How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants?
I grew up with a 4-H background. I’m a first-generation cowgirl and had no idea what a rodeo queen was. As a small child I would attend the Dayton Championship Rodeo and I noticed the rodeo queens and enjoyed watching the barrel racers, but had no idea how I could get involved. I like to say that rodeo found me. I attended a Queens in Jeans workshop that was put on by the Miss Rodeo Iowa organization in the spring of 2018 and it opened up a whole new world for me. It’s quite comical thinking back to those times. I remember seeing Miss Rodeo Wyoming, Morgan Wallace’s sponsored truck and thinking what did I get myself into. I was determined and took the skills I learned and entered my first pageant just a few months later. I ended up winning first runner up and a month later ran for my second title. I won my very first title at the age of 24. I loved being a rodeo queen and at the very last minute I ran for Miss Rodeo Iowa in September of 2018 and was 1st runner up.
Why did you decide to run for Miss Rodeo Iowa?
To be Miss Rodeo Iowa was a new found dream that I had. I had watched several previous Miss Rodeo Iowa’s starting with Logan Kinyon, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2017. I really didn’t know much about it and didn’t think I could ever be Miss Rodeo Iowa. When I entered my first pageant in 2018, my current National Director, Jordanne Fry was one of the judges and Shelby Chapman, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2016 really was the one that planted the seed in my brain and encouraged me to run. Being a rodeo queen is about being an ambassador for the sport of rodeo, but it’s so much more to me. It’s about making a difference in the lives of others; other rodeo queens, rodeo committees, stock contractors, host families. I’ve always loved horses and what the job title entailed. To be Miss Rodeo Iowa was really a last-minute decision, but I knew that time was running out for me due to my age and I didn’t want to have that regret later in my life. I am so glad things worked out the way they did and of course, I wish I could have started at a younger age, but I’m so grateful and blessed to be in the boots I’m in today. What has been your favorite appearance so far this year?
My year has been greatly affected by Covid-19, so making appearances has been hard. It’s really hard to pick just one appearance. I’ll give you my top three. The first one was my trip to Kissimmee, Florida for the 144th Silver Spurs Rodeo. I was able to hang out with my new sash sisters and they kept us busy. We went on school visits, attended the rodeo, traveled to see the ocean and picked blueberries. That was my first time in Florida and I got to spend my birthday there. One school sang “Happy Birthday” to me, a trip Ill never forget. I also really enjoyed the Day’s of 76’ rodeo in Deadwood, South Dakota. Mackenzi Gatzke did an amazing job at coordinating visiting royalty and setting up horses for us. And the last of my top three was my trip to Guymon, Oklahoma for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. The Stonecipher’s graciously opened their home for the girls. Ken Stonecipher is one of the announcers and really appreciates us being there. He is also a great cook, he made me waffles for breakfast on my departure. One of the sweetest gals you will meet is Becky Robinson, she coordinates the visiting royalty in Guymon. How would it feel to be the first Miss Rodeo American crowned from Iowa?
It would be amazing! I would be speechless and it’s very difficult to describe how it would feel to be the first Miss Rodeo America from Iowa. I would be so honored to represent the sport of rodeo from its contestants to the sponsors. There is a long line of cowgirls who have been more than capable to full-fill the position of Miss Rodeo America and to be selected for the position would be life changing. Every day I imagine myself up there in the top 5 so we’ll see what the good Lord has in store for me.
What appearance are you most looking forward to this year?
I have several on my list. A lot of the Iowa rodeos that I should have attended in 2020 got cancelled so I’m looking forward to those this year. They include Edgewood PRCA Rodeo, Cherokee PRCA Rodeo, Sidney Championship Rodeo, Dayton Championship Rodeo and the Tri-State Rodeo in Fort Madison. I know time will go fast as 2020 seemed to fly by even with the pandemic. I wish things would slow down just a bit and its only the first of the year. The Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming is probably near the top of my list, you can’t beat flying down the middle of the track. How has COVID impacted your travels?
It has greatly affected my year. 2020 has been such a roller coaster of emotions I can assure you for so many inside and outside of the rodeo industry. It’s been very similar to a thriller movie and I’ve found myself at the bottom of several ice cream containers. Jokes aside it also has some very positive things. I’ve been able to do interviews with various contestants, previous titleholders and sponsors. I have shared them on my social media page on Facebook: Brittany Gunn – Miss Rodeo Iowa 2020. This is something that I have been very proud of. I’m not entirely sure of the audiences it has reached but one of my favorite parts is I usually ask the interviewee what advice they have for the future generation of rodeo. Their comments have been tremendous and I’ll always have them to remember for any future goals I may have after I’m done being a rodeo queen.
What is something you’ve already learned while being Miss rodeo Iowa that you didn’t know before you held the title?
Something that I’ve learned is that it’s a lot more work than one can make it appear to seem. Looking on the outside you might see a girl with a pretty smile, the perfect hair, flawless makeup, and beautiful wardrobe, but it takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination. It’s about a journey of growth and you learn a vast amount of skills that you take with you throughout your life. Did you attend the Miss Rodeo America pageant as Miss rodeo Iowa lady in waiting? If so do you think the inside look at the pageant will better help you prepare? What was that experience like?
I vividly remember going to the Miss Rodeo America pageant in 2019 and thinking what did I get myself into? And how am I going to get up on that stage and answer those questions like those girls can? I remember I was at the President’s Welcome Reception where the girls answer a current event question and there was a film crew there filming for the Rodeo Queen show. I was select to be interviewed. I remember feeling like such a deer in the headlights as it was hard for me to find my words, but I loved every minute of it. Attending the pageant and watching it through the lens of the new Rodeo Queen Show will not only help me prepare for the pageant but help me calm my nerves when it gets here. If you ever get to attend the pageant I highly recommend the fashion show. That was by far my favorite part of the pageant. What is your biggest piece of advice to someone starting out in the rodeo queen industry?
Always follow your dreams. Never let the challenges you may face get in the way of you accomplishing your dreams. There will be titles you run for that you won’t win, and that’s okay, but don’t let that deter you from what you want to do. Your success lies in your hands. If you don’t succeed you try, try and try again. As a rodeo queen, be confident in yourself and skills. I know it can be easy to play the comparison game, but there is no need for that. You’re perfect just the way you are! Find a queen or someone in the industry you can look up to and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want practice reach out to a pageant and ask to exhibition. A former Miss Rodeo Iowa lost her son many years ago who loved rodeo. She shares her son’s wisdom with contestants that compete in the Miss Rodeo Iowa pageant and as the current Miss Rodeo Iowa it’s something that speaks to my heart: Go with a little bit of luck, a whole lot of faith, use your whole heart and always believe.
It sure has been a busy summer with the Ozark Rodeo Association traveling up and down the road to many different rodeos and even the events our titleholders have been representing the ORA at outside of our rodeos. Keep reading to see what Haley, Alexis, and Jacie have been doing since our last blog update!
Five more rodeos to go before finals! This year is just flying by. Since my last post, I've traveled to Arizona, started a new job, added to my ever grow herd of animals and headed down the rodeo road. Outside ORA rodeos, I was able to represent the association in June at the Auxvasse Rodeo with my good friend and fellow queen, Victoria Wilson. We were able to help in the crowning of the new Auxvasse Royalty. Congratulations to former Jr Miss ORA, Jessica Barnes on taking home the Miss title! My parents and sister came to visit and stopped by to see the rodeo in Dixon. They had a great time, especially watching that intense round of barrels on Saturday night. With each rodeo, the ORA members continue to impress me with outstanding performances - its going to be a great remainder of the season as we get closer to finals. Don't forget that the finals date was moved to November 9 &10! Speaking of upcoming events, the Miss ORA pageant application deadline is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY! I cannot believe how quickly this pageant is approaching. It's going to be an AMAZING one. It's hard to keep all the surprises a secret because they're just so exciting! Girls, be sure to get those applications in! As for the remainder of the month, I will be working hard at my new job as a study coordinator at a biomedical research company. Jacie and I will be traveling to our neighboring state down south, Arkansas, for a photo shoot with the incredibly talented, Sherry Smith. I cannot wait to see how beautiful these pictures will be! Our next upcoming rodeo is in Versailles. Hope to see you there! Miss ORA 2019 Haley Linder
I have been crazy busy since June! My life basically revolves around work, my horses and rodeo! I had recently gotten the opportunity to travel to Texas with the Southern Sweethearts Performance team to drill with them in a national drill competition, we were in Athens, Texas for a week. The team ended up placing in four of our divisions, all of us girls riding were stoked. A few months ago I purchased a little filly with great bloodline so with all of my spare time I have spent it trying to break her! When I’m not playing with my horses or traveling to rodeos I work at a Marina as a waitress to help with my extracurriculars! Miss Teen ORA 2019 Alexis Mantonya
Where the summer has gone?? I can’t believe that it is already time for me to go back to school. I am excited to go back to school to see my friends, but I am sad to see summer coming to an end. Since the last post I have been very busy with rodeos and helping my family with our pony ride business. OH! I also got a new horse named Feather and if you have seen me at rodeos you will notice I have changed horses. Feather and I learning a lot together this summer I love her and can’t wait for you to see her if you haven’t yet. Desloge was fun for me was fun for me because I was able to take one of my friends and show her what being a Rodeo Queen was like. I was able to carry the American Flag, which I love to do! I also made a goal to sell all our lollipops that night and I did! Have you tried a lollipop yet?? If not we will have them at the rest of the rodeos and you should really try one! Before our rodeo in Gerald, I was busy that week promoting the Ozark Rodeo Association. I rode in the Gasconade County Fair Parade and took home the Doc Blackwell award for best appearance and horse! Then that Friday, I was able to represent the ORA at Camp Rhythm before heading to the rodeo that night. Have you ever heard of Camp Rhythm? Camp Rhythm is an amazing camp for kids with congenital hear defects. The provide a residential camping experience for area children with congenital or acquired heart defects, provide a safe environment where campers will learn they are not alone in disease, create an environment where it is normal to be sick, tired, have scars and take medication, and also allow children to feel accepted, build confidence and make lifelong friends. The heart camp also includes a day camp for younger children (ages 5-7) born with a heart defect. These children will attend camp for three days during the week. I was able to work with the mini campers the day I went. They rode the ponies and we talked all about rodeos and horses. The mini campers all loved the ponies and wore cowboy hats with red hearts on them. I loved their hats! After camp, I headed to Gerald for the rodeo performance that night. We celebrated the National Day of the Cowboy and I was able to carry the American Flag while we did a tribute to the Cowboys and the late Mason Lowe. This is the first Rodeo I used Feather I was very nervous but we did great together!
See you SOON!!! Jacie Jost JR MISS ORA 2019
Yep you read those posts right, we are only FIVE rodeos away from finals and let me tell you the competition is getting tough with all of the contestants in the Ozark Rodeo Association. It will definitely come down to our finals rodeo to see who will be our year end champions for the 2019 season!
Also, this summer has flown by as we are only 28 days away from our application deadline! We have such an exciting pageant planned this year and we will be celebrating my 5th year as Pageant Director for the Miss ORA Pageant! We also have many special guests this year that haven't been announced just yet, but Miss Rodeo Oklahoma 2019, Kodi Smalygo will be with us this year! We hope to see you there! Shannon Norris Director Miss ORA Pageant
It sure has been a very busy start to the year for our 2019 Royalty and we are 4 rodeos in to the season! Keep reading to see what our titleholders have been doing since officially taking over in February!
Miss ORA 2019, Haley Linder
Wow! How is it already June?! This year has been flying by! In January, I attended the Miss Rodeo USA pageant and was able to watch Heather Morrison be crowned. I also volunteered at the Dazzling Divas event for the Children’s Miracle Network. February was the official start to my reign at the ORA Awards Banquet. We had a royalty photo shoot with sponsor, Rockin Rodeo Creations. I loved hanging out with Alexis and Jacie and it made me excited for the summer ahead! In March, Jacie and I rode in the Rolla St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It was a blast throwing candy to the crowds of people! Shannon and I made the trip down to Branson to our amazing sponsor, Montana Silversmith’s for a shopping spree. Wow, their jewelry does make a girl feel like a queen! At the end of March, Shannon, Meghan, and I made a trip up to Iowa for Heather Morrison’s coronation party. April was super busy weekend after weekend! It started with an appearance at an enchanted tea party hosted by my talented photography sponsor, Amy Webber. The ORA Royalty had our own dinner party where we crowned the first ever Mrs. ORA, Ashley Jost. Then I cooked breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House with Cookin’ Crowns. April was also the kick off to rodeo season in Humansville! May flew by with rodeos in St. Clair and Desloge. St. Clair was extra fun as my family made the trip down from Chicago! June is full of rodeo weekends and I can’t wait! See you in Raymondville! Until next time. Always, Haley
Miss Teen ORA 2019, Alexis Mantonya
Rodeo update here we come! So far being your 2019 Miss Teen has been crazy fun, it’s included getting thrown off and eating dirt at the first rodeo in Humansville! But, the Bronc riding judge scored me 72 points so what a win! Can’t forget the long road trips with my family to them that’s also a blast. Meeting everyone so far has been amazing and I can’t wait to continue building relationships with everyone that is apart of the ORA!
Jr Miss ORA 2019, Jacie Jost
I have been able to be involved in some pretty awesome things since I have become JR MISS. First I was able to get out in to my community and visit my local nursing home for Nail day during Nail day we painted nails and visited, also while I was there I was able to attend their Easter party. I enjoyed visiting with them and can’t wait to go back for another Nail Day. Next was St. Clair rodeo where we started a Lollipop fundraiser. I enjoyed getting out into the crowd and visiting with everyone. St. Clair is where I received my chaps and I love them so much! Desloge Rodeo we did a tribute to the Military with the flags it was probably my favorite rodeo so far for this year. At Desloge I was asked to come to Licking to the PRCA rodeo there to promote the ORA. I took the opportunity and went to Licking I had a weekend to remember. I was able to sign autographs and pass out handouts to promote the ORA rodeos. While I was there I was able to meet Miss Rodeo Missouri Kaitlyn Ayers. I was able to participate in Military night there as well and was able to carry the P.O.W flag. Kaitlyn and I pushed livestock together Friday and Saturday night. Saturday during the day I was able to be in town for the parade and activities while I was there I promoted the ORA and then Kaitlyn and I rode in the parade together. Cant wait to see everyone soon! Jacie Jost Jr Miss ORA 2019
Our titleholders have been staying busy this year and we can't wait to see what else they accomplish this year. Follow all of their social media pages to keep up with their travels! Shannon Norris Director Miss ORA Pageant
It's week 3 of Titleholder Tuesday for our 2019 edition and we are headed west to the state known for it's potatoes! Not only does this titleholder hold her current state title, but she also placed in the Top 5 for Miss Rodeo USA 2018. Help us welcome, Sara Weekes, Miss Rodeo Idaho 2019!
Photo Courtesy of Miss Rodeo Idaho, Inc. Facebook Page
How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants? At 23 years old, with countless AQHA shows behind me, I made a basic error in one of my patterns. In and of itself, that wasn’t such a big deal, but I began to realize that it was partially a symptom of a change and shift in my passions. I knew for certain though that I had one more goal I did not want to pass up on: Miss Rodeo Idaho. I began researching and networking to find out what I needed to do to achieve that goal. My first title with a women’s rodeo association came later that year, and I began competing in rodeo events as well. 3 years after that rookie error, I stand here as Miss Rodeo Idaho 2019 – and am excited even more about growing my talents as a breakaway roper!
Why did you decide to run for Miss Rodeo Idaho? After my passions began to shift away from AQHA showing, I found myself in conversation with a former Miss Rodeo Idaho. She asked me about my title goals, and I began talking about some of the local organizations. She asked, “What about Miss Rodeo Idaho?” and it gave me the spark to consider something I’d always dreamed about a little more seriously. Our conversation gave me the belief that ANYONE should be able to run for a state title
What has been your favorite appearance so far this year? My favorite appearance this year has been State Title Holder Week in Florida. State Rodeo Queens are invited down to the sunny shores for a mix of hard work and fun. We were able to visit 14 different grade schools and educate their students on the 7 showcase rodeo events, as well as the local rodeo taking place that weekend. Some of our recreational activities included hog hunting, blueberry picking, and time at the beach. Conducted near the beginning of the calendar year, it was a great way to get a taste of what being a titleholder would be like the rest of the year: hard days, long hours, but a ton of fun.
How would it feel to be the first Miss Rodeo America crowned from Idaho since 1999? Being crowned Miss Rodeo America would give me an overwhelming sense of honor and pride. There is so much sacrifice and dedication that goes into being the state queen and preparing for the national title competition – not only for me personally, but for my amazing board as well. Being able to represent Idaho and the Miss Rodeo Idaho board on the national stage would be an indescribable experience.
Do you feel the experience you received at Miss Rodeo USA will help you better prepare for competing at Miss Rodeo America? Do you feel like it will help you knowing what a national pageant setting is like? The only thing that can really prepare you for competing at a pageant, is competing at a pageant! Practice certainly helps, but the Miss Rodeo USA taught me so much through the process of appearing on a stage in front of judges and interacting through speeches and interviews. The Miss Rodeo USA pageant and Miss Rodeo America pageant share several similarities, such as bringing together contestants from all around the country, demonstrating horsemanship skills, and participating in interviews. I’m certain that experience helped better prepare me for Miss Rodeo America.
What appearance are you looking forward to the most this year? The Snake River Stampede is what I look forward to the most this year. It’s my home rodeo – I have been attending this rodeo since I was a little girl, and was even fortunate enough to be on the Night Light Team, the Snake River Stampeders. To be a part of this production as Miss Rodeo Idaho is truly a dream come true, and in my own back yard!
What is something you've already learned while being Miss Rodeo Idaho that you didn't know before you held the title? One of the most important life lessons that I’ve learned is that while you may have a plan, you need to be prepared when things don’t go as you expected. In the rodeo industry, things aren’t always set in stone, and you have to be flexible while traveling. During one trip, I flew in to Oklahoma City a day and a half early for an event due to a scheduling error. Instead of becoming upset or wasting that time, I took the opportunity to visit downtown Oklahoma City as well as the memorial and museum for the Oklahoma City bombing. If things had gone as planned, I would have missed out on the breathtaking opportunity to learn about such an historic event.
You attended the Miss Rodeo America Pageant last year as Miss Rodeo Idaho Lady-In-Waiting. Do you think you got an inside look at the pageant that will better help you prepare? What was that experience like? I highly recommend attending a pageant as a guest before you compete in that pageant. Being able to attend the Miss Rodeo America pageant as a Lady-In-Waiting gave me the chance to see what each of the different settings and scenarios might be like when I compete. I also had the opportunity to meet most of the other state queens that I would be sharing the next year with. It was an absolutely priceless experience, and I was able to cheer on Miss Rodeo Idaho compete!
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone just starting out in the rodeo queen industry? The biggest piece of advice I have to someone just beginning their time in the rodeo queen industry is to study, study, and more studying! I know that most people say that, but it’s more than just studying rodeo knowledge. You also need to educate yourself on speaking patterns, modeling, current events, and even your role models and heroes. I also firmly recommend you attend clinics. These are a great place to ask questions, understand the “why” behind what we do, and get to know your fellow sash sisters while immersing yourself in the world of rodeo. Please feel free to reach out to any State Queen throughout the year – we are more than happy to help. All of us were in your shoes at one point in our journey, and we want to ensure the future of rodeo.
Thank you Sara for taking the extra time out of your busy schedule to interview with us! We are excited to continue watching your journey towards the Miss Rodeo America Pageant! Until next time, Shannon Norris Miss ORA Pageant Director
This week we are sticking to our neighboring states and traveling south to the Natural State! Our special guest titleholder this week holds a special place in our hearts here at the Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Pageant as she was our 2019 pageant Special Guest and Emcee. That's right we're talking about Bayleigh Warren, Miss Rodeo Arkansas 2018!
Photo by Sherry Smith Photography
How did you become involved in rodeo and rodeo queen pageants? I became involved with rodeo and pageants because of my mom. My mom was Miss Rodeo New Mexico 1979. As a little girl, I saw all of her pictures and clothes and asked many questions. Also, she directed the queen pageant at the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo in Claremore, Oklahoma & the flashy clothes definitely made me want to be a part. Competing in rodeo also came from mom. She competed in high school, college and professionally. I have always had a competitive nature and a love for horses, which continues to fuel my desire.
Why did you decide to run for Miss Rodeo Arkansas? My decision to run for Miss Rodeo Arkansas came easily. I had an amazing scholarship at a college in Arkansas and quickly took advantage of that. It was by far the best decision I have ever made! I have had a phenomenal year, I have been blessed with a great board through the pageant and memories and friends to last me a lifetime!
Photo by Sherry Smith Photography
What was your most memorable experience during your reign as Miss Rodeo Arkansas? I have so many! The most exhilarating moment was making my fly-by at Cheyenne Frontier Days! Each of my experiences were spent with each of the state queens who have become some of my best friends through this experience!
If you could sum up your entire experience as Miss Rodeo Arkansas into three words, what would they be? Grateful, Memorable & Unique
What was the inspiration behind your wardrobe that you wore to Miss Rodeo America and what was your favorite piece? My wardrobe was inspired by diamonds! Arkansas is the only state in the country that has a diamond mine where you are able to come mine and keep the diamonds that you find. With this, I wanted to do something different. Each year, the young woman representing Arkansas uses some sort of a Razorback theme at MRA. While I love the Hogs, the diamond mine was something I wanted to showcase! My favorite piece was either my fur coat I wore to the back number ceremony or my beautiful white dress I wore to coronation! Both of these, among the majority of my clothes, were made by Sherry Smith!
What was your favorite part of competing at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant? The Miss Rodeo America pageant was the week of a lifetime! As crazy as it sounds, my favorite part was having the time to spend with each of the titleholders one final time before our year was over. For those that don't know, we aren't able to have our phones during the pageant. It was somewhat nice! We were able to soak up that time and really absorb the joys of each moment. That is something that doesn't happen often in the technologically advanced world we live in!
Photo by Callie Jo Photography
If you had the chance to compete again, would you and is there anything you would do differently? I absolutely would not do anything differently. I knew the material, I shocked myself on my knowledge, I rode well, I spoke well and the modeling was great! I knew I studied a large amount, but I shocked myself on things I was able to recall during the moment! I competed very well and I stayed true to myself. I have always said that there is no way I can pretend to be who I am and I wanted to just be me and have fun! I definitely did that!
For girls that are preparing for national pageants, most of them aren't sure what to expect when they get there or how to study for everything. What advice would you give to girls getting ready to compete at the next level? What I would say to girls competing at national levels learning what to study is learn it in small portions. My mom has always told me, "You can only eat an elephant one piece at a time." Do not try to cram material! Study for months or years leading up to the pageant, ask questions to those who know the material or those involved in the sport. You will be surprised the amount of insight you gain!
What does life look like for you after the crown? Life after the crown is exciting! I am finishing college this semester! I will graduate with a Corporate Communication degree. I am also in real estate school, which I am ever so excited about! I have gone back to working my younger horses and in due time, I'll go back to competing, but my degree and career are of the upmost importance! I love being able to spend time with my family and friends and being able to talk about my experiences this last year with them is something we all love!
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to the next girl who is crowned Miss Rodeo Arkansas? To the next girl crowned as Miss Rodeo Arkansas, have fun! Do not take one moment for granted, because this year will fly by! Most importantly, be yourself! Don't try to be something you aren't, I promise, people will love you for it!
Photo by Las Vegas Images Studios
I have personally loved getting to know Bayleigh during her year as Miss Rodeo Arkansas and having her as a guest at our pageant. We know the future is bright for you and we can't wait to see what it holds for you! Until next week, Shannon Norris Miss ORA Pageant Director
Titleholder Tuesday is officially back for the Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Pageant! We can't wait to share some amazing interviews from incredible titleholders we have had the pleasure to chat with this year! This week we are headed to our neighboring state where the Wizard of Oz is popular and there is No Place Like Home. Help us welcome from the Sunflower State, Miss Rodeo Kansas 2019, Brooke Wallace!
Photo by: KC Creations Photography
How did you become involved with rodeo and rodeo queen pageants? At age 18 I was watching the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene, KS and loved watching Miss Rodeo K-State and Miss Rodeo America in the arena. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I thought to myself that being a rodeo queen looked like a lot of fun and something that was right up my alley. Later that year I started attending Kansas State University where I joined the rodeo club and attended the Miss Rodeo K-State clinic. I caught the rodeo queen bug and the rest is history. I have had a lot of help along the way especially from my aunt Sara who had experience in the rodeo queen world because my cousin (her daughter) had been a rodeo queen!
Why did you decide to run for Miss Rodeo Kansas and what previous pageant experience did you have before you competed? I have held the titles of Miss Rodeo Junction City 2015, Miss Rodeo K-State 2016, Miss CPRA 2017, and now currently Miss Rodeo Kansas 2019. I decided to run for MRK because I have really enjoyed being a rodeo ambassador throughout the years. It is more to me than carrying the American Flag or getting to wear a crown. I truly love the sport of rodeo and stand for everything it represents. I love being a role model for younger generations and being able to meet new people and show them everything this great sport has to offer. Running for MRK was never not an option for me especially after the first year I competed for the title. I came back with even more of a desire to hold the title of Miss Rodeo Kansas.
I have loved seeing your designs on contestants for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant last year, what inspired you to start making rodeo queen clothes and will we see some of your own designs on the Miss Rodeo America stage again this year when you compete? I started sewing in high school by making my prom dresses which lead me to pursue a college education in apparel design at Kansas State University. I was inspired to make clothing for rodeo queens because I was one myself. I plan to make my entire wardrobe for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant this coming December and have already started design and thinking up some unique and new things to bring to the stage this year!
For girls who are struggling putting together a wardrobe, what is a staple piece you believe every rodeo queen should have in their closet? Even though I have the ability to sew whatever I can dream up I will never pass up a bargain. I am serious when I say you can be a rodeo queen on a budget. I started out with blazers and skirts that I found for less than $10. A piece I feel that is a great investment is a vest because you can mix and match different colored shirts under it and get a totally different look.
Do you have a platform you will be promoting during your year? If so, what is it and why did you choose this platform. My platform is "Dream Bigger!" Everyone knows the saying dream big but when I say dream bigger I am promoting the idea of reaching just past what you think is possible. When we set our goals high it can sometimes be hard to reach them but in the end after a lot of hard work we can be rewarded by the outcomes of our goals. When I visit schools and talk to groups throughout this year this is something I try to promote in hopes that I can inspire anyone at any age to go out and chase those dreams. This platform comes from my late cousin DJ, who was a rodeo queen and always had big goals and dreams.
What is one piece of advice you have learned during your rodeo queen journey that you would want to pass on to someone who is just starting out in the industry? Treat every title like it is your last! I don't care if you are a county queen or Miss Rodeo America, always put your whole heart into what you have worked so hard to earn. I have always treated each of my titles like it was the biggest rodeo queen title there was to get and by doing that I truly enjoyed every single moment and was able to go to many places and meet so many people! With this attitude and mentality you will represent your rodeo with the best of your ability and be a great representation for the girl that earns the crown after you.
What appearance has been your favorite so far this year and what are you most looking forward to during the remainder of the year? As a state queen you get the opportunity to go out of your state to bigger rodeos across the country which has truly been a great experience. My favorite trip so far was when I went to Colorado for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, Cowboy Downhill and WESA Market. If you haven't yet seen the video of my wiping out on the slopes you are missing out on a good laugh! I look forward to the "Daddy of 'em all" and going to Cheyenne Frontier Days to fly down the side of the arena as fast as I can go. This is a memory most state titleholders say you definitely don't want to miss out on.
A lot of people don't realize the amount of time that state titleholders spend on the road making appearances not only in their respective states, but across the country as well. How do you balance your rodeo queen appearances with work, school, etc? I chose to not have a full time job and schooling because I knew that I would want to have a very packed schedule and go to as many places as I could in 2019 but some state titleholders are able to do it all. You just have to know your limits and what you can handle. I am fortunate to have completed schooling already and I only work part time in the spring and summer at a therapeutic riding center which is very flexible with my schedule. Staying organized is also very important. I have a spreadsheet for about everything so that keeps me on track and a daily calendar with lists of what needs to get done is another one of my hacks.
What is one item you must pack with you for every appearance? Besides my sash, crown and buckle I won't go anywhere without my sunflower socks. I have worn sunflower socks to every appearance I have made as Miss Rodeo Kansas! I have around 20 pairs now which gives me plenty when I am gone for long trips.
What is your quote or motto that you live by? "When you can't find the sunshine be the sunshine!" I am definitely a glass half full kind of person and always try to find the positive in every situation. This saying just goes to show that whenever you are faced with hardship and negativity who have to change your mindset and look for the sunshine!
Photo By: KC Creations Photography
We can't thank Brooke enough for taking the time out of her busy schedule to interview with us! We are looking forward to seeing how the rest of her year plays out and that awesome wardrobe she is designing and creating herself. Remember to always follow your dreams and "Dream Bigger!" Until next week, Shannon Norris Miss ORA Pageant Director
It is time to meet your 2019 Jr Miss Ozark Rodeo Association, Jacie Jost! Jacie is excited to get the 2019 season started and to make new friends! Keep reading to learn more about her!
Hey everyone! My name is Jacie Jost and I am honored to be your 2019 JR Miss ORA. I am in the 5 th grade at Cuba Middle School where I am involved in several after school activities such as Robotics, Middle School Milers and Book Club. I also play on the 5 th grade girls traveling basketball team where I am dedicated to my team. I am from Owensville Missouri where I help my family farm cattle and horses. My family owns a pony ride business where I spend a lot of time helping them in the summer. My love for horses started when I was really young and my Uncle Jasper got me my first pony named Hollywood which I still have today. My Uncle Jasper took me to my first fun show and I had so much fun. I enjoy trail riding with my family and friends. My interest for rodeo comes from my Dad he rode bulls and we were at a rodeos a lot. I always love watching the barrel racing and bull riding. My interest in rodeo queening came from being at a rodeo with my mom and dad and seeing all the queens it made me want to try it. The next year I went to my first pageant and loved it! I am very excited to make new friends and memories. I am looking forward to serving as your 2019 Jr Miss ORA and what the season brings. Love, Jacie JR Miss ORA 2019
Stay tuned to meet all of our Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Sweethearts for 2019! Shannon Director Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Pageant
It's time to meet our next titleholder, Miss Teen Ozark Rodeo Association, Alexis Mantonya! We are very excited to work with Alexis this year and hope you all take the time to get to know a little bit about her!
Hey there everyone! My name is Alexis Mantonya and I am so very honored to be your new 2019 Miss Teen ORA. I am currently a junior at Warsaw High School taking as many college classes as possible and I’m very involved in FFA as an officer. While going to school and maintaining my grades I also maintain a job. My future plans are to attend State Fair Community College and do my prerequisite classes to become a Paramedic. I was born and raised in Warsaw, Missouri where I am proud to call my home. Though we are small this small town has a lot of fight. I started with my horse passion when I was just six years old when I started taking lessons, I received a horse for my ninth birthday and started my rodeo queening career that following year. Rodeo has a very special place in my heart that I try to share with every person I meet. I am looking forward to the adventures this year is going to bring and the people I am going to meet. With love, Alexis Miss Teen ORA 2019
Stay tuned to meet our 2019 Jr Miss ORA, Jacie Jost! Shannon Director Miss Ozark Rodeo Association Pageant
A new year means new titleholders and I would love to introduce to you to each of them individually! First we are starting off with our new Miss Ozark Rodeo Association 2019, Haley Linder! Haley has a big year in store for her as she will be the first Miss ORA to represent the Ozark Rodeo Association at the Miss Rodeo USA Pageant in January 2020!
I am Haley Linder and I am honored to be your Miss Ozark Rodeo Association 2019!
I am currently a Master’s student at the University of Missouri where I am studying dairy calf nutrition and development. I graduated in May 2018 with my Bachelor’s in Animal Sciences from Mizzou as well. After my Master’s, I plan to pursue a PhD with a career goal of becoming a college professor. I am passionate about the dairy industry and agriculture and hope to better the field through education and research.
While I call Columbia, Missouri my home now, I am originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I have been a horse lover my whole life and rode hunter jumpers growing up. My first rodeo wasn’t even until college but I am certainly glad that Gabrielle Cuttler, Miss ORA 2017 brought me along to one! I fell in love with this thrilling sport and the people involved in it. Rodeo wasn’t a part of the first 21 years of my life but now it will forever be! It was because of that first rodeo that I was inspired to compete for the title of Miss ORA 2018. I won first runner up and while was disappointed, was reminded that God has plans for us as a month later received an internship offer in CO for the summer. Still, from that first pageant I had so many takeaways from life lessons to new friends to my first ever horse. Being Miss ORA was a goal of mine as I hope to use my title to serve the rodeo and general community and promote my platform of “Back in the Saddle”. My platform is based off my own personal experiences of overcoming setbacks, staying positive, and having faith in God.
I cannot wait to get this year started and see what it brings! I am so excited to serve as your Miss ORA 2019.
Stay tuned to meet Miss Teen ORA 2019, Alexis Mantonya! Shannon Norris Director Miss ORA Pageant
As 2018 comes to an end, that means the titles must be passed on to the next group of girls to reign for the Ozark Rodeo Association. Maddy and Jacci have done a great job this past year representing the Ozark Rodeo Association and we can't wait to see what the future holds for them. They will both appear one last time at the Ozark Rodeo Association Awards Banquet in February, but they have each taken the time to reflect on their year as titleholders and I hope you all enjoy going down memory lane with them.
I cannot believe my time has come to end my year as Miss ORA 2018. Though my year was short, I had the best time of my life. Becoming Miss ORA was an unexpected surprise, but I was accepted with opening arms. Coming into the season with few rodeos left gave me little time to gather my bearings. I really had to sit down and think about what I really wanted to promote for the rest of the year. I choose to always being the smiling face at every rodeo. Not only to smile, but to make sure to encourage all contestants, of all ages. To always be around to lend a helping hand and most importantly to enjoy every minute of this journey. As we all know I am not a typical queen. My hair never stays curled, my clothes were never up to par with most queen standards, but I made the best of it and loved every minute of this ride. I have had the best support team. To my mom and my dad, thank you for pushing me and always believing in me. To Laurie and Audrey, my two favorite hauling partners, thank you for always being willing to leave at whatever time I needed to be on time or early to every perf, even when that meant really late nights. Shannon and Sherrie, thank you for all of your advice, clothing me when I needed something a little more queen and a little less plain. Shannon, thank you for trusting me with this title and always being the best director you could be. Always being willing to help with hair or makeup. We had quite a season, from competitors to being my director it was a great year. To my grandma, my guardian angel, I miss you daily, I so wish you coulda been here to watch me on this journey, I can only imagine how you would have reacted to seeing me all dressed up. You are the greatest guardian angel I could ask for. I miss and love you so much. Jacci, you were the greatest Teen one could ask for. You always were there to lend a helping hand and accepted me with such open arms. It was such a fun year with you. To the ORA board and its members, thank you all for the support that you have given me. It has been the best year I could ever have. The stress and busy days have been so worth it. I am so blessed to have been apart of this association and to hold a title as queen. As for the future queens, enjoy the year, make the best of everything, and always hold a smile and be ready for pictures. It goes by way to quick, then you find yourself where I am, writing your farewell, are crying while eating Oreos. Onto the next one, Your Miss ORA 2018 Madison Benson.
It is hard for me to believe that my reign as Miss Teen Ozark Rodeo Association is almost over. I started representing rodeo in 2015, as Jr. Miss Greencastle Rodeo. That weekend I knew I was in love with rodeo and being an advocate for the greatest sport. The next year I won Jr. Miss Mark Twain Lake Rodeo 2016, and later that year I won Miss Teen Rodeo Missouri 2017. My year as representing Missouri taught me a lot about how to be the best representative I could be! Professional rodeo is an amazing thing; you meet new people at every rodeo, and to be apart of the bigger picture. When my reign was coming to an end, Shannon sent me a message to enlighten me about the ORA pageant. I am so thankful she did! If she would not have messaged me I would have more than likely missed this huge opportunity to represent the ORA. Throughout my year I have met many of you, and you all have become a family to me! I have gained so many new chances to represent the ORA around my hometown, and throughout the state of Missouri. I have attended exceptional rodeos, parades, daddy daughter dances, and community events to help promote what the ORA has to offer. Thank you to the board for letting me be the face of this wonderful association! Thank you to each and every one of the ORA members for welcoming me with open arms; you have made this a year to remember. One more thank you to Shannon Norris, who made this year flawless. You have become an inspiration for every girl around you, and I can’t wait to see where your aspirations take you! Thank you to my mom and dad for always supporting and believing in me. You have always stood behind me and my craziest dreams! You are the reason I am where I am today! I am and always will be forever thankful for all the opportunities this rein has given me! For one last time I am your 2018 Miss Teen Ozark Rodeo Association Jacci Gregory!
Stay tuned to meet our 2019 Titleholders! Until Next Time, Shannon Norris Director Miss ORA Pageant