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!