Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Edgewood Days

(It's me! Shoeless Joe Jackson was no where to be seen at the Field of Dreams this day, but I was quick to take his place and check out the corn before I stepped up to the plate to envision my homerun!)

Not even the rain could spoil the great rodeo action in Edgewood, Iowa during the Edgewood Days PRCA Rodeo. Dave and Marla Morehead of Three Hills Rodeo Co. contributed to the action and excitement as Roger Mooney added colorful commentary. Thursday evening was "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night, and we were definitely ALL tough enough--the crowd included. Though Mother Nature dumped buckets of large, cold raindrops, most of the bleachers remained full of die-hard rodeo fans! It was great to see everyone out to support such a wonderful sport and great cause with the breast cancer awareness campaign.

During my visit to Edgewood I stayed at the very nice home of Jim and Kathy Funke who have the most peaceful screened-in porch I have ever been on! I would have been perfectly content to unroll a sleeping bag and camp on the porch the entire weekend, but I was spoiled with my own room in their beautiful basement. Jim and Kathy took great care of me and welcomed me into their home like I was one of the grandkids. I had a great time visiting with them and getting a tour of their farm and the town of Edgewood. Thank you, Jim and Kathy, for your wonderful Iowa hospitality!

The week of the rodeo was filled with school, nursing home, and daycare visits coordinated by Chamber of Commerce director, Elise Bergan. Thank you, Elise, for allowing me to meet many of the great people in and around Edgewood. I visited children in surrounding towns including Strawberry Point, Colesburg, and Dyersville. Yes, you read correctly: DYERSVILLE--the home of the famous "Field of Dreams." I was lucky enough to visit the field and even get to experience what the "ghosts" did in the movie by walking out of the cornfield! I knew for sure that it was Heaven on Earth to be in Iowa!

After I left Edgewood I made a visit to the Camp Aldersgate Summer Camp near Stanton, Iowa to talk to the campers and their parents about the many opportunities and activities associated with horses; "rodeo queening" was one of the examples! Thank you, Angela Wallick, for the opportunity to visit the exciting camp in the beautiful rolling hills of Southwest Iowa. Being such a small world, I ran into Irene Pauley and her daughter Melissa at the camp. Irene is one of the newest members of the Miss Rodeo Iowa Board.

The next couple of weeks will be full of traveling and great times as we get into the heart of rodeo season. Wednesday, June 27 (the same day as Megan Wiemold's--Miss Rodeo Iowa 2004--Miss Rodeo Iowa Horsemanship Camp) I will be in Waverly, Iowa for a Truck Rodeo Event. I am excited to be a part of the function and get to judge one of the events! This weekend I will be at a rodeo in Exira, Iowa, and then it is on to the Leon Rodeo over the Fourth of July!

I wish you a safe, happy, and fun Fourth of July! If you are in attendance at a rodeo in Iowa, chances are, you will be seeing me! I love this "job" and feel so fortunate to represent Iowa because I am having the time of my life! Thank you for checking in on me and reading the blog--I enjoy sharing my experiences with you and hope you enjoy reading them! Take care, and I will write again soon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hello, Bellevue!

What a great time!

I just returned home from Bellevue, Iowa and the 20th annual Jackson County Pro Rodeo organized by the Bellevue Horseman's Club and hosted at their grounds, complete with beautiful and breath-taking scenery. The arena is nestled in the beautiful hills of northeast Iowa, hidden from the road, creating a very exciting atmosphere. The river town of Bellevue (which means "beautiful view" and describes it exactly) is right on the Mississippi which makes it a very unique and fun town.

During my stay in Bellevue, I was treated like royalty at the Potter's Mill Bed and Breakfast. http://www.pottersmill.net/ If you are ever in the Bellevue area and want to step back in time, be sure to book your reservations at the Mill! The Potter's Mill is an 1800's flour mill remodeled into one of the nicest places I have ever had the pleasure to stay in! My room, called the Mill Creek Suite (you should visit the website and look at it), had the most beautiful of the creek used many years ago for the water to power the mill. The room was equipped with a king-sized bed and whirlpool bathtub! I have never taken a bath in a tub with jets before, so I was sure to check that off of my list of things to be accomplished in my lifetime! Billie Jo, Chris, and Charolette are the three wonderful women who offered their hospitality, great cooking, and motherly care to me while I was at the Mill. I had a wonderful time getting to know them and their children, so be sure to tell them hello when you visit Potter's Mill!

I had the most wonderful four days in Bellevue getting to know the club members and the great people of the Three Hills Rodeo Company. I am proud to be from Iowa knowing and now seeing for myself of the bucking greatness of Dave and Marla Morehead's rodeo stock! Their stock have seen the lights of Las Vegas several times over, and it is no wonder why. The top-quality bulls and horses brought in many famous names such as bareback rider Bobby Griswold (who competed at the NFR last winter) and 4-time Linderman Award winner, Chip Whitaker. The Linderman Award is a very coveted award recognizing the cowboy who has won the most money in roughstock and timed events combined! I was disappointed to find out after I had posed for a photo opportunity with Mr. Whitaker that my camera card was full! Talk about bad luck!

I was mesmerized by Bob Johnson's overland stagecoach performance. Bob and his crew are from Delmar, Iowa and have performed at the Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas. He drove a team of six glistening black horses around the arena at break-neck speeds without any problem! I think the stagecoach is one of the most impressive and beautiful things about the American West--which is why I choose to bank at Wells Fargo--because of the stagecoach! (Yes, weird, I know!)

During the rodeo I was honored to help the Three Hills Company carry sponsor flags before each event. I would like to especially thank Toby and Scott Seiler for letting me ride their horse, Zeke, on Saturday night! He was fun to ride and stood very quietly between events awaiting our quick moment of glory, dashing around the arena. Stacy Bevan also took very good care of me during my stay in Bellevue by taking me to a daycare and preschool, the Dodge dealership, the rodeo kick-off event, and other places for me to help spread the word about the rodeo. Julie Mueller, the chairperson of the rodeo, also went out of her way to make me feel welcome.

Times like the ones I had in Bellevue make me feel so lucky, happy, and fortunate to be in the position I am. I had so much fun getting to know everyone, see a very beautiful part of Iowa, and spend time absorbed in the rodeo atmosphere. It was very hard to leave my new friends on Sunday morning, but I was glad to realize that I will be back in the area the following weekend for the 20th anual Edgewood, Iowa Pro Rodeo and later in July for the Decorah, Iowa Pro Rodeo! Thank you, Bellevue Horseman's Club and Potter's Mill, for making me feel so much at home!

Sunday morning I left Bellevue and headed to Fort Madison for the crowning of the 2007-2008 Iowa High School Rodeo Queen and the short-go of the state high school finals. It was fun to see such talented youngsters compete in the events and give 200% effort, despite the very warm Iowa humidity! Congratulations to the new queen and all of the state champions!

This weekend I will be in Edgewood, Iowa for the Pro Rodeo. I will be sure to clear the pictures off of my camera so I will have room to store clips from beautiful northeast Iowa! Take care, and have a great week!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

It's no bull - I love this job!

To kick off my summer rodeo tour I headed to northwest Iowa for the Cherokee PRCA Rodeo. I had a WONDERFUL TIME and the experience of a lifetime when I got to ride Rodney Hayes' "Billy the Kid" before the rodeo. I was very honored to meet Rodney because he and Billy performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last winter. They put on a great show, and Rodney is a one-in-a-million individual. I was impressed to find out for myself that Billy the Kid rides like a well-broke reining horse, complete with spins and bows!

During my time in Cherokee I was in the lovely presence of Racquel Telfer (Miss Days of '56 Rodeo and Miss Rodeo Lenox), Suzette Walker (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa), and Amelia Elliot (Miss Rodeo Cherokee). We had a great time visiting the Bright Beginnings daycare, Cherokee Villa nursing home, helping out with the calf scramble before the rodeo (which was entertaining becuase the muddy arena didn't care we were all wearing white pants!), and helping the contestants during the second annual Exceptional Rodeo.

Megan Wiemold, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2004, is the coordinator for the rodeo and once again did a tremendous job with the event. There were approximately 30 contestants participating in bull riding, horse riding, roping, and goat tying. Everyone did great and had a wonderful time--including me! I was honored to get to meet and tag along with my partner, the one-and-only Roy Rogers! (However, since Roy is such a celebrity, he entered the rodeo under a code name.)

To top off the weekend, the queens and I got to ride in the rodeo parade on Saturday afternoon. The rain was nice enough to hold off for us, however, it made the arena one muddy competition area! The steer wrestlers appeared to trade in their rodeo ways for a new hobby of "steer water skiiing" because all of them had a little trouble getting their feet set! Reining world champion bull rider BJ Schumacher competed during the Thursday night performance, and reining reserve world champion saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss rodeo Saturday evening.

My next stop was the Iowa Quarter Horse Association 7-Day Run in Des Moines. It was fun to spend the day with my feed sponsor rep, Bill Horton of Nutrena. I was busy handing out ribbons at the show and missed out on sampling some great Iowa Pork at the World Pork Expo, also going on at the fairgrounds. However, it was fun to watch the show and see all of the wonderfully trained equines in the state of Iowa!

My next trip takes me to the river town of Bellevue, Iowa for the Jackson County Pro Rodeo. I will check in with you again when I return! Take care!

- Amanda