to you at Miss Rodeo USA, you mentioned that you were a small town farm girl, what advice would you give to girls who think they can't compete in pageants because they aren't girly enough?
Never let anyone put words or ideas into your head that don't follow your heart. I was always told I was not good enough or that I didn't come from a rodeo family and would never be able to make it as a rodeo competitor or as a rodeo queen. I am living proof that that is incorrect, I have won four rodeo queen titles, placed in the top three at a national level, and have been a strong rodeo competitor when competing. You should always give it your best, sometimes us "small town farm girls" are very smart and most of the time we have been taught that hard work and dedication will take you further then most other things, and to never give up!
Why did you decide to compete for Miss Rodeo USA?
Miss Rodeo USA was not my dream, in the beginning anyway. I was going to be Miss Rodeo Iowa, that was my dream, that's what I had worked so long for! I had requested my application for Miss Rodeo Iowa and had soon realized that I had not kept up on the age requirements and had just missed the mark. Although I was devastated my coordinator for the title that I held at the time mentioned Miss Rodeo USA. Of course I had no clue what it involved or how I was ever going to make that happen, but just then I realized that I could do anything that I had set my mind to. I enrolled into the Miss Rodeo USA clinic, made the trip to Oklahoma, learned everything I could in those three days, and started my journey to a new dream! Not only did the Miss Rodeo USA title become my new dream but it also opened many new doors for me, I met so many wonderful people that I still talk to on a daily basis! I couldn't have asked for a better what I like to call a "blessing of a curse!"
What was your goal at Miss Rodeo USA besides winning the title?
Of course I wanted to win the title of Miss Rodeo USA! Eleven other girls, that's how many I competed against at Miss Rodeo USA. That was the most I have ever competed against in my life! I was a little intimidated sure, but I was not just going to lay down and be trampled on. So on the way down to the pageant I told my mother that I had just refused to let myself place any less then top five. I had worked so hard and so did she, my mother had spent the last several weeks designing and sewing my wardrobe for Miss Rodeo USA. I had placed it into my head that I was going to know all that I knew going into it but that was not going to stop me from pushing myself to do my very best in every event that came about throughout the week and so I did just that!
A lot of girls are intimidated to compete at the national level because they don't think they are good enough. What advice would you give them?
Well I know exactly how they feel! I was told by several people from all over that I was not good enough, I didn't have the last name, the right horse, or any horse at all, I didn't have the money or the wardrobe, and I didn't have the right title, or even come from the right state. Don't ever let any of the above notions or even anything else step in your way of your dreams. You only have one life, one time to shine and live it to the fullest so why not do it now! My mother made most all of my wardrobe for USA, what she didn't make I borrowed and that didn't make or break me at a national level. I have worked my whole life for all I own, in fact I worked three jobs before I left for USA but that's what I was willing to do to make my dreams happen. I don't own my own horse and to be honest I haven't owned my own horse in almost two years and the last two rodeo queen titles I have won were on borrowed horses. There is no obstacle for those who are determined to follow their heart! I hope that you don't give up on yourself for obstacles that may get in your way for just a brief moment in your long life!
What was your favorite moment from Miss Rodeo USA?
The entire Miss Rodeo USA pageant was a thrill of a lifetime. I was so blessed and I am still so honored that I was able to go and to be apart of that! If I had to choose just one moment from the entire week there that was my favorite I would have to say that it would be when all of us girls were standing behind the shoots waiting to go into the arena to soon find out who would wear the enviable crown. Even though we were all so tired and our hair had just finally been perfected after all the practiced we had that week there was a smile on every single girls face that stood behind the shoots. The committee smiled, the contestants, and even the rodeo staff was gleaming with joy! If there was a picture to capture that moment I would hope that someone would put that in a magazine as it was well deserved!
How did it feel to win 2nd Runner Up?
Wow, to be honest I am still in shock! I have never felt more accomplished or more rewarded in my life. Of course I had told my mother that I was not coming home with out top five but never did I actually believe that I was going to do it! When they named miss Sara Weeks third runner up, my first thought was "OH NO! I didn't place." I had thought that so many of the girls would place higher then me and of course we really had no idea as there were so many parts of the pageant that we did not get to see. Once my name was called I was jumping with joy I remember Garrett Yerigan (the announcer) says "2nd- runner up goes to Miss Leon Rodeo" and my feet had literally came off the ground as I threw my arm in the air to let everyone know that that was me! My hard work and dedication, my three jobs, my sponsors, and all that I had worked for had finally paid off!
Wow! What an incredible journey Heather has been on within rodeo queen pageants! This is a reminder that hard work and dedication is truly what is takes to reach your goals in life. As unfortunate it was that Heather just missed the mark for competing and hopefully becoming Miss Rodeo Iowa, something good came out of it and that was being 2nd Runner Up to a National Title.
We can't thank Heather enjoy for taking the time to do this interview with us because we truly appreciate it and I hope you girls who are reading this learned something and are inspired to keep on competing no matter what the obstacle may be!
That's all for this week's addition of Titleholder Tuesday!
Until next time,
Miss ORA Pageant
Photos courtesy of: Heather Morrison
We have some very exciting titleholders coming for you in the future and I am sure you are all anxious to find out who they are, but this week we have decided to switch gears and give you a tip on sponsorships! This is something I'm sure a lot of girls struggle with getting and even as a director I have had to learn how to get better with getting sponsorships. The main thing about sponsorships is it's a learning process and you will more than likely receive a lot of "no's", but trust me the "yes's" will be worth it!
So who better than to talk to about sponsorships than our very first sponsor, Sarah Kelsey, the owner of Rhinestone Lipgloss! This company is one that I am truly in awe of and I'm so thankful Sarah has been with us as our pageant grew and we got to watch her company grow as well. I'm telling you this is woman you want to see for earrings. I had the privilege of finally getting to meet Sarah in OKC after talking to her multiple times on Facebook. She is one of the most humble and genuine people you will ever meet in your life. She has been determined to make her dreams happen and she is such an inspiration to most. Keep reading as Sarah talks about her company as well as sponsorships and how to obtain them!
Photo by: Sierra Clausen Editorials
For those who don't know you or about Rhinestone Lipgloss, can you tell us a little about yourself and what Rhinestone Lipgloss is and how you got started in the business?
Sarah Kelsey graduated from The Ohio State University in 2011 with a degree in Mandarin Chinese. In the fall of 2014, she began exploring leather tooling and jewelry design; creating a Facebook page and setting up a small table at various craft shows and rodeos. After working as a translator in the Tool and Die industry, she left her corporate life at the suggestion of her husband, Roger, to pursue her hobby of jewelry design and leather tooling in February of 2015- and the rest is history. Since early 2015, she has placed work in 12 countries, countless rodeo queens, Miss America contestants, World Champion Barrel Racers, Horse Show Winners and hundreds of other gorgeous women.
Rhinestone Lipgloss has become a movement of motivation- proof that if you want it bad enough, you can make a living doing what you love, and never 'work' another day in your life. We hope you enjoy our story - and remember that every time you put on a pair of our earrings, you're holding tangible proof that you too can follow whatever sets your soul on fire.
What is the importance of shopping with a company before getting a sponsorship from them and even afterwards?
You need to have actual experience with a product before you endorse it; should it be a sub par product and you unknowingly sing its praises, your word will be less valuable- you were wrong on such and such a product so why should anyone believe you when you rave about the next one?
Photo by: Jemma-D
What do businesses look for when selecting someone to sponsor?
I am sure my criteria will be different from other businesses, but maybe not lol! So here goes:
For me, the ENTIRE purpose of sponsorship someone is ADVERTISEMENT for my company. I think this is true for anyone, however for us I don't care how much you have won/accomplished. In fact, as far as barrel racers go, I tend to like the 3/4 D girls because they are still hustling- sometimes when these girls get to the top they get complacent, and I don't like that. I want someone who it still humble and hungry. Note- Notice I said SOMETIMES. I don’t want someone getting their feelings hurt because they are in the 1D but still hustling- I know it takes works to say there. I’m just generalizing. Relax.
Check out their social media before offering them a spot- what kinds of things do they post? Are you comfortable with the brand you have worked SO hard to build being associated with their feed? Do they consistently tag other businesses who support them? You don’t want to have to babysit them and make sure they tag you, you want to know that they are going to take care of that on their own. You’re a business owner, not a babysitter
I know this sounds crazy, but when they contacted you (email, social media, whatever) did they take the time to proofread their message? If they aren’t committed enough to making a good impression with you, do you really think they will follow through with promoting your brand after like week three when the new wears off? Just something I have noticed.
I don't need a six page cited autobiography. Whereas I appreciate they took the time to be thorough, I don't have time in my day to read them. This brings me to the point of being concise- which I think is very important. Can they CONCISELY tell you their accomplishments? If so, chances are they can CONCISELY and EFFECTIVELY tell someone about your brand when they ask. No one wants to hear a drawn out infomercial on your sponsors, so its important to be able to communicate effectively.
As a general rule, if someone doesn't HAVE to do something they won’t, and by the same token, how can they do what you expect if you don't tell them? What do you expect of them? Three posts a month? Just one? Tagging three people a month in your post? Figure that out, and present that to them upfront, so if they aren’t comfortable with it, they can excuse themselves from your offer and no ones time is wasted.
What are YOU offering?
Free product? Discounted cost? A percentage off based on the number of referrals they give you? This one is my favorite- it takes a little work on your end, buts its the best indicator of who is hustling for you and who isn’t and you can choose to reward them extra if you like. This is how our girls earn their patches. Our patches are custom made, not just a circle or oval cut out, so they are pretty expensive- about $400 each time we order, so we cant afford to just ‘pass them out’, the girls have to refer THREE people who ACTUALLY PLACE AN ORDER to earn their patches. We aren’t like a lot of companies who just hand stuff out.
How do rodeo queen contestants know who to ask for a sponsorship?
The owner of the company is best; products that are beneficial to you and your title on a regular basis are the best to contact.
What is the best time to ask for a sponsorship?
With as much notice as possible. Keep away from October-December, as most western brands (including us) are preparing for NFR.
What is your number one tip for people who are looking for sponsorships?
The quality of their social media account. That's the main thing we look at when considering sponsorships-how will this person and their social media benefit my company?
Rhinestone Lipgloss is a very inspirational company to all of us and so are you because you are so determined to make your dreams happen and they are. What would you tell all of the girls who are looking to compete in pageants, that don't believe they can ever win the title or go on to the next level?
If you believe you are going to suck, you probably are. However, the reverse is true- so be mindful of that. If you dont love the process, the journey, you need to find something else. There is no end destination, and you won’t be a queen forever, so you need to step back and decide how the skills your acquiring during your pageant journey will help you in life after the crown.
Thank you Sarah so much for taking the time out your very busy schedule to do this interview with us! I hope many current and future and contestants can take away from this! Sponsorships are important for our organizations, but so is taking care of our sponsors! Support their business because they support you! Check out her website www.rhinestonelipgloss.com and her Facebook: Rhinestone Lipgloss
You can also use code: Norris10 for free shipping on your first order!
Until next time,
Miss ORA Pageant
Photos courtesy of: Rhinestone Lipgloss Facebook page
"It's always better to overdress than under dress."-Marjorie Murphy
I'm sure this next titleholder is one that you all have been waiting for. Former Miss Rodeo Texas and Miss Rodeo America, this week we have the one and only Lisa Lageschaar! Along with capturing the title of Miss Rodeo America, Lisa also took home the Written Test, Appearance, and Personality category awards! Keep reading to find out what her year was like, what she has been up to since giving up her title in December, and what she learned from the late Marjorie Murphy.
What was running through your head the moment you heard your name called as Miss Rodeo America 2017?
I honestly couldn’t believe that my name had just been called! I thought, “God, is this real?” I was so excited but shocked! Prior to the top five selection I was called tenth out of ten for the top ten selection, and began to wonder if I even placed top ten when the emcee had called out nine names and mine was not one of them. I know everything happens for a reason, but I surely thought I was supposed to be in the top ten. I stood there bewildered because I had a sense of peace before walking on the stage for the announcement of top ten, but that sense of peace quickly turned to a feeling of unease, then relief when my name was called! The roller coaster of emotions continued when I was called third in top five and then was shuffled backstage with the four other top five contestants to answer our final question. When the official results were being announced and I was still standing there holding Mikayla Sich’s (Miss Rodeo South Dakota 2016) hand after second runner-up had been announced it was like the top ten announcement all over again, but reversed!
What was one of your most memorable moments from being Miss Rodeo America?
I traveled to some amazing places and met even more amazing people during my year as Miss Rodeo America, but one of the most special memories was getting to be a part of Rodeo Austin. If it wasn’t for Rodeo Austin I would have never been Miss Rodeo Texas, let alone Miss Rodeo America. I was Miss Rodeo Austin in 2014; I had worked so hard and made several sacrifices to earn that title. Being a full time student and working nearly full time while balancing my rodeo schedule was no easy feat, but the $16,000 scholarship I received paid off my masters degree made it all worth it! I told myself before competing for Miss Rodeo Austin that if I could win that title I would run for Miss Rodeo Texas, if not, I wouldn’t. I couldn’t justify it financially and also didn’t feel I would be competitive. Holding the title of Miss Rodeo Austin motivated me, inspired me, and made it financially possible for me to pursue my dreams. Even though I did not win Miss Rodeo Texas the first time, the feeling of being crowned Miss Rodeo Austin 2014 is one I’ll never forget -- like being crowned Miss Rodeo America 2017. Attending Rodeo Austin as Miss Rodeo America felt like I got to come home with the most prestigious crown in the world on my hat. To top it off, I now have over $52,000 in scholarship money from the Miss Rodeo America and Miss Rodeo Texas organizations that will pay for my entire doctorate degree!
Now that it has been a few months since you have given up your title, what has life been like after the crown? How did Miss Rodeo America prepare you for it?
Busy! I’m not sure how I managed to still be so busy after a year of non-stop travel, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have served and will serve as a clinician at several rodeo queen clinics across the country, I have been coaching aspiring rodeo queens, doing a little modeling, riding my new barrel horse I purchased last month, roping when I can, preparing for summer rodeos, vacationing, and I recently became the National Little Britches Royalty Pageant Coordinator. I plan to go back to teaching high school agriculture in the 2018-2019 school year and begin my doctoral work the following year. Miss Rodeo America prepared me in many ways. The connections and friends I made have helped me advance in my career and strengthened passion for the western and rodeo industries. I also will be able to graduate with my doctorate degree debt free thanks to Miss Rodeo America; knowing that is a feeling unlike any other!
One of the things you did during your reign that I thought was cool was you got to team rope with Keith Isley, ProRodeo Comedy Act of the Year. Since Miss Rodeo America spends her year promoting rodeo instead of competing, what was it like to get to rope at a rodeo for fun during your year?
I must say I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous to rope a steer in my life. I was wearing my crown and banner on a borrowed horse I had been on for less than five minutes in split reins, with a borrowed rope and a borrowed glove. I was not only representing Lisa, but the entire Miss Rodeo America organization. My nerves were eased a bit when Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira (leading the team roping world standings at the time) roped just before Keith and I did and ended up empty handed. Of course, they were going for first, and I was just trying to catch, but it relieved a little pressure. It was exhilarating -- so much fun!
For many girls interview is very intimidating, what advice would you give to help make that phase of competition easier and more relaxed?
My best advice for interview is to do all the preparation possible before the interview -- days, weeks, and months before. When in the interview allow preparation to meet opportunity. An interview is the opportunity for a contestant to share all about themselves and why they are the best candidate for the position. Before entering a contest or going through an interview, contestants should do some soul searching and be sure of who they are, what they stand for and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Be sure to know the answer to “why?” “why am I doing this?” Dig deep and make the answer personal. Practice answering questions at home in front of a mirror (there are several sample pageant and rodeo questions online that can be found by a quick Google search), go through mock interviews, get help from someone who has experience with rodeo queen interviews, and have discussions with friends, family members and professionals in the rodeo, agriculture and equine industries about pertinent information. Having discussions allows for contestants to gain insight from another person’s perspective and strengthen their own beliefs and answers. If there is ever a time a judge asks a question that a contestant doesn’t know the answer too, that’s okay. The contestant should tell the judge what they do know and move on. Also, always breathe, relax, and smile -- have fun!
Do you have any tips and tricks to get the perfect rodeo queen look for makeup? What are some of your favorite products to use?
I wouldn’t say there is a perfect rodeo queen look. Everybody is made differently and is beautiful in their own way. It is best to accent natural features and have a bold, natural look. Stage and arena makeup will differ from interview makeup. I love full coverage foundation. I am a bargain shopper, but I don’t bargain shop for foundation. My favorite foundation of all time is Glo Skin Beauty’s Satin Cream Foundation formerly known as Glo Minerals Protective Liquid Foundation in Satin II. I apply my foundation with a damp makeup blending sponge for the best, smoothest coverage. Virtually all the other products I use are drug store products -- I love shopping Walmart for makeup! I highly recommend a good foundation primer as the first step and a good setting spray (NYX makes a good one) as the final step. My favorite setting powder to set cream highlight is Ben Nye Banana Powder, and my favorite finishing powder, which I apply as the second-to-last step, is Maybelline Shine Free Oil-Control Loose Powder in Light. Eye makeup, contour and blush are all dependent on the person and their skin tone, but just remember to accent natural features, start with a good base, and you can’t go wrong.
I had the privilege to meet Marjorie Murphy many years ago when she came to judge the Miss Rodeo Missouri Pageant for my mom and I know that anyone who met her knows how wonderful she was and knowing you got to work closely with her yourself, I'm sure you learned a lot. What is one piece of advice Marjorie gave you that you would pass on to other rodeo queen contestants who didn't have the privilege of meeting her?
Marjorie was full of wisdom. There is no doubt about that. The one piece of advice from Marjorie that will always stick with me is that it’s always better to overdress than under dress. First impressions are everlasting and the way a person looks when they walk into a room speaks volumes. I know I want my first impression to be a good one, and being dressed the part will sure help do that. Whether in a rodeo queen contest, at a rodeo, a community event, or a professional setting outside of rodeo, rodeo queens should always stand out -- in a good way. By overdressing, I don’t mean spend the most money on a wardrobe. I mean to pay attention to details and make sure every part of your physical appearance looks the best it possibly can. My favorite saying of her’s is, “Our cowgirls are ladies and ladies are cowgirls.” I feel like this is the perfect way to explain a rodeo queen in less than ten words. The scoring of a rodeo queen contest correlates with the actual job of a rodeo queen. There is a reason why there is an appearance category. We should take pride in being the best dressed cowgirls out there!
I think it is so incredible that after your year you give back to a lot of future contestants and now that you have been selected as the NLBRA Royalty Coordinator, what do you plan to do with that position?
It’s quite a privilege to be involved with rodeo queen contests and clinics across the country. I’m excited and to serve as the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Royalty Pageant Coordinator for this year! I’m working with the NLBRA board to create the best pageant the NLBRA has had to date! A lot of work is done behind the scenes. We’ve had several conference calls planning and preparing for this year’s pageant; I know we’ll have many more before July 7th! We’re working on recruitment, growing the contest and providing an opportunity for learning and growth for all contestants.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls who are just starting out in the rodeo queen world?
If something is placed on your heart and in your mind it's there for a reason. My advice to every one is with faith and hard work anything is possible! Everything worth having is worth working for. Set goals by starting at the top and create a plan from the top to where you currently are, and work your way up to your goal. Surround yourself with the believers, the doers and the thinkers and with people who have expertise in not only rodeo queening, but in the equine industry and rodeo. Even though we plan to achieve our goals, we will face setbacks. Know that for every setback, God has a major comeback. Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines. Listen to God and trust him because “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Lisa did an exceptional job of being Miss Rodeo America last year and was a favorite of many. She remained true to herself and humble her entire year and that's what I love most about her. Now that she is done queening she is now giving back to the industry and I can't wait to see what she does at the NLBRA Royalty Coordinator this year! Thank you Lisa for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us!
Until next time,
Miss ORA Pageant
Photos Courtesy of: Lisa Lageschaar
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