Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Hard-headedness": Confirmed Accusation!


Of all the times I have been accused of being hard-headed, I can now say it is true! I had a little mishap this weekend at the first professional rodeo in Iowa of the 2007 season. One-quarter of the way in the arena carrying flag, my horse (who I hadn't ridden since Christmas Break--so it was my fault) decided to take the bit and run away with me. Not being anything new, I tried to pull him around in another circle to slow him down, but he spotted the open gate instead. The last thing I remember is seeing the bucking chutes . . .

From what I was told, my horse took a hard right and ran me face-first into the metal out-gate pole, which peeled me off and landed me face-first in the dirt. I was out for about 5 minutes and came-to in the ambulance en route to the hospital, where I spent the rest of the night and into the wee hours of the morning having CT scans, Xrays, and stitches put in to sew my jawline back up.

After being told that I had truly "left my mark"--as an indent in the out-gate pole, I felt very fortunate to be alive, but knew it's because I'm too ornery and mean to be allowed into Heaven yet! My Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle is bent and there is a deep cut in it--so I must have hit something hard. However, I am proud to say, in my defense, that my hat stayed on and that I technically DID NOT FALL OFF!

From the excitement (and for my consolation prize), I did receive a fractured jaw, 10 stitches along my left jawline, chipped teeth, and a whole army of bruises on my legs. However, beside not being able to chew, I am as good as ever and ready to go again! I am thinking the "soft foods only " diet will be a great spring weight-loss plan! Look out Jenny Craig!

GOOD NEWS for the weekend is I went to Shenandoah, Iowa at Sunshine "S" Trailer Sales pick up the BEAUTIFUL 20' trailer Jon Stripe is letting me use for the year! It is so nice that I can't help but smile and jump up and down every time I see it! When I hooked on my borrowed truck for the weekend (from Todd Crase of the Extreme Bullriding Tour to the trailer, I wanted my horse to drive the truck so I could ride in the trailer! As things turned out, it is probably a good thing I drove because my horse probably would have gotten a speeding ticket!

Thank you, Jon Stripe, for your kindness, support, and confidence in me by letting me use the trailer for the next 10 months! I am excited to get my trailer-level sponsors' logos on the trailer so I can begin my "traveling billboard" advertisement for them! No matter what horse I take throughout Iowa this year, it will be a very pampered and lucky one becuase of Jon's GREAT trailer.

Take care, stay warm through this last little bit of winter, and be sure to do your "Spring Dance" because I am ready for nice weather!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Florida Sunshine!

Kelsea Walker and I atop a hunting buggy with our two "Host Sisters" in search of wild hogs on a Florida ranch.

Thinking if I headed south I would escape the Iowa winter, I flew to Kissimmee, Florida for the Silver Spurs Rodeo. The cold weather must be following me to all of my warmer destinations because the day before I arrived it was 70 degrees, but when I got into town , it was rainy and 55 degrees. All of the "Floridians" were apologizing between teeth chatters for the "cold weather, " but I was quite pleasant in longsleeves due to the "tropical" weather! I had a great time in the Sunshine State and would have loved to get to stay longer!

While in Florida we ate alligator, frog legs, and went wild hog hunting. I was a little disappointed that the hogs were too fast to catch and the dogs were not interested in chasing them down, but we at least got to see them! We went to the beach, visited a large cattle ranch (mostly Brangus and Brahman cattle), and got to pick our own oranges from a grove to take back in our suitcases! One of the best "tastes" from Florida I experienced was sampling the famous Clemie Jo's strawberry pie! It was absolutely delicious! Amanda Jenkins, Miss Rodeo America 2006 raved about the pie during the entire MRA pageant in Vegas, so I knew if I went to Florida I would have to try the pie. It was well worth the wait, but I had to stop myself from having too much because I wanted to be sure to fit in the airplane seat on the way home!

Heath and Kelly White hosted Miss Rodeo Illinois, Kelsea Walker, and me in their home. We had a great time getting to know the White family, as well as their two beautiful little girls. Joining Kelsea and I in Florida was Miss Rodeo Wyoming, Miss Rodeo Oregon, Miss Rodeo Nebraska, Miss Rodeo Idaho, and even Miss Rodeo America! We rolled up the legs of of Wranglers and waded in the tide on Cocoa Beach and took pictures with resident surfers!

Each evening we curled our hair, buckled our chaps, and climbed aboard horses to get introduced in the grand entry at the rodeo. The Silver Spur Riders were kind enough to let us borrow their beloved steeds. After the grand entry we visited rodeo sponsors in their boxes and signed autographs. Friday night, Mr. John McCarthy of McCarthy's One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning (one of my sponsors), came and visited me at the rodeo! He was down in Daytona for the races and drove over to come to the rodeo. It was fun to see familiar faces that far from home!

I am beginning to get excited because of all of the warm weather, melting snow, and smells of SPRING being just around the corner! I was beginning to lose faith in that pesky groundhog, but he has redeemed himself! I will be sure to get my pictures up as soon as I can. Until next time, take care!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Congratulations Amanda!

Amanda has just received word that she been accepted into the School of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State Univeristy as a member of the class of 2011! We are proud of you Amanda and know that you will make an outstanding veterianarian.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rodeo San Antonio!

View my photos from San Antonio by clicking here.

If I wasn't so partial to Iowa, I would want to move to Texas! In the middle of February, it was 55 degrees and all of the Texans were freezing--I thought it was tropical compared to the sub-zero temperatures we have been experiencing! I was engulfed by the Texas hospitality and fell in love with the "culture" where all of the women know each other by their first names: "honey," "darling," "sweetheart," and "baby." The young kids were all very well-mannered, as I have never been called "ma'am" so many times in one phrase!

I had a great time in San Antonio helping out at the Exceptional Rodeo, brushing the dirt off of the mutton busters, signing autographs, and taking in San Antonio history! Miss Rodeo Texas, Joanna Blackwell, and Miss Rodeo Oregon, Jennifer Steffen, were my companions for the weekend. We spent part of Friday visiting the Fisher house for wounded and recovering soldiers and their families. It was inspiring to visit a place that was so supportive to the men and women who keep this country free for us. Later that night, Jennifer and I attended a reception for new army recruits that were taking their oath of service that evening before the rodeo. It was very humbling to talk to the recruits and thank them for what they will be doing for America; I was touched because the majority of them were younger than I.

San Antonio is the richest rodeo in the PRCA, offering over $1 Million in prize money for the contestants. However, during the rodeo they had mutton busting and a calf scramble for the kids, which was awesome to see that they still took time out for the kids. Hadley Barrett and Randy Corley kept the crowd informed of what was going on, and Sugarland and Alan Jackson serenaded the fans who stuck around after the rodeo Friday and Saturday. I got to meet many of the contestants while we signed autographs and ate delicious meals in the hospitality room.

While in San Antonio, Jennifer and I stayed with Julie Kalison, a very kind San Antonio resident, who went out of her way to make us feel at home in Texas by taking us to the rodeo and around town. We ate lunch at Mi Tierra, a famous Mexican restaurant that has been on t.v. shows such as The Food Network and The Travel Channel, and then headed to the Alamo. The building from the outside is not as big as one would think, but when you walked inside, the history swallowed you up and took you back in time.

After the Alamo, we headed across the street and walked down to the River Walk, which was absolutely beautiful! The San Antonio River runs right through town, and there are shops and restaurants that are along both sides of the waterway which was really neat because we got to eat lunch overlooking the river! We also were able to do some shopping, and for this Iowa girl who only finds Western wear at Western stores, finding designer Western wear such as Sage West and Rockmount at Dillard's Department Store was incredible!

Though I had a great time in Texas and Joanna Blackwell was one of the nicest and most genuine rodeo queens I have met, it was great to see Iowa again! I am back for a few days to turn in homework, take tests, and attend lectures, then it is off to Florida for the weekend! Be sure to check out the pictures from my trip! Take care, and I will be sure to write again soon!


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Lincoln & Rapid City

My busy travel schedule has begun!

At the end of January, I traveld to Lincoln, Nebraska to a PRCA Rodeo in Pershing Auditorium produced by Mossbruckers of North Dakota. Holly Soucie, the Iowa High School Rodeo Queen, lives just outside of Lincoln, and she joined me for the fun of running sponsor flags and clearing the arena. Holly supplied the horses and we had a GREAT time--minus the cold weather. However, we were very thankful for Cary Veach's ability to make a durable, flashy, and warm pair of chaps to keep our legs from going numb!

Kyle Whitaker, 5-time Linderman Award Winner (the highest money earner winning a minimum of $1,000 in both a timed and roughstock event), competed on his home state turf in Pershing, and rodeo clown Bert Davis kept everyone entertained with his high-energy and amazing dog training ability. Bert and the "Motley Crew" which consists of about 5 different dogs that he has rescued from humane societies, wowed audiences with their amazing tricks.

The next weekend I sprouted wings and flew to Rapid City, South Dakota for the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo hosted by the Sutton Rodeo Company of Onida, South Dakota. The Suttons had many appearances scheduled for 11 other state queens and myself. Unfortunately, my flight got delayed on Friday so I missed the afternoon performance, but I was able to help run sponsor flags on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening . The horses were great, and we even got to go out in the arena and be introduced in front of everyone.

On Saturday morning we went to the Veterens Hospital in Sturgis, South Dakota (no motorcycles in sight yet). It was fun to talk to the patients and we signed many autographs and took a lot of fun pictures. After the hospital visit we headed to the Watiki Water Park Grand Opening. The other queens and I were jealous of this indoor water park because of the two large curving water slides! We signed autographs for guests staying at the motel attached to the water park and even got to be on t.v.!

The rodeos were awesome, and the Suttons were very kind and accommodating. I am not ready to move to South Dakota because the wind blows a little much for my liking, but I would like to go back to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. I had to fly back home before the other queens went to visit the rock statues, so I was a little disappointed. However, during the stay I got to know many of the other state queens and had a lot of fun spending time with them. We are going to have a great year together!

Sorry I don't have any pictures up--I will post them soon! Until then, take care, and thank you for checking up on me!