Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word rodeo as, “an exhibition that features cowboy skills (as riding and roping).” So when I began to think about how the Kentucky High School Rodeo Association has affected my future I had come to realize that this particular sport doesn’t just feature a cowboy’s skills but instead all of the most essential qualities needed to succeed in life.
Imagine yourself sitting in the stands at the short go of the National High School Finals Rodeo where the most prestigious cowboys and cowgirls vie for the National title. What you don’t see however, are the moments when these contestants become so tired they want to quit but don’t. Or when they learn to deal with disappointment after failing time and time again. Rodeo teaches those to be disciplined, while taking care of their bodies or achieving nearly unattainable goals. Rodeo creates an opportunity to make lifelong friends, holding themselves accountable for their animals and learning the importance of team work. Rodeo teaches those that a champion isn’t made overnight, however hours and hours of practice will put you there. In the midst of it all, cowboys and cowgirls turn to our Lord and Savior for strength and guidance before every performance.
My first year competing at the NHSFR I was the 2013 Kentucky High School Rodeo Queen. It was an action packed 10 days filled with horsemanship patterns, speeches, interviews, etc. I devoted hours upon hours to train myself, my brain, and my horse to be the very best. 20 outfits later and many of singed hairs fewer, I stood on the arena floor awaiting what I thought was the biggest moment of my life. And just like that, I didn’t win! At that particular time in my life, I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough and carried that disappointment for the remainder of my high school career. After graduating, I sought higher education at the University of Kentucky. It was here, that I realized what Kentucky High School Rodeo had done for me. There have been moments that I have wanted to quit because life became so stressful it seemed easier to throw in the towel, but I didn’t. Rodeo taught me to have discipline and work hard for what I was aiming for. So how could I work so hard for something such as a rodeo queen pageant only to throw it away over one loss?
John 13:7 says “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but someday you will” and just like that I awaited God’s plan. I am now a junior in college pursuing a degree in Marketing where I plan to become an Adoption Lawyer. Remember me saying that rodeo presents lifelong friends? I currently work on a farm for a rodeo family very near and dear to my heart. As for my rodeo queen career? In less than 30 days I will be competing in the 2017 Miss Rodeo America Pageant representing the Bluegrass State. For this, I am forever indebted to the Kentucky High School Rodeo Association because I learned how to deal with disappointment after failure. I realized that a champion isn’t made overnight but over many years of hard work and dedication. But most importantly, I learned to remain humble no matter where life takes me. There are so many qualities that the KYHSRA can teach a cowboy or cowgirl that they may not otherwise obtain. So the next time you hear the word “rodeo” remember those who don’t give up, who make it their life ambition to succeed, and who devote their life to God in hopes for a brighter future.
Miss Rodeo Kentucky 2016