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. 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!