Thursday, July 12, 2007

From Northeast to Southwest Iowa

Happy Fourth of July!

Since the last time I have written, I have been from one corner of the state to the other. I was invited to judge the "cold call" portion of the AgVantage Truck "Roadeo" in Waverly, Iowa. Newly crowned high school queen, Charity Howk, and I had a great time with the employees of the company at the event. During a delicious catered meal we listened to Southwest Iowa cowboy poet and singer Brooke Turner. Brooke rode a horse all the way to Nashville, TN to sell a song he wrote to raise money for spinal cord research; he is a very honorable and admirable person, as well as everyone's friend--this man knows no strangers and always has an entertaining way of explaining things and telling stories!

After returning home from Waverly, I loaded up my new grey mount for the summer, Pepper Ann, and headed to the Exira, Iowa rodeo. I would like to thank Gary and Marla Long of Centerville for allowing me to borrow their mare for the remainder of the summer. Though she is young, Pepper Ann takes everything in stride and has turned out to be a very quiet and willing trooper at the rodeos--not to mention very flashy!

This was a first-time event in honor of the town's sesquicentennial celebration I had a wonderful time carrying the flag, clearing the arena, and getting to know the committee. A very special "thank you" to the rodeo committee for the wonderful "Welcome Miss Rodeo Iowa" banner that was displayed on the bumper of a truck at the entrance gate! It made me feel very welcome and caused me to blush when I drove in. It was a beautiful day for a rodeo, and the Grand River stock was bucking for all they were worth! Announcer Blaine Partridge called the rodeo to life, and my mom was there to run the music to keep the crowd involved during the event. Happy 150th birthday, Exira!

From Exira Pepper Ann and I moved on down the road to Shenandoah and New Market, Iowa for their 4th of July celebration parades. The bright sun and crowd full of red, white, and blue created the perfect atmosphere for such a proud day. Though New Market is a town of a few hundred people, thousands of visitors flocked to "Southwest Iowa's Hot Spot for the Fourth of July" for the parade, truck and tractor pulls, singing, games, and of course, the 45 minute firework show that remains in the minds of all who witness it until the next year.

After the fireworks were over, the next day I traveled to Leon, Iowa for their annual rodeo. It is one of the biggest rodeos (for all associations) in Iowa, as they proudly hosted over 650 contestants! Pepper Ann and I had a great time with Aleigh Beahm, the 2007 Miss Leon Rodeo, and Blondie during the performances, as well as slack. I also had a great time getting to know the very talented 2007 Leon Rodeo Princess, Chelsie Broich. I was amazed by the number of families who came to participate in the rodeo and enjoyed watching them cheer one another on, but still maintain friendly competition. I really enjoy the atmosphere of the smaller rodeos for this reason.

While in Leon I ran into John Steenhoek of the Heartland Rodeo Company because he had brought many of the bucking horses that gave the roughstock riders a run for their money. It was good to see John again because I had not seen him since the rodeo in Des Moines last December. I am looking forward to seeing John and the rest of the crew again in 2 weeks at the Centerville, Iowa rodeo July 17-18, hosted by the Appanoose County Fair Committee!

I am now headed back to Northeast Iowa for the Decorah PRCA Rodeo held in conjunction with their county fair. I am looking forward to seeing the wonderful Morehead family again of the Three Hills Rodeo Company. From Decorah I will head to Centerville, and from there I will move to Lenox, Iowa on July 19-21.

I have had a wonderful summer so far, and just realized the other day that the Iowa summer rodeo season is almost through, which made me sad because it has flown by so quickly! Before I know it, I will be back in Ames in a veterinary lecture hall trying to learn biochemistry, dog anatomy, and study for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant! Thank you to everyone who has helped me become who I am and get to experience this wonderful year! I am for sure that I am one of the most fortunate people in the world because of the great network of family and friends I have been blessed with! Take care, enjoy the rest of your summer, and I will write again soon!