Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Blinked . . . and Now it's Over

Twenty seven state titleholders--what a tough job for the judges!

What an incredible experience!

I cannot believe my week at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant is here and gone . . . I had the time of my life! I knew it was going to be a great week when we moved into our rooms and were greeted by shiny, new acoustic guitars! Santa came early and I was so excited; the only thing that would have made it perfect is if I only knew how to play it. Maybe as an afterthought Santa will bring me a "teach yourself to play the guitar" DVD in my stocking.
Cheese! L to R: Ashlee Stallings (NM), Kadee Coffman (CA), Kelsea Walker (IL), and I heading to the Cowboy Christmas Auction.

After the guitar, things only got better. The group of girls was wonderful; I got to know 26 great friends and reminisced with those who I knew coming into the pageant. The horsemanship portion of the pageant was one of my highlights because I drew a really nice little bay gelding who sat down and slid about 10 feet for me to complete my first pattern! I think I was more impressed than the cheering crowd because I have never sat something that felt so wonderful before; it was like the horse just folded under me. Amazing!

Doing a little tiger wrestling and recapping of how it looked as I "started my year off with a BANG" into an out-gate post . . .

I had a great time learning the dances for the fashion show and was very proud to model my beautiful Ashley Kelber leather dress--she definitely out-did herself! Though the organized dancing wasn't as bad as I thought, I was rewarded by the opportunity to shake a leg and cut a rug at the "Get Acquainted" Party. There was a great one-man-band who provided some great tunes to polka, swing, two-step, and waltz to, so I was in seventh heaven! Not to mention it was on the same day as horsemanship, so it was definitely a great day because any day the begins on a horse and ends on a dance floor is bound to bring a smile to my face!
Ann, Ty, and Butch Murray--I was honored to meet all of them! What a wonderful family!

One of the highlights was getting to meet the "King of Cowboys" Ty Murray! His mom was one of our judges, so it was a great suprise, and I now have a prized autographed picture to frame and hang! I began my auctioneering career on the "Cowboy Christmas" stage as I introduced the items I had brought to raise money for the Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Fund. I was glad the proper colonel took the microphone back because I definitely not great, but I had fun. That same morning I got to see Jerry Dietz and the rest of his family! They came out to support me and broadcast live--it was great to see such shiny, southwest Iowa faces!
Jerry Dietz of KCSI Radio in Red Oak, IA interviewing me moments after coronation in Las Vegas.

As the week went on, it was easy to relax and be myself. Though I was not as well-prepared as some of the other girls, I had a great time and turned out alright. You can breathe easy now, I came home with two scholarships, so that will cheapen your future vet bills by a small percentage! I was very honored to end up placing where I did, but would have liked to place Iowa higher since we live in the best state of the fifty united!
Friends! L to R: Chelsea Stramma (WI), Brittany Sing (AR), me, and Jesse Budd (WA) looking photogenic at check-in!

Thank you for the endless support this year. I have been humbled by everyone's kindness and hospitality. I am sad that I am now an official "has been" and cannot believe that a year has passed. It was fun to see so many wonderful friends, family, and supporters out in Las Vegas. It made me smile and think that if I did nothing else right this year, I at least came out with many new, genuine, and lasting friendships. Some of my best memories were made this year, and I am so thankful and fortunate for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The reality check of having to come back and take finals right away was not as fun as I hoped, but as I finished the last test, I had a wave of satisfaction come over me . . . I did it.

"Oh, you better not pout, you better not cry, you better watch out I'm telling you why . . . Santa Claus is coming to town . . . "

Thank you, I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! I really appreciate all of the thoughts, gifts, and emails I received during the week of the pageant--it was very comforting and reassuring. If you would like to see more pictures of the pageant, visit Make sure you are extra good these last few days before Christmas because Santa is watching!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Congratulations Amanda - Top 10 and More!

Amanda was named a top-ten finalist at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant on Saturday. She also earned the Central Region Scholarship, being the highest scoring individual in her region who was not in the top-five. In addtion to these awards she was honored with the Raeana Wadhams Spirit Award. This award is given to a special young woman who has particular focus, drive and goals along with a positive attitude throughout the pageant.

Amanda is now home and taking her finals as she ends her first semester as a student at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State. Once she's finished with her finals, and things settle down a bit, she will be doing a summary of her Miss Rodeo America experiences here on her blog. Thank you to everyone who sent her well-wishes throughout the pageant through the pageant email. Your messages helped keep up her spirits during a grueling week of competition.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Way to go Amanda!

Today it was announced that Amanda had won second place in the Scrapbook competition! The cover was created by Cary and Laura Veach of Veach's Leather Goods in Ankeny. She received a rosette ribbon and a cash award for her efforts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best of luck Amanda!

Your Board of Directors, committee and friends all wish you the best of luck this coming week at the Miss Rodeo America 2009 Pageant! You have lived a dream year and managed to pack a lot of living into just 365 days. We are all very proud of your accomplishments, not only as Miss Rodeo Iowa but also as a student of veterinary medicine.

If you would like to send well wishes to Amanda while she is at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, please remember the following:

Place "Iowa" in the subject line (makes it easier for the committee to file)
All messages are read prior to giving to the contestants, so keep it appropriate.
Amanda will not have access to email while competing.
Messages may not be printed after noon Friday, December 7.

The email address to use is The Miss Rodeo America blog can be found at Updates on pageant activities and special interest stories will be posted daily.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Fabulous Fashion Show!

Queens, queens, and more queens! L to R: Aleigh Beahm, Rachel Burton, me, Suzette Walker, Suzi Fife, Holly Soucie

Thank you to everyone who attended my fashion show send-off and donated to my travel fund. It was wonderful to see so many friends, family, and supporters--I am truly blessed with wonderful people in my life. I was in the presence of beauty on Sunday because Aleigh Beahm (Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008), Rachel Burton (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008), Holly Soucie (Miss Sidney Rodeo 2007), Suzi Fife (Miss Teen Rodeo Lenox 2007), and Suzette Walker (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2007) were kind enough to add the "glitz and glam" to my fashion show!
Fashion Show Dress by Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies

I would like to thank Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies (Rhodes, Iowa) for making all of my beautiful leather outfits. I am very proud to be one of her "walking models" this year because Ashley's creativity and ability is like no other. I LOVE my "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" vest and am very sad I will only get to wear it once in Las Vegas. My fashion show dress is so fun to wear because it has somewhat of a train and makes me feel as if I float across the ground!
Tough Enough To Wear Pink Vest by Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies

I really appreciate the friendship I have acquired throughout the year with the Kelber family. They are a wonderful group of people who have welcomed Dixie and me into their family, and have even offered to dogsit while I go to Las Vegas! (Dixie loves staying at the Kelber's house because they spoil her rotten!) I feel very lucky to only live 30 miles from the most talented leather seamstress in the world. If you need leather garmets, do not hesitate to contact Ashey at 641-482-3510.
Horsemanship shirt, pants, and boots by Paula Jameson of Reigning Rhinestones

Paula Jameson of Reining Rhinestones (Bridgewater) did not disappoint anyone with my "beautifully 'bling'ed" horsemanship shirt! I am very excited to wear it because the judges won't be able to see my make any errors in my patterns because they will be mesmerized by all of the glittering coming from the arena. (Good plan, Paula!) Paula has also dyed my pants for the competition and painted the boots I will be wearing so I owe it to her that I will be matched and stately in the city of lights. Paula has been such a wonderful help this year and has become such a great friend. I hope she still chooses to associate with me after I am a "has been" in about a month! ;) If you need any arena clothes, boots painted, or pants dyed, be sure to give Paula a call because if there ever has been a color created, Paula can match it! 641-369-4131
We match! Paula Jameson--designer, friend, and fasion diva! Look at those boots!

I would like to thank the Shenandoah Middle School for allowing me to have the sendoff in the commons. It worked out great to change behind the "stage" in the music room and we had ample space for people to sit, and even had enough room for a large "runway" for everyone to model. Mom did a great job with the music by playing fun songs to model to (I hope they do the same out in Vegas), and helped me get food and other things planned for the event. Thank you, Mom, for all of your help!
Wayne Woolridge, a faithful supporter of the Miss Rodeo Iowa program and great friend!

I had such a wonderful time that it flew by too quickly, but not before I spotted Wayne Woolridge in the crowd! Wayne, of Cherokee, Iowa, has been a wonderful supporter of the Miss Rodeo Iowa Program for years. I really appreciate all Wayne has done to help me get through the year; he has been so kind to me and I cannot thank him enough. Wayne has also offered to drive my clothes to Las Vegas so I don't have to worry about paying over-weight charges on the airline and getting my bags lost. It has been people like Wayne that have made my year unforgettable because of the never-ending kindness, friendship, support, and smiles he has given me throughout the year. Thank you, Wayne, for reminding me why I am so fortunate to be an Iowan!
Jason and Marla Long of Centerville--Pepper Ann's family! Thank you for letting me use the beautiful grey all summer!

Thank you, to everyone, for all of your support and friendship throughout the year. YOU have made this experience one of the most positive and unforgettable times in my life, and for this I am thankful. Since the veterinary curriculum has been taxing on my Miss Rodeo America studying and preparation, I do not feel as if I have put the time into getting ready for this national competition as a normal contestant should. However, because of the many wonderful individuals that have touched my life and influenced my way of thinking, I feel prepared to handle anything that is thrown my way. I will do my best to make Iowa proud, but no matter how the results turn out, I feel blessed knowing that I have already been rewarded with the most precious and priceless gift one could be given: the confidence, trust, and love of the wonderful people of Iowa. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and will be sure to recap the extraordinary time I will have in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant! Viva Las Vegas, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a scholarship so your vet bills can be cheaper!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Louisville, Kentucky--Home of the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo

Nice jackets! Me, Chelsea Stramma (WI), Kaytie Zuidema (MI), and Kelsea Walker (IL) showing off our warm Circuit Finals jackets.

How do 5 gals share a 4-door car, 3 mirrors, 2 beds, and one bathroom for 5 days?

Very well and with a lot of fun stories to tell if you were with our "bunch" this past week in Louisville, KY for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo! Judy Rogers was brave and kind enough to make the trip with me (so I could study for my two tests on the drive home), and her company helped the time and miles pass pleasantly and quickly. We picked up Kelsea Walker (Miss Rodeo Illinois) along the way and met up with Chelsea Stramma (Miss Rodeo Wisconsin) and Kaytie Zuidema (Miss Rodeo Michigan) once we checked into our very nice hotel.
Peggy Gander, former owner of Dodge Rodeo, and instrumental part of the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo

From there it was a whirlwind of activity, rodeo, dodging one another as we maneuvered our way around one another getting ready, and many memories that are worth telling! The rodeo was great! The top 12 cowboys from our 9-state circuit were in contention for money, points, and the chance to head to the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo this next March in Pocatello, Idaho. I saw many familiar faces and quite a few proud Iowans!

During the rodeo Kelsea, Chelsea, Kaytie, and I got to help carry sponsor flags and clear cattle. It was a wonderful time that ended too quickly. I would like to thank Rod, a pickup man for the Mid-State Rodeo Company, for bringing the sharp looking paints we rode all weekend. Lex Anderson (daughter of John Walter, owner of Mid-States Rodeo Co.) was fun to get to know and spoiled us because when we got to the arena, she already had the horses saddled each night. Thank you, Lex, for your help, and have a nice winter break!

Chelsea, Kelsea, Kavin Kingery, Kaytie, and I posing by the "official' truck of the rodeo. (All of us girls are wishing he would let us take the truck for a spin!)

In our "off" time we got picked up in the official Dodge Truck, driven by Iowa native Kavin Kingery, and taken to visit the local Dodge dealership. It was fun to ride in a brand-new truck and everyone at the dealership welcomed us with Kentucky hospitality. I had the opportunity to attend the "Farm City Luncheon" with announcer Roger Mooney and Iowa ropers Bill Huber (and his wife Jackie) and Ron Dales. Bill and Ron helped two teams of businessmen learn to rope a chair, then they had a face-off roping competition for the coveted horse collar award. I had a great time handing out hats and bandanas to the contestants and chatting with Bill, Jackie, and Ron. Ron's son Cooper (9 years old) and his paint pony "Pretty Girl" has helped Rachel Burton and I chase out cattle at quite a few rodeos, so I made sure Ron would pass Rachel and my "hello" on to Mr. Cooper.

Circuit Finals Contestants and fellow Iowans: Ron Dales and Bill Huber (with his wife Jackie) posed for a picture after a long morning of teaching two teams of businessmen how to rope.

Lucky us! Posing with a Carl Bowman (behind Kelsea and I) at his barn on the backside of Churchill Downs.

Later that day we visited Churchill Downs--home of the Kentucky Derby! It was such an exciting trip becuase they were racing that morning, and we happened to meet Carl Bowman, who trains horses at the track! Carl helped us bet on a race and explained how to read all of the boards and books to "handicapp the race" (i.e. pick out who you think will win). After a few races he took us back on the backside of the track to his barn and he showed us around. It was amazing to see such fine racehorses and learn about how they trained and fed their equine athletes. We felt so lucky to have met Mr. Bowman, and he welcomed us back anytime we were in the area.

Cary and Laura Veach, of Ankeny, Iowa. Check out that scrapbook cover! Thank you, Cary!

Cary Veach of Ankeny, Iowa has been wonderful to me this year--keeping Pepper and I outfitted in the most stylish leather chaps and tack. He has outdone himself, once again, by creating the most PERFECT scrapbook cover for my "year of memories" to take to Las Vegas. Thank you, Cary, for all of your wonderful work! If you ever need any leather work done, Cary is your man! Don't hesitate to contact him and his wife Laura at their shop Tuesday-Saturday at (515) 964-8331. (Just don't ask for stars for a while; I am pretty sure I have exhausted him with stars this year!)

Well-mounted on wonderful paint horses bearing red Mid-States Rodeo Company (from Kirksville, MO) breastcollars.

Saturday night was the last night for the rodeo--and my "career." This was the last rodeo I will get to attend and help out as Miss Rodeo Iowa 2007; it doesn't seem like the year should be over! Kelsea and I had a "moment of reflection" together as we thought back to all of the wonderful places we have been this year, all of the incredible people we have met, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities we were granted because of the crowns we have nestled upon our Bailey hats. I feel so fortunate for the year but a little sad it is all over. However, I can happily say that I have no regrets, and I was able to check many things off of my "list of things to do in a lifetime."

Thank you for following me this past year on the blog. I have had a great time keeping up with it and sharing my pictures, stories, and experiences with you. I appreciate all of the support everyone has given me, and I hope to make you proud two weeks from now as I make my flight and "Viva Las Vegas" in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. No matter how things turn out, I will go in and go home knowing I am the most fortunate person there because of the never-ending support, love, encouragement, and faith from my family, friends, the Miss Rodeo Iowa Board, and all of the people I met throughout my year of traveling. I love you all, and will never forget your kindness (so feel free to call me when you need a calf pulled, dog spayed, horse stitched up, etc.) Best wishes, and may God bless you and your family.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wild Weekend at the Extreme Cowboy Race!

Craig Cameron, clinician and inventor of the Extreme Cowboy Race.

Thank you, Judy Rogers, for the invitation for a great weekend!

I had the privelage to attend the Extreme Cowboy Race Finals in Kansas City, MO at the Saddle and Sirloin Club. Craig Cameron ( ), an accomplished clinician and horseman, is the mastermind behind this absolutely amazing competition. It showcases true, functional horsemanship and adds excitement because the outdoor obstacle course is timed. Each day the course changes and challenges mount, but there were many extremely talented horses and riders in Kansas City this weekend that tackled the thich brush, tree dragging, roping, jumping, water crossings, and other obstacles with precision and class.
Bill Hull, Barn Manager and Groundkeeper at the Saddle and Sirloin Club in Kansas City, MO

While at the race, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with and be interviewed with Craig Cameron which was an experience! He is very easy to talk to and definitely has the "gift of gab" as any good clinician does. If you enjoy trail riding and horseback ranch tasks, you should consider entering one of the competitions. There are quite a few preliminary races around the United States with very nice saddles to be won, as well as the chance to compete in the national competition. It is definitely a true test of the horse's training and ability, as well as the rider's horsemanship--you should look into it!
Hoosier LOVES to have his ears scratched!

Also during the day, I met Sue Cole, the editor of Mules and More magazine ( ). Her "grand-mule" Hoosier was one of the competitors in the race. After telling her I was a mule owner, she asked me to come by after the race and take a few pictures with the famous mule. I was delighted! Hoosier is a beautifully built ~15.3 hand sorrel mule that placed in the top five, beating the rest of the horses! He was not very excited about putting his ears up for the pictures, but he sure didn't mind me scratching them! It was fun to meet Hoosier because I haven't been in the presence of a mule for a while!

Jerry and Nicolas giving us the abbreviated version of their show

Charro Jerry Diaz ( )was one of the competitors in the race, so it was a great opportunity to watch one of the most talented men I have ever seen sit a horse. He has been riding and training since he was young, and is quite a hand with a lariat. Jerry performs at many rodeos and events performing rope tricks and horse acts (bowing, laying down, difficult dressage moves, etc.). Judy Rogers studies horsemanship and training under Jerry, so I got the opportunity to meet Jerry, his wife Staci, and their son, Nicolas. Nicolas is quite the performer already and definitely steals the show with his own trick rope and ornery grin. They Diazes are a very kind and caring family, and I felt very honored to meet them! (Even though I have spent the entire last year traveling and meeting many famous people, I still get star-struck!)

Nicolas Diaz, a future 5th generation Mexican charro, who will be a heartbreaker in a few years!

The fun is not quite over! This week I will be in Louisville, KY for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals rodeo. I am very excited to help carry flags and chase out cattle during the performances. Once I return home from Louisville and take two tests at school the next week, it will be FASHION SHOW SEND-OFF TIME! Come one, come all to the Shenandoah Middle School commons at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November for a sneak-peek of what I will be wearing during the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas. I will be in the presence of Aleigh Beahm (Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008), Rachel Burton (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008), Holly Soucie (Miss Sidney Iowa Rodeo 2007), Suzi Fife (Miss Teen Rodeo Lenox), and possibly a few more queens! It should be a fun afternoon, and I would love to see you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show Send-Off! 11/18/07 @ 2:00 p.m.

Special thanks to my cousin, Trey Eason, of Eason Portrait Gallery in Adel, Iowa for the beautiful pictures! He is a wonderful photographer and very creative!

Hello, hello!

To prepare for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, I am having a FASHION SHOW SEND-OFF to model all of the beautiful outfits I will be wearing during the pageant. Ashley Kelber and Paula Jameson have been sewing away and working very dilligently, so I owe it to them to show off their beautiful handiwork--not to mention I am SURE I will be the best-dressed queen there!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. in the commons of the Shenandoah, Iowa Middle School. We will be celebrating autumn with apple cider and a few snacks to satisfy your mid-afternoon munchies! I have a fun slide show of all the pictures from my various trips during the year for your enjoyment, as well as the opportunity to catch up and visit with people you have not seen for a while! (I would advertise free veterinary consultation, but I am not too far through school, so there would be no guarantee on my diagnoses!) If you will listen, I would LOVE to recite the speech I will be giving during the speech competition. I will also have a free-will offering basket to try to tie up a few loose ends I have left to finance for the year, such as shipping of all my outfits to Las Vegas, plane tickets, etc.

I will be in the presence of beauty and other royalty, as Aleigh Beahm, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008 will be there, along with other Iowa rodeo queens. The girls will also be modeling one of their favorite outfits and introducing themselves so you can become familiar with all of the beauty and brains within the state! I am very excited for the send-off because I have had such an extraordinary year all because of the support (in so many different ways and forms) of all the wonderful people I call my friends. Do not worry; I will never forget any of you, and when you need a calf pulled at 2 a.m. or a second opinion on your dog's chronic skin condition, or someone to perform cutting-edge surgery on your prized equine friend, please do not hesitate to call once I am an official D.V.M.

Jerry Dietz of KCSI Radio in Red Oak, Iowa and his family will be in Las Vegas during the Miss Rodeo America Pageant BROADCASTING LIVE! I feel so fortunate and excited they are doing this becauase it will give many of you the opportunity to hear what things are like! Jerry does an excellent job interviewing and keeping his listeners informed, so I am sure it will be just like you are standing next to him in Las Vegas during his broadcasts!

Sorry it has been a while since I have written, but Dixie and I have been studying all about cardiac physiology, canine anatomy (for which she is a great model), and biochemistry. The clock is ticking and the calendar is turning . . . which means it will not be long before I "Viva Las Vegas" again! I am getting more excited than I am prepared, but I have high hopes to come out with a scholarship in the pageant!

Since the last time I wrote about the great week in Ft. Madison, I have been to the Iowa State University Cyclone Stampede Rodeo in Ames. Rachel Burton, Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008, who is also an ISU student was there and brought along an extra horse for me to run flags and chase out cattle. Thank you, Rachel, for letting me ride Cosmo! (I think she was mad that I got to ride a horse taller than Tank in Nevada becauase she made sure this time to bring me a horse way smaller than tank--by about 2 hands!)

It was a very windy weekend, but the rodeo was great and my mom did a wonderful job with the music during the performances. Blaine Partridge was the announcer, for the third year, and he did a great job, as usual. There is a very fun and ironic story about Blaine and my mom became a rodeo sound/announcing team--you should ask me sometime! Jim Svboda of Ord, NE was on hand to take pictures at the rodeo and he even sent me a few copies to add to my scrapbook. Thank you, Jim, they fill the page nicely and were just what I needed!

Speaking of my scrapbook, Cary Veach is crafting a beautiful cover out of leather and hair-on calf hide. I am really excited to slip the many pages filled with memories into the cover. Cary and his wife Laura have been so fun to work with and get to know this year. I feel very fortunate I am not too far from them because I enjoy just stopping in every once in a while just to say hello! Dixie benefited last time I stopped because she now has a new, fancy "going out" collar complete with a three-piece buckle, conchos, and letter conchos spelling out her name! (Spoiled, I know, but Cary does such wonderful work!)

The next stop I will make is the Extreme Cowboy Race Championships in Kansas City, MO during the weekend of November 3-4. I am heading down to ride with Judy Rogers for the weekend, and she has arranged for me to get to meet Craig Cameron! If you are unfamiliar with the program, you should watch RFDTV sometime, and you will be amazed! The next weekend I will be in Louisville, KY for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals, then we will have the fashion show send-off, followed by a break the next weekend to eat turkey and spend time with the family, and then I will be in Las Vegas! I cannot believe how quickly things are coming up, but I am very excited and feel so lucky for the opportunity to compete for Miss Rodeo America!

Take care, and I hope to see you at the send-off! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me! Have a great week, and I will try to write again after my weekend in Kansas City!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ft. Madison and the New Miss Rodeo Iowa!

Hello, Ft. Madison! Behind me is the Mississippi River--it is GREAT to be back in southest Iowa!

What a WHIRLWIND of a week! It was bittersweet to be back in Ft. Madison because I was excited for the Tri-State Rodeo and Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant, but sad because I am becoming closer to being a "has been." However, I felt as if I became a resident of Ft. Madison and my nice, spacious room was beginning to feel like home during my 10-day southeast Iowa vacation. I had a FANTASTIC week, and as usual, I am excited to tell you about it, so sit back, put your feet up, enjoy the pictures, and read away!
My second "bull riding" experience of the year at the Special Kids' Rodeo in the Tri-State Rodeo Arena along with one of my new friends.

I began my fun by helping out with the Special Kid's Rodeo. What a great day! There were so many different thing for the contestants to have fun doing, including barrel bull riding, bale bronc busting, steer roping, goat tying, horse rides, barrel racing, and even the chance to sit on a real, live bull named Gus! I didn't get around to trying everything because Jesse, one of the older contestants and helpers, and I were having a great time roping the steer! Throughout the day I received many high-fives, hugs, and never stopped smiling but my face did not hurt because my heart was in control; all of the contestants were a beautiful blessing of determination, happiness, love, and triumph. I am Katie's number one fan!

One of the most memorable cowgirls I met that day was Katie. This gal has more personality in her little finger than I have ever thought about, or will have ever have the opportunity, to have! She was full of smiles, laughter, and had a positive outlook on everything--I believe we should all learn a lesson from Katie. She made her own special place in my heart that day, and I every time I need a pick-me-up, I think of Miss Katie.

Doc and Rock, who I would LOVE to take home and have for my own! They are for sale if you're interested!

After the contestants had completed all of the events, received their medals, and had chowed down on a delicious lunch complete with Cowboy Beans--and you know how I feel about this essential dish--everyone packed up and went home for the day. One of the other events going on throughout the day for the contestants was horse-drawn wagon rides. The beautiful Percheron team of Doc and Rock, owned by Mr. Dave Beelman, made several laps around the rodeo grounds during the day, but they were kind enough to go one more time and allow me to drive them! It seems that my summer has had somewhat of a draft horse theme to it! I was excited to hear the team is for sale for a very afforable price, but then my practical conscience tapped on my shoulder and informed me that I have student loans to worry about before I acquire a team of horses!

Setting the pattern for the Stick Horse Barrel Race at the Little Spurs Rodeo in the Tri-State Rodeo Arena.

The next event I was able to help out with was the Little Spurs Rodeo for kids up to 14 years old. The date happend to be Labor Day, and boy, did those kids work hard in their events! They competed in the mutton busting, steer riding, stick horse barrel racing, goat tail tying, calf scramble, and greased pig contest! I had a great time hazing sheep and Holstein steers, as well as setting the pattern for the stick horse barrel race. I really wanted to ride one of the steers, but that little conscience tapped me on the shoulder again and reminded me of my somewhat bad luck this year and proneness to accidents! Therefore, I had to think of some other way to embarrass myself, so I shared many of my corny steer jokes with the audience--thank goodness rotten tomatoes were banned at the gate!

We love reading--and our ABC's!

On Tuesday and Wednesday I spent the entire day at Richardson and Lincoln Elementary in Ft. Madison; I figured my absence from Histology, Anatomy, Radiology, and Biochemistry in Ames would be justified if I spent it at a school! I had a great time speaking to the different classrooms about the rodeo, answering questions about the different events and treatment of rodeo stock, and even received picture drawings from one of the classrooms! When I visited the Kindergarteners, I sat back and enjoyed learning about different animals as they read their ABC's from a big book! During my school visit I ran into to one-and-only Katie who I met at the rodeo and was greated with a big wave and hug!
Jim Platt, the General Chairman for the Tri-State Rodeo and Chief Executive Officer of Administration at the Ft. Madison Community Hospital; he did a wonderful job with the rodeo and supports the Miss Rodeo Iowa Program through and through by donating the Miss Rodeo Iowa Trophy Saddle, along with the Ft. Madison Community Hospital. Thank you, Jim, for what you do for our program!

Tuesday night I was kindly invited by the wonderful Tri-State Rodeo Board to the Committee Dinner. I was honored by being seated at the head table with General Chairman Jim Platt, Vice Chairman Chuck Kempker, Announcer Boyd Polhamus, and Stock Contractor Binion Cervi. The Cervi Championship Rodeo Co. also brings stock to the Sidney, Iowa Championship Rodeo, so it was great to see a familiar face. Binion does a wonderful job with the stock company; he amazes me every time I see him because he is the same age as I, yet produces some of the largest rodeos in the PRCA. Great job, Binion!
Mr. Binion Cervi himself!

Wednesday night was Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Tri-State Rodeo. Though Pepper Ann told me her favorite color is blue, she did comment on how nice everyone looked in their "pinks" and thought it was great they were showing their support for Breast Cancer Awareness. The Miss Rodeo Iowa Contestants arrived Wednesday night--Aleigh Beahm, Kami Axtel, and Miranda Galvin, along with Kelsea Walker, Miss Rodeo Illinois. It was wonderful to see all of the familiar, shining faces! I not only got to see many famous cowboys and cowgirls, but Kelsea and I got to help run sponsor flags and chase out cattle during the rodeo. Pepper Ann and I had a super time--she is a trooper and did such a wonderful job for me this year, especially considering her first trip off the farm was to a rodeo!
Pepper Ann and my "Tough Enough" Queen's Run--she looks great! Check out the crafty Cary Veach Custom breast collar! Thank you, Cary

Billy Etbauer is my PRCA hero! I was in shock just to see him 5 feet in front of me and even more thrilled thathe would pose for a picture with me!

The rodeo was FANTASTIC the entire week! Every time Boyd would announce some of the contestants who had come to Ft. Madison, I had to make sure I was not sitting in the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas. Behind the chutes I saw great cowboys and cowgirls such as: Shali Lord, Mary Berger, Billy Etbauer, Cody DeMoss, Chad Ferley, Kyle Whitaker, BJ Schumacher, Royce Ford, Bill Huber, and the list goes on! It was a very "proud Iowan" moment for me to think that these people had traveled from South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. to compete at the Tri-State Rodeo. Great job, Tri-State Committee, for making your rodeo so great that current world champions make it a definite date on their calendar!

The beautiful, talented, and accomplished Judy Rogers riding her mare, Honey, taking time to pose next to Pepper Ann and me.

Thursday morning was the Horsemanship portion of the competition. Judy Rogers, who was one of the judges last year at the pageant, was so kind and brought up her 6-year old BEAUTIFULLY TRAINED dun mare, Honey, for me to ride. Honey is the nicest horse I have ever had the privelage to ride; we were able to wow the crowd with 4 awesome spins to the right and left to end the pattern! I didn't ride Honey as well as she can perform, so I have to apologize for that, but if you ever get the chance, you should watch Judy ride her! Judy makes Honey ride so smoothly, performing difficult moves with the ease of the sticky, golden, bee-made substance you drizzle over toast and muffins!

Kelsea Walker looking beautiful, as always, with Honey and me after Horsemanship. Kelsea used Honey during the rodeo performances to carry flags and chase out cattle.

Judy has helped me so much this year; she was gracious enough to take me under her wing and help me figure out how to "put my face on" and select my make-up colors. One of the most special moments I have shared with Judy this year was right after I had a make-over; I looked in the mirror and said: "Judy, I look like Miss Rodeo Iowa!" I owe my peace-of-mind and satisfaction of my appearance to her! Judy has also helped me fine-tune my horsemanship, of which I am very grateful for. Thank you, Judy, I appreciate all you have done for me!
Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008 Contestants: (L to R) Kami Axtel, Aleigh Beahm, and Miranda Galvin

After horsemanship the contestants went out to B Bar T to pick out outfits they wanted to model during Saturday's fashion show. B Bar T is so kind in letting the contestants borrow their clothes, and gives them a WONDERFUL discount after the pageant if they want to purchase them. After we left the store, the girls had to go back for the Personal Interview portion of the competition. Kelsea and I headed to the Holy Trinity School in the neighboring town and got to speak to the students about rodeo, and even got to play kickball with one class during P.E.! Kelsea and I were not as good as we remembered ourselves to be and were definitely warm running around in felt hats and leather vests!

After P.E. the 5th-7th graders filed into the gym and Kelsea and I got the neat opportunity to step away from just talking about bull riders, flank straps, and rodeo clowns. We took the opportunity to speak to the middle schoolers about how rodeo queen pageants have taught us how to set goals, speak in front of people, conduct ourselves in a mature manner (most of the time--everyone needs a good kickball game every now and again!), and how to push ourselves to be more than we ever thought we would be. The most important subject I stressed was treating everyone with kindness because it has many unique and unexpected ways of making its way full-circle. Many wonderful things have happened to me this year all related to simple acts of kindness.

Speaking of Kindness: If it weren't for Bobbie Hinds (L), my National Director and Paula Jameson (R), the Teen Coordinator, I would not have ever had the CHANCE of becoming Miss Rodeo Iowa. Thank you, gals, for all you have done to turn me into who I am today--and for making sure I look like a rodeo queen when I make appearances! Bobbie was so kind and bought me a "Welcome" sign for my future practice to remind me of what a great year I had!

Friday was the Speech portion of the competition, and my opportunity to share some of great experiences this year with the audience. (I say SOME because if they would have let me tell about all them, we would have been there all day!) The best thing that happened to me this year, by far, is when I got to show Chopper in the Governor's Charity Steer Show! Call me crazy, but it was bliss to have calf slobber running down one forearm while I scratched his belly with a showstick in the other hand! The contestants did a wonderful job "thinking outside of the box" with their speeches; I was prepared to hear the same "Iowa" facts three times over, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear about determined women, tough cancer survivors, and patriotic Americans! Great job, gals!

Saturday morning Pepper Ann and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the parade waving, smiling, and talking with parade-watchers. We love parades, and realized this would be our last one together, and probably our last one forever, so we wanted to make the most of it. Once again, my day brightened as Miss Katie ran up and gave Pepper and I a big hug when the parade momentarily stopped where she was sitting. That girl is a ball of sunshine! Though the parade route is well over a mile, it didn't seem to last very long and it was over too soon. It was perfect parade weather and conditions, and Pepper and I were ready to turn around and go through again. However, the Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant Fashion Show was due to kick-off not too long after the parade got over, so Pepper and I had to skip out on the double parade duty idea and head back to get ready.

I am surrounded by beauty! Judy Rogers, me, and Jessi Kokjohn (Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant Director) at the Tri-State Rodeo Committee Dinner.

Jessi Kokjohn, a former Miss Rodeo Iowa, is the pageant director. She is truly amazing because she spends most of her time in Colorado, but puts on a classy, professional, and unforgettable event for all contestants involved! Jessi does a wonderful job planning the Miss Rodeo Iowa pageant and one-ups herself with the production of the fashion show. The Miss Rodeo Iowa Contestants and Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa Contestants model several different outfits to very fitting songs and dance very intricately-coreographed numbers. Dana Huling is the mastermind behind the dances, and I want to thank her for all of the hard work she puts into the pageant by conducting practices during the pageant for the girls. Dana is great, and she gave me a new appreciation of organized dance! Last year during the pageant was my first encounter with a "team" routine, and I was not the most coordinated dancer! Bless Dana's heart, she remembered my struggles last year and made the dance I was part of shorter and easier this year!

Between the dance numbers, the contestants needed time to change, so Jessi had planned for Joe Nichols to perform for the audience (because he put on a concert Friday night after the rodeo), but his booking agent said that the logistics of his next show location wouldn't work out with staying at the pageant. Rather than letting everyone sit in silence and wait, Kelsea Walker (Miss Rodeo Illinois 2007 and also a Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa Pageant judge) and I came to the rescue. All week long we had been reminiscing about our wonderful year together and decided it was a lot like Lane Frost and Tuff Hedeman's relationship; we didn't really know one another until we became state titleholders, and our last big event together was in Cheyenne (but ours turned out happier; neither one of us died and we traveled happily and safely home in the car). In celebration of a great year and two friends wishing they could do it all over again, we belted out "When Will I Be Loved?" by Linda Ronstadt and made everyone dance during the instrumental part of the song--just like they did in the movie 8 Seconds at Lane & Kelly's wedding. It was a blast for us, but I am sure the audience was glad for the end of the song because Kelsea and I are not exactly Nashville material, but we gave it our all!

Though it is cliche, a picture is worth 1,000 words . . . I do not think I need to explain.

During the fashion show, the contestants look fantastic. I remember how much fun it was to model the different outfits, do the dances (though I was not good, it was still fun), explain to the audience your "novelty" oufit that describes you, and wow them with your beautiful "coronation" dress. Before they crowned the new Miss Rodeo Iowa and Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa, I was given the opportunity to give my "farewell" speech. As I was standing on stage in front of the audience, it felt like I was in Ft. Madison a only a few months ago waiting nervously behind the curtain. Since you missed the live portion, I would like to share a few "thank yous" with you that need mentioning.

I would not have been able to get through the year if it were not for the financial and emotional support of my wonderful sponsors, especially Jon Stripe and Sunshine S Trailer Sales in Shenandoah, Bill Horton and Nutrena Feeds, John McCarthy of McCarthy One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, Cary Veach, Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies, and my wonderful family. I feel very blessed to have been "given" my great parents, Steve and Alisa Eason, because they constantly encouraged me to better myself, taught me how to be strong-willed and determined, and showed me how love, kindness, and small things will grant you with great things in life. Another group of wonderful women in my life include those who make up the Miss Rodeo Iowa Board: Bobbie Hinds, Paula Jameson, Kimber Dall, Jill Neuman, Megan Wiemold, Stephanie Wells, Connie Wiemold, and Irene Blazek-Pauley. These women have been a great resource to me for what to wear, how to look, where to go, what to do, and not to mention have all become very great friends. I feel fortunate to have had such a supportive group of talented, intelligent, and resourceful individuals helping me make the most out of my year! Thank you, to everyone--there is not enough space on the internet to list all of the people who have helped me out and touched my life this year. I feel truly blessed. Rachel Burton, Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008 and Aleigh Beahm, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008. I am PROUD to say they are Cyclones AND future veterinarians!

Congratulations Aleigh Beahm, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008, and Rachel Burton, Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008! I am so happy, proud, and excited for these two girls for the fun they will have ahead of them--and I am also proud to say they are both CYCLONES and pre-veterinary students! All of the contestants did a great job; I would not have wanted to be a judge in either of the pageants because there were not many points that separated the winners from the runners-up. This makes me very proud of the caliber and integrity of contestants the Miss Rodeo Iowa Program attracts. There are many talented young women in Iowa, but I am especially proud of and would do anything for any and all of the contestants in both pageants because I had the opportunity to be with them all week and experience their wit, charm, and intelligence first-hand. I hope to see many of them back next year!

The trailer ride on Highway 2 headed west out of Ft. Madison was a sad one for many reasons, the biggest one being I said goodbye to Pepper Ann. This was the last rodeo of my reign as Miss Rodeo Iowa 2007 that I will need "my" trusty grey steed. I returned her to Gary and Marla Long's farm of Centerville, where she will get a well-deserved rest from rodeo! I am so thankful the Longs allowed me to take Pepper on the road because we became good friends, and she was truly amazing at everything she did--or didn't do. There was nothing we encountered at any rodeo that spooked this stone-solid mare; no ear-blasting sounds from any rodeo sound system, or whipping flag in the wind, or flashing lights and screaming sirens of clowns' specialty acts, or large team of draft horses pulling a wagon, or children running up screaming to hug my leg during a parade, or firecracker "booms", or stampeding sheep, or noisy gate latches, or . . . I am sure you are picking up what I am putting down. This 15 hand, 5 year old, piece of horseflesh is nothing less than a giant heart on legs, wanting to please you. I am not a fan of mares, but this one has broken my rule and stolen my heart. Thank you Pepper Ann, for allowing me to do all I wanted to at the rodeos and for a fantastic, memorable summer. I am going to miss you!

For now, my traveling schedule slows down, and I will be hitting the books for a month or so to maintain my spot as a VM 1 at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. My next event will be helping out at the Iowa State University Cyclone Stampede Rodeo at the end of this month, then I will be heading to the Great Lakes Circuit Finals in Louisville, KY the second weekend in November. From there, it is Viva Las Vegas and onto the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in the beautiful Orleans Hotel! I am nervous and excited for the pageant, but it will be great to see all of the other state queens again! My main goal is to have fun because the pageant will be an experience of a lifetime, but I would also LOVE to come home with a scholarship to finance some of my education!

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I did participating in all of the events that were captured on film! I appreciate you keeping up with my exciting year as Miss Rodeo Iowa, and I look forward to the next time I get to write!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Never a Dull Moment in Nevada, Iowa!

School has begun! Dixie, my dog, and I moved back to Ames for the start of another academic experiences, but it does not mean the fun is over. This last weekend I got to help John Steenhoek and the Heartland Rodeo Company crew at a rodeo in Nevada, Iowa, which is a quick drive from Ames. It was great to see John again, and I had a great time riding his horses chasing out cattle and carrying the American flag.
Rachel Burton (Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen) and Tank also attended the rodeo because Rachel is a new, proud Cyclone, as she begun her Animal Science undergraduate curriculum at the best university. Welcome to the family Rachel! Rachel hopes to enter the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in four years; I am very proud, and wish her the best of luck! I had a great time atteding events with her this year because I have many great memories and can always count on her for a laugh when needed!

The first night I rode Jeep Steenhoek's palomino pick-up horse which was fun because he had a lot of steam! I love Pepper Ann's mellow attitude, but sometimes it is nice to ride a horse with a little spirit and "go" (and to my delight, there was "whoa" to go along with it)! The second night I finally achieved the feat of riding a horse taller than Rachel's horse, Tank. The big buckskin I got to ride stood about 16.2 hands and was great! Thank you, John and Jeep, for allowing me to borrow a horse!
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video clip, courtesy of Rowley Burton. Rowley has been great to get to know this summer at the many rodeos and queen functions. He was taking pictures for Rachel and I Saturday night, and accidently pushed "record" instead of taking a picture and captured me riding the crow-hop out of the judge's flagging horse during my queen's run in the opening! I believe they scored me in the low 70's, so I was happy with the score, but didn't win any money. Life is never boring and I don't mind laughing at myself, so I hope you laugh along with me!

While Rachel and I were in Nevada we met Mr. Dennis Dostal of Toledo, Iowa who honored us with a ride atop a stagecoach! Dennis had a team of beautiful Belgian geldings that were good sports about giving spectators stagecoach rides before the rodeo. It was neat to be up so high, and I had a great time getting to know Dennis. He hosts a United Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo at his home arena every year, and just celebrated the 30th Anniversary this summer! Congratulations, and thank you, Dennis! However, the more times I am around draft horse teams, the more I want one of my own. I appreciate all of the work Mr. Dostal and Julie Buddenburg put into their teams, and I know as a veterinarian I will not have a lot of free time, but it would be neat to go out for a leisurely Sunday drive or moonlit snowy sleigh ride!

While the rodeo was moving along in full force, I had to do a double-take during the barrel racing because I saw President Abraham Lincoln himself stroll by the arena! Realing I had been staring for an extended period of time and knowing gawking is rude, I rode over to the President and asked if he would pose for a picture. After the 17th question about what it was like to live in the 1800's and how things were at the White House, Mr. Lincoln told me it happend to be the Lincoln Highway Days in Nevada, a community-wide celebration. Yes, I remembered this, but I was sSURE it was the 16th Commander in Chief. Nonetheless, I have photo proof!

With the quickly-arriving end to the rodeo weekend, I was sad to say goodbye to the Heartland Rodeo Company for the season, because I am just about done with attending rodeos as Miss Rodeo Iowa. The whole week before I was bombarded by histology, anatomy, biochemistry, etc. at school and did not realize that I am coming closer and closer to the end. This has been an incredibel year, and I am sad to see it about over, as I head to Ft. Madison this weekend to watch the competition for Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008. However, it will be great to be back in Ft. Madison, and I am excited for the Tri-State Rodeo! I will be sure to share pictures and stories once I return from Ft. Madison and catch up on classes! Until then, take care!