Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Busy Week!

What a great week!

Wednesday, March 28 Todd Crase, of the Extreme Bullriding Tour, and I went to the Discovery Program in Indianola, Iowa to talk to clients with mental and/or physical disabilities about rodeo. I really appreciated the invitation from Todd, who works for a program similar to Discovery, and the staff because we had a great time! I told of my adventures as Miss Rodeo Iowa and answered questions about how I received my title, whether or not I rodeo bulls (Todd has!), and if I had ever had any accidents . . . which we all know the answer to that one!

Todd told about his very decorated rodeo career with many national and circuit titles in Saddle Bronc riding, and brought a rope to teach the clients how to rope. We spent a good portion of the morning in Indianola and rounded out the visit by signing autographs for everyone. Todd's friend (and resident of the home Todd works for), Jenny, treated us to a great lunch. We had a wonderful time getting caught up since I had not seen Todd since the Snowbull event in Burlington, Iowa. Thank you for lunch, Jenny!

Along came the weekend and I headed to the Iowa Horse Fair in Des Moines to sit in the Iowa Horse Council Booth, talk to fair-goers, help with the stick horse class, sign autographs in the Nutrena booth (thank you, Bill Horton, for being such a great sponsor this year! www.nutrenaworld.com), and watch Cheri Sorensen draw horses! Cheri is an AMAZING artist who just opened her studio west of the Tractor Supply in Ankeny, Iowa. She kindly donated a painting to my Miss Rodeo Iowa fundraiser auction--thank you, Cheri!

Joining me at the Iowa Horse Fair was Rachel Burton, Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen 2007, along with Lauren Scholz, Miss Sidney, Iowa Rodeo 2006, and other breed association queens. Saturday afternoon we got to do a queen's run in the Pioneer Pavilion while Bobbie Hinds, my national director, read everyone's biographies. Thank you, Dan and Ken Whitehill for letting me borrow Zip for the third year in a row for a queen's run! I really appreciate all these two and the rest of their family (Mary, Jill, Kayla, Jamie, and Corey) does for me. Whenever I have been in need of a horse, they have always gone above and beyond what I inquire about. Ken let me ride his reining mare, Precious, which carried me to the title of "Miss Sidney, Iowa Rodeo 2005."

Dan and Ken are the directors of the wonderful "Two County Dusters" equine drill team from Southwest Iowa. As a proud past member of the team, I am always excited to be in the same place as the Dusters so I can watch them perform. Of all the drill teams I have seen, including those at big, out-of-state rodeos, I can honestly say these 18-year and younger kids are the best drill team in the nation. The speed, precision, ease of executing difficult and dangerous maneuvers makes this team untouchable! As always, the Dusters had the crowd on their feet, clapping in awe! Great job, Dusters!

Sunday I headed south and east of Des Moines to St. Charles, Iowa for the Miss Rodeo Iowa clinic. It was great to see so many young and aspiring queens! I offered additional advice and comments to the already very thorough material of Jill Perkins (MRI 2002), Kimber Dall (MRI 2003), Megan Wiemold (MRI 2004), and Paula Jameson. We concluded the clinic with a miniature pageant for the girls to practice what they had learned during the weekend (the clinic was held all-day Saturday as well) and receive comments from our panel of judges. It was surreal for me to attend the clinic as Miss Rodeo Iowa 2007 because just one year earlier, I was one of the "queens in training" at the clinic. If it weren't for Jill and Kimber, I would not be where I am today. Thank you, Jill and Kimber, for all you have done to help mold me into the state representative I am today!

In the spirit of Easter Weekend, I will be traveling down to Camp Sunnyside in Des Moines to meet some of the individuals who attend the Easter-Seals sponsored summer camps for children with physical and mental handicaps. Word has it I also get to participate in some of the camp crafts and activities--I can't wait! The Pony Express Riders of Iowa will be making their grand parade ride into the camp on Saturday afternoon, April 7, followed by the "Victory Dance" held at the Seven Flags Event Center in Des Moines. The doors open at 7 p.m. with the dancing beginning around 8 p.m. All the proceeds from the dance, along with the money ridden to Des Moines by all of the state-wide Pony Express organizations who have had local fundraisers (dances, live auctions, horse sales, etc.), will go to Camp Sunnyside. I have been on the Pony Express ride from Sidney, Iowa to Des Moines 3 times, so this is an organization I fully believe and support. I am honored I get to help out at the camp to show Camp Sunnyside, the Pony Express Riders, and the Easter Seals Organization that the rodeo world cares about these kids!

Please check back for pictures from my last few events! Have a great week, and I will check in again soon!