Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best of luck Amanda!

Your Board of Directors, committee and friends all wish you the best of luck this coming week at the Miss Rodeo America 2009 Pageant! You have lived a dream year and managed to pack a lot of living into just 365 days. We are all very proud of your accomplishments, not only as Miss Rodeo Iowa but also as a student of veterinary medicine.

If you would like to send well wishes to Amanda while she is at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, please remember the following:

Place "Iowa" in the subject line (makes it easier for the committee to file)
All messages are read prior to giving to the contestants, so keep it appropriate.
Amanda will not have access to email while competing.
Messages may not be printed after noon Friday, December 7.

The email address to use is missrodeopageant@yahoo.com. The Miss Rodeo America blog can be found at http://missrodeoamerica.blogs.com. Updates on pageant activities and special interest stories will be posted daily.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Fabulous Fashion Show!

Queens, queens, and more queens! L to R: Aleigh Beahm, Rachel Burton, me, Suzette Walker, Suzi Fife, Holly Soucie

Thank you to everyone who attended my fashion show send-off and donated to my travel fund. It was wonderful to see so many friends, family, and supporters--I am truly blessed with wonderful people in my life. I was in the presence of beauty on Sunday because Aleigh Beahm (Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008), Rachel Burton (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008), Holly Soucie (Miss Sidney Rodeo 2007), Suzi Fife (Miss Teen Rodeo Lenox 2007), and Suzette Walker (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2007) were kind enough to add the "glitz and glam" to my fashion show!
Fashion Show Dress by Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies

I would like to thank Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies (Rhodes, Iowa) for making all of my beautiful leather outfits. I am very proud to be one of her "walking models" this year because Ashley's creativity and ability is like no other. I LOVE my "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" vest and am very sad I will only get to wear it once in Las Vegas. My fashion show dress is so fun to wear because it has somewhat of a train and makes me feel as if I float across the ground!
Tough Enough To Wear Pink Vest by Ashley Kelber of Outlaws and Ladies

I really appreciate the friendship I have acquired throughout the year with the Kelber family. They are a wonderful group of people who have welcomed Dixie and me into their family, and have even offered to dogsit while I go to Las Vegas! (Dixie loves staying at the Kelber's house because they spoil her rotten!) I feel very lucky to only live 30 miles from the most talented leather seamstress in the world. If you need leather garmets, do not hesitate to contact Ashey at 641-482-3510.
Horsemanship shirt, pants, and boots by Paula Jameson of Reigning Rhinestones

Paula Jameson of Reining Rhinestones (Bridgewater) did not disappoint anyone with my "beautifully 'bling'ed" horsemanship shirt! I am very excited to wear it because the judges won't be able to see my make any errors in my patterns because they will be mesmerized by all of the glittering coming from the arena. (Good plan, Paula!) Paula has also dyed my pants for the competition and painted the boots I will be wearing so I owe it to her that I will be matched and stately in the city of lights. Paula has been such a wonderful help this year and has become such a great friend. I hope she still chooses to associate with me after I am a "has been" in about a month! ;) If you need any arena clothes, boots painted, or pants dyed, be sure to give Paula a call because if there ever has been a color created, Paula can match it! 641-369-4131
We match! Paula Jameson--designer, friend, and fasion diva! Look at those boots!

I would like to thank the Shenandoah Middle School for allowing me to have the sendoff in the commons. It worked out great to change behind the "stage" in the music room and we had ample space for people to sit, and even had enough room for a large "runway" for everyone to model. Mom did a great job with the music by playing fun songs to model to (I hope they do the same out in Vegas), and helped me get food and other things planned for the event. Thank you, Mom, for all of your help!
Wayne Woolridge, a faithful supporter of the Miss Rodeo Iowa program and great friend!

I had such a wonderful time that it flew by too quickly, but not before I spotted Wayne Woolridge in the crowd! Wayne, of Cherokee, Iowa, has been a wonderful supporter of the Miss Rodeo Iowa Program for years. I really appreciate all Wayne has done to help me get through the year; he has been so kind to me and I cannot thank him enough. Wayne has also offered to drive my clothes to Las Vegas so I don't have to worry about paying over-weight charges on the airline and getting my bags lost. It has been people like Wayne that have made my year unforgettable because of the never-ending kindness, friendship, support, and smiles he has given me throughout the year. Thank you, Wayne, for reminding me why I am so fortunate to be an Iowan!
Jason and Marla Long of Centerville--Pepper Ann's family! Thank you for letting me use the beautiful grey all summer!

Thank you, to everyone, for all of your support and friendship throughout the year. YOU have made this experience one of the most positive and unforgettable times in my life, and for this I am thankful. Since the veterinary curriculum has been taxing on my Miss Rodeo America studying and preparation, I do not feel as if I have put the time into getting ready for this national competition as a normal contestant should. However, because of the many wonderful individuals that have touched my life and influenced my way of thinking, I feel prepared to handle anything that is thrown my way. I will do my best to make Iowa proud, but no matter how the results turn out, I feel blessed knowing that I have already been rewarded with the most precious and priceless gift one could be given: the confidence, trust, and love of the wonderful people of Iowa. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and will be sure to recap the extraordinary time I will have in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant! Viva Las Vegas, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a scholarship so your vet bills can be cheaper!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Louisville, Kentucky--Home of the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo

Nice jackets! Me, Chelsea Stramma (WI), Kaytie Zuidema (MI), and Kelsea Walker (IL) showing off our warm Circuit Finals jackets.

How do 5 gals share a 4-door car, 3 mirrors, 2 beds, and one bathroom for 5 days?

Very well and with a lot of fun stories to tell if you were with our "bunch" this past week in Louisville, KY for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo! Judy Rogers was brave and kind enough to make the trip with me (so I could study for my two tests on the drive home), and her company helped the time and miles pass pleasantly and quickly. We picked up Kelsea Walker (Miss Rodeo Illinois) along the way and met up with Chelsea Stramma (Miss Rodeo Wisconsin) and Kaytie Zuidema (Miss Rodeo Michigan) once we checked into our very nice hotel.
Peggy Gander, former owner of Dodge Rodeo, and instrumental part of the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo

From there it was a whirlwind of activity, rodeo, dodging one another as we maneuvered our way around one another getting ready, and many memories that are worth telling! The rodeo was great! The top 12 cowboys from our 9-state circuit were in contention for money, points, and the chance to head to the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo this next March in Pocatello, Idaho. I saw many familiar faces and quite a few proud Iowans!

During the rodeo Kelsea, Chelsea, Kaytie, and I got to help carry sponsor flags and clear cattle. It was a wonderful time that ended too quickly. I would like to thank Rod, a pickup man for the Mid-State Rodeo Company, for bringing the sharp looking paints we rode all weekend. Lex Anderson (daughter of John Walter, owner of Mid-States Rodeo Co.) was fun to get to know and spoiled us because when we got to the arena, she already had the horses saddled each night. Thank you, Lex, for your help, and have a nice winter break!

Chelsea, Kelsea, Kavin Kingery, Kaytie, and I posing by the "official' truck of the rodeo. (All of us girls are wishing he would let us take the truck for a spin!)

In our "off" time we got picked up in the official Dodge Truck, driven by Iowa native Kavin Kingery, and taken to visit the local Dodge dealership. It was fun to ride in a brand-new truck and everyone at the dealership welcomed us with Kentucky hospitality. I had the opportunity to attend the "Farm City Luncheon" with announcer Roger Mooney and Iowa ropers Bill Huber (and his wife Jackie) and Ron Dales. Bill and Ron helped two teams of businessmen learn to rope a chair, then they had a face-off roping competition for the coveted horse collar award. I had a great time handing out hats and bandanas to the contestants and chatting with Bill, Jackie, and Ron. Ron's son Cooper (9 years old) and his paint pony "Pretty Girl" has helped Rachel Burton and I chase out cattle at quite a few rodeos, so I made sure Ron would pass Rachel and my "hello" on to Mr. Cooper.

Circuit Finals Contestants and fellow Iowans: Ron Dales and Bill Huber (with his wife Jackie) posed for a picture after a long morning of teaching two teams of businessmen how to rope.

Lucky us! Posing with a Carl Bowman (behind Kelsea and I) at his barn on the backside of Churchill Downs.

Later that day we visited Churchill Downs--home of the Kentucky Derby! It was such an exciting trip becuase they were racing that morning, and we happened to meet Carl Bowman, who trains horses at the track! Carl helped us bet on a race and explained how to read all of the boards and books to "handicapp the race" (i.e. pick out who you think will win). After a few races he took us back on the backside of the track to his barn and he showed us around. It was amazing to see such fine racehorses and learn about how they trained and fed their equine athletes. We felt so lucky to have met Mr. Bowman, and he welcomed us back anytime we were in the area.

Cary and Laura Veach, of Ankeny, Iowa. Check out that scrapbook cover! Thank you, Cary!

Cary Veach of Ankeny, Iowa has been wonderful to me this year--keeping Pepper and I outfitted in the most stylish leather chaps and tack. He has outdone himself, once again, by creating the most PERFECT scrapbook cover for my "year of memories" to take to Las Vegas. Thank you, Cary, for all of your wonderful work! If you ever need any leather work done, Cary is your man! Don't hesitate to contact him and his wife Laura at their shop Tuesday-Saturday at (515) 964-8331. (Just don't ask for stars for a while; I am pretty sure I have exhausted him with stars this year!)

Well-mounted on wonderful paint horses bearing red Mid-States Rodeo Company (from Kirksville, MO) breastcollars.

Saturday night was the last night for the rodeo--and my "career." This was the last rodeo I will get to attend and help out as Miss Rodeo Iowa 2007; it doesn't seem like the year should be over! Kelsea and I had a "moment of reflection" together as we thought back to all of the wonderful places we have been this year, all of the incredible people we have met, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities we were granted because of the crowns we have nestled upon our Bailey hats. I feel so fortunate for the year but a little sad it is all over. However, I can happily say that I have no regrets, and I was able to check many things off of my "list of things to do in a lifetime."

Thank you for following me this past year on the blog. I have had a great time keeping up with it and sharing my pictures, stories, and experiences with you. I appreciate all of the support everyone has given me, and I hope to make you proud two weeks from now as I make my flight and "Viva Las Vegas" in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. No matter how things turn out, I will go in and go home knowing I am the most fortunate person there because of the never-ending support, love, encouragement, and faith from my family, friends, the Miss Rodeo Iowa Board, and all of the people I met throughout my year of traveling. I love you all, and will never forget your kindness (so feel free to call me when you need a calf pulled, dog spayed, horse stitched up, etc.) Best wishes, and may God bless you and your family.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wild Weekend at the Extreme Cowboy Race!

Craig Cameron, clinician and inventor of the Extreme Cowboy Race.

Thank you, Judy Rogers, for the invitation for a great weekend!

I had the privelage to attend the Extreme Cowboy Race Finals in Kansas City, MO at the Saddle and Sirloin Club. Craig Cameron ( http://www.craigcameron.com/ ), an accomplished clinician and horseman, is the mastermind behind this absolutely amazing competition. It showcases true, functional horsemanship and adds excitement because the outdoor obstacle course is timed. Each day the course changes and challenges mount, but there were many extremely talented horses and riders in Kansas City this weekend that tackled the thich brush, tree dragging, roping, jumping, water crossings, and other obstacles with precision and class.
Bill Hull, Barn Manager and Groundkeeper at the Saddle and Sirloin Club in Kansas City, MO

While at the race, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with and be interviewed with Craig Cameron which was an experience! He is very easy to talk to and definitely has the "gift of gab" as any good clinician does. If you enjoy trail riding and horseback ranch tasks, you should consider entering one of the competitions. There are quite a few preliminary races around the United States with very nice saddles to be won, as well as the chance to compete in the national competition. It is definitely a true test of the horse's training and ability, as well as the rider's horsemanship--you should look into it!
Hoosier LOVES to have his ears scratched!

Also during the day, I met Sue Cole, the editor of Mules and More magazine ( http://www.mulesandmore.com/ ). Her "grand-mule" Hoosier was one of the competitors in the race. After telling her I was a mule owner, she asked me to come by after the race and take a few pictures with the famous mule. I was delighted! Hoosier is a beautifully built ~15.3 hand sorrel mule that placed in the top five, beating the rest of the horses! He was not very excited about putting his ears up for the pictures, but he sure didn't mind me scratching them! It was fun to meet Hoosier because I haven't been in the presence of a mule for a while!

Jerry and Nicolas giving us the abbreviated version of their show

Charro Jerry Diaz ( http://www.charrojerrydiaz.com/ )was one of the competitors in the race, so it was a great opportunity to watch one of the most talented men I have ever seen sit a horse. He has been riding and training since he was young, and is quite a hand with a lariat. Jerry performs at many rodeos and events performing rope tricks and horse acts (bowing, laying down, difficult dressage moves, etc.). Judy Rogers studies horsemanship and training under Jerry, so I got the opportunity to meet Jerry, his wife Staci, and their son, Nicolas. Nicolas is quite the performer already and definitely steals the show with his own trick rope and ornery grin. They Diazes are a very kind and caring family, and I felt very honored to meet them! (Even though I have spent the entire last year traveling and meeting many famous people, I still get star-struck!)

Nicolas Diaz, a future 5th generation Mexican charro, who will be a heartbreaker in a few years!

The fun is not quite over! This week I will be in Louisville, KY for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals rodeo. I am very excited to help carry flags and chase out cattle during the performances. Once I return home from Louisville and take two tests at school the next week, it will be FASHION SHOW SEND-OFF TIME! Come one, come all to the Shenandoah Middle School commons at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November for a sneak-peek of what I will be wearing during the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas. I will be in the presence of Aleigh Beahm (Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008), Rachel Burton (Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008), Holly Soucie (Miss Sidney Iowa Rodeo 2007), Suzi Fife (Miss Teen Rodeo Lenox), and possibly a few more queens! It should be a fun afternoon, and I would love to see you!