Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Never a Dull Moment in Nevada, Iowa!

School has begun! Dixie, my dog, and I moved back to Ames for the start of another academic experiences, but it does not mean the fun is over. This last weekend I got to help John Steenhoek and the Heartland Rodeo Company crew at a rodeo in Nevada, Iowa, which is a quick drive from Ames. It was great to see John again, and I had a great time riding his horses chasing out cattle and carrying the American flag.
Rachel Burton (Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen) and Tank also attended the rodeo because Rachel is a new, proud Cyclone, as she begun her Animal Science undergraduate curriculum at the best university. Welcome to the family Rachel! Rachel hopes to enter the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in four years; I am very proud, and wish her the best of luck! I had a great time atteding events with her this year because I have many great memories and can always count on her for a laugh when needed!

The first night I rode Jeep Steenhoek's palomino pick-up horse which was fun because he had a lot of steam! I love Pepper Ann's mellow attitude, but sometimes it is nice to ride a horse with a little spirit and "go" (and to my delight, there was "whoa" to go along with it)! The second night I finally achieved the feat of riding a horse taller than Rachel's horse, Tank. The big buckskin I got to ride stood about 16.2 hands and was great! Thank you, John and Jeep, for allowing me to borrow a horse!
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video clip, courtesy of Rowley Burton. Rowley has been great to get to know this summer at the many rodeos and queen functions. He was taking pictures for Rachel and I Saturday night, and accidently pushed "record" instead of taking a picture and captured me riding the crow-hop out of the judge's flagging horse during my queen's run in the opening! I believe they scored me in the low 70's, so I was happy with the score, but didn't win any money. Life is never boring and I don't mind laughing at myself, so I hope you laugh along with me!

While Rachel and I were in Nevada we met Mr. Dennis Dostal of Toledo, Iowa who honored us with a ride atop a stagecoach! Dennis had a team of beautiful Belgian geldings that were good sports about giving spectators stagecoach rides before the rodeo. It was neat to be up so high, and I had a great time getting to know Dennis. He hosts a United Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo at his home arena every year, and just celebrated the 30th Anniversary this summer! Congratulations, and thank you, Dennis! However, the more times I am around draft horse teams, the more I want one of my own. I appreciate all of the work Mr. Dostal and Julie Buddenburg put into their teams, and I know as a veterinarian I will not have a lot of free time, but it would be neat to go out for a leisurely Sunday drive or moonlit snowy sleigh ride!

While the rodeo was moving along in full force, I had to do a double-take during the barrel racing because I saw President Abraham Lincoln himself stroll by the arena! Realing I had been staring for an extended period of time and knowing gawking is rude, I rode over to the President and asked if he would pose for a picture. After the 17th question about what it was like to live in the 1800's and how things were at the White House, Mr. Lincoln told me it happend to be the Lincoln Highway Days in Nevada, a community-wide celebration. Yes, I remembered this, but I was sSURE it was the 16th Commander in Chief. Nonetheless, I have photo proof!

With the quickly-arriving end to the rodeo weekend, I was sad to say goodbye to the Heartland Rodeo Company for the season, because I am just about done with attending rodeos as Miss Rodeo Iowa. The whole week before I was bombarded by histology, anatomy, biochemistry, etc. at school and did not realize that I am coming closer and closer to the end. This has been an incredibel year, and I am sad to see it about over, as I head to Ft. Madison this weekend to watch the competition for Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008. However, it will be great to be back in Ft. Madison, and I am excited for the Tri-State Rodeo! I will be sure to share pictures and stories once I return from Ft. Madison and catch up on classes! Until then, take care!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Congressman Steve King at the Iowa State Fair

WASHINGTON D.C. - Congressman Steve King celebrated the start of the Iowa State Fair by meeting with many representatives of Iowa's next generation of agriculture leaders, including Miss Rodeo Iowa, Amanda Eason. The two used the opportunity to discuss issues important to the Iowa cattle industry.

Ms. Eason, from Clarinda in Page county, is 22-year old daughter of Steve and Alisa Eason. Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University in May, and will begin coursework at the College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall.

"Amanda represents the future of Iowa's agriculture economy," said Congressman King. I'm very encouraged that Amanda plans to practice veterinary medicine here in Iowa after she completes her degree. She and her generation will decide the destiny of our Iowa."

"We wish the best to our Miss Rodeo Iowa as she starts her veterinary studies this fall," said Congressman King.

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) represents Western Iowa in the United States Congress and sits on the Agriculture, Judiciary and Small Business Committees.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sounds Like Fun--Iowa State Fair!

Four-term former Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstand, Chopper, Kelsey Ford, and I at the Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair.

I would do it again in a heartbeat!

I am still walking in the clouds because I got the opportunity to show my first steer EVER in the Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair! I had the time of my life and I relive the show daily so many times that I catch myself holding an imaginary steer's head up with one hand and using the show stick with the other! Thanks to many wonderful college friends, family members, and newly found friends, I was granted the "People's Choice Award" by the amount of applause from the crowd. I was up against Jamie Pollard (ISU Athletic Director) and the athletic director for the University of Iowa, therefore, I believe I was the neutral ground between the Cyclone vs. Hawkeye rivalry because we all got about the same amount of cheers (not to mention the only gal among the group).

My undergraduate college advisor and professor of animal science at Iowa State, Brad Skaar, was the judge who selected the Grand Champion and other top 4 steers of the show based on their structural conformation, condition, and quality. It was great to see Dr. Skaar and to know they had selected a great "Iowa Stater" to be a part of the show. The competition was all in good nature because the steers were sold after the show and all of the money goes to the Ronald McDonald House Foundation of Iowa, which creates a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatmentat local hospitals. I give my highest regards to the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council for supporting such a great organization.

However, the most honorable part of the day is when former Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, who was the showmanship judge for the show, came up and shook my hand. He told me he had me picked as the showmanship winner, but the show committee told him not to give two awards to the same person, so since I had just won the "People's Choice Award", he gave the Showmanship Award to Jamie Pollard. That comment made my day! I was hoping to receive the Showmanship Award because I felt it was analogous to winning the Horsemanship portion of a competition--so I was very honored to hear it from Mr. Branstad himself (not to mention I have always wanted to meet him)!

Miss Kelsey Ford, Chopper, and I sporting our "People's Choice" Ribbon! Thank you Kelsey!

If it were not for Kelsey Ford of Milo, Iowa, I would not have been able to do as well as I did. She gave me tips and instructions on how to show "Chopper", as well as put all the work into him months in advance of the show. Kelsey (who will be a freshman at ISU--which proves she is a truly great person) and her dad, Mike, have been bathing and blowdrying Chopper for three to four months to encourage the growth of his hair so they would be able to fit him for show condition. Thank you, Mike and Kelsey, for all of your un-sung hard work, and for letting me have the time of my life showing your steer!

I would also like to thank Farm Bureau for sponsoring "Chopper" in the Governor's Charity Steer Show and for letting me be your showperson! Richard Merrill gave me the exciting call to ask me if I would be interested in showing a steer for them in the show which started my two-week countdown for the show! They named the steer "Chopper" after the Farm Bureau sponsored E-85 American Chopper motorcycle that is currently being raffled off at $10 per ticket and will be given away in mint-condition at the Iowa State vs. Iowa game this September. Thank you, Farm Bureau, for all you do for your members (including my family) and creating a memory I will never forget!

Though the steer show was by far the highlight of the Iowa State Fair for me, I also had a great time spending time at many booths and watching the Cowgirl Queen Contest. Congratulations Rachel Burton, Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen, and faithful Tank for placing in the Top 5 at the contest! During a radio interview about the Governor's Steer Show with Mark Pearson of WHO Radio at the Cattlemen's Beef Quarters, I was shown the "veterinarian's handshake" by Mr. Pearson that mimics cattle palpation, and got to meet Iowa Congressman Steve King, who represents Southwest Iowa at the Fifth District!

King, Julie Buddenberg's 4-year old, 18 hand, 2000 pound pride and joy!

Much to my suprise, I ran into Miss Julie Buddenberg of Decorah Iowa and her beautiful Belgian team! It was great to see Julie again, and she let me ride one of her horses bareback! She atttached two leadropes on King's halter, showed me a stool to climb up on, told me to use commands just like I was driving him, and to have fun! It was great! All 18+ hands and 2,000+ pounds and I took off and went for a little pleasure ride. Julie is an amazing person, and I wish her the best of luck in school this fall!

Another great person I spent time with at the fair was Sherry Davis of Adel, Iowa. Sherry asked me to sit in the WW Livestock Systems booth, for which she is a dealer of quality livestock panels and rodeo bucking chutes. Sherry was one of my judges during the Miss Rodeo Iowa pageant and also sponsored a weekend stay at her beautiful Calico Bluffs Cabins in Arkansas! It was great to see Sherry again because I have not seen her since the John Wayne Centennial in Winterset!
One Word: Beautiful--both the horse and the gold dome of the state capitol!

To round out my Iowa State Fair appearances, Pepper Ann and I kicked off the fair by riding in the Iowa State Fair Parade down Grand Avenue in downtown Des Moines. We were lucky enough to be the first horse-related entry in the parade! Even though it did rain during portions of the parade, we still had a great time and got a few seconds of fame on t.v.! The parade route took us right by the state capitol, with its dome shining bright as ever. I had a wonderful time at the fair, and hope you will make the trip to Des Moines to take everything in before it's over--August 9-19th!

Seeing the state capitol got me thinking and reminiscing about this past year and all of the opportunities I have been granted, great places I have been, and wonderful people I have met. I feel very fortunate to be representing the state, and have begun to realize how much it has done for my future career, appreciation of Iowa, and personal development. This title has been a "coming of age" event for me, and I feel very blessed to be surrounded by the many great people in the Miss Rodeo Iowa Organization that have built the program and title to be what it is today--especially Bobbie Hinds and Paula Jameson. Thank you, gals, for all the blood, sweat, and tears you have put into this organization to allow great things to happen that turn young ladies into women.

This week, I am back to school in veterinary school orientation, with classes beginning next week! I do not know where the summer went, but am excited to go back to school and a little nervous! I will be spending time with my friends of the Heartland Rodeo Company again in Nevada, Iowa on August 24-25th, and then heading to Ft. Madison the next weekend to attend the special rodeo, youth rodeo, visit schools and sponsors, and prepare for the Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008 Pageant! Good luck, girls, and study hard because this title is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Always Feels Like Home in Sidney!

Lending a helping hand to get one of the floats ready for the parade Wednesday. Thank you, Pepper Ann, for holding still while I attached the flags!

What a great week in Southwest Iowa! I just returned home from the 84th Annual Sidney, Iowa Champioship Rodeo, and as always, it was a spectacular rodeo. It felt like a homecoming for me because I saw many familiar faces and places! The Sidney Rodeo Board and Williams-Jobe-Gibson American Legion Post 128 have been so kind to me over the years as a drill team member, rodeo queen contestant, and finally the queen. They are extended members of my family so I had a great time spending time with them. It was nice to fall right into the swing of things and not have to feel out of place because I know how the rodeo operates over there. Great job, gentlemen, on another successful year, and thank you for all you have done to shape me into who I am today!
Congratulations Holly Soucie, the new Miss Sidney, who will have a great time promoting one of Iowa's best rodeos. I was honored to be in the presence of visiting royalty Kelsea Walker, Miss Rodeo Illinois, Rachel Burton, Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen, and Jessica Iodence, the Aksarben Rodeo Queen (I found out she will be a junior at THE BEST university this fall . . . Iowa State). Rachel and I were very graciously hosted by Cindy Bebout who has a house right across from the arena, so it was very handy to not have far to travel for a shower at night. Speaking of showers, the weather was typical August Sidney Rodeo weather: hot, sunny, and very humid--but it felt SO GREAT to be back in Rodeo Town, U.S.A.!
Rachel and I posing by my beautiful "Sunshine 'S' Trailer Sales" Featherlite horse limo!

During the week we visited my favorite radio host, Jerry Dietz, for a radio interview. Jerry is always fun to talk with and does a great job with his radio show. The neat thing about KCSI is that it is a family business and his wife and daughter work just as hard as he does to keep 95.3 FM one of the most informative and enjoyable radio stations to listen to! I also got the chance to see the beautiful Allie West, Jerry's granddaughter, who is one of my young queen hopefuls--Jerry just doesn't know it yet! She will be celebrating a birthday later this month, which is proof that great people are born in the month of August!

On Friday, Rachel, Holly, the bullfighters, and I also took time to visit the Sidney Senior Center as well as the nursing homes in Sidney and Shenandoah. We had a great time visiting with people and signing autographs. We also got to stop in the radio studio of KMA 960 AM and do a live on-air interview. We had a busy but fun day, and got to finish it off with coming back to the rodeo grounds and eating the best cowboy beans in the entire world made by Teresa Biermann of Quick Draw Todd's Smokeshack. This was the same recipe that was served at my coronation, so it had been WAY TOO LONG since I have been able to taste them again!

My beautiful youngest sister Kelli!

Friday also happened to be my birthday, so it was fun to celebrate it in Sidney at the rodeo (where I have celebrated it for the last 15-plus years)! McCarthy's One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning brought me over a large cake that we shared with passer-by's. It was delicious, but what made it even better was that I got to share it with my friends and family, including Megan Wiemold (Miss Rodeo Iowa 2004), Jerry Dietz, the Sidney Rodeo Board, and my sister Kelli who came over to the rodeo for my birthday even though she had just had surgery that morning! What a great sister! (Sara is a great sister too, but she was on a cruise!) That night at the rodeo I FINALLY talked the mutton busting champion for the night out of a kiss on the cheek! Little did he know, but it was a smart move on his part because I had been turned down the two previous nights and told myself that I was going to chase Friday night's champ around the arena until he gave in!

I just turned 23 and this was my first kiss--and what better company than the Friday night mutton busting champion?

It was a wonderful weekend, but after the rodeo Friday night, I was not done. I loaded up Pepper Ann and headed home so I could go to Greenfield Saturday for Bethany Jo Thompson's wedding! It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony, craftily planned and decorated by the one and only Paula Jameson (Bethany's mom)! Paula did a wonderful job, and I felt very honored to be one of the bridesmaids--not to mention we got to dance and sing karaoke at the reception! Best of luck to Bethany, Brandon, and LeDoux (the little red Australian Shepherd that wandered up to the reception hall while we were in the middle of rehearsal) for the wonderful future they will share together!

This week I am off to the Iowa State Fair for the parade, Cowgirl Queen Contest (I will just be observing), and GOVERNOR'S CHARITY STEER SHOW! I am so excited to show "Chopper" that I can hardly contain myself! I will be sure to have someone take pictures so I can share my experience with you on here--which definitely checks off one of the many things on my "list of things to do in a lifetime." Until then, take care!