October 6th 2011 is a day Mackenzie Cayford will never forget. The Miss Rodeo California 2012 pageant started on October 4th with Orientation, lunch with the judges, horsemanship and a horsemanship BBQ. The girls all looked great but the most bizarre thing happened. I went over to the arena about an hour early to get my borrowed horse warmed up and ready to go. I was wearing a red outfit to match my beautiful donated chaps from John Gentry. When the girls arrived I looked over only to find 4 out of 6 girls in RED! A pageant nightmare. I teased them by saying that they wanted to be just like me which they didn’t find very funny. But they kept their spirits high and we all rocked red that night. In all of the years that I’ve been competing in pageants I have never once seen that many girls wearing the same color. Thank you so much to Katie Hill for allowing me to borrow your fabulous horse! At the BBQ I asked the girls to come up and give a 30 second commercial on MRC pageant sponsors. I think that is one of the most important jobs as a rodeo queen, to recognize and promote your sponsors. We finished up the night with the electric slide and allowed the girls to mingle a little bit before we whisked them off to the La Quinta. Thank you to Paso Robles Ford for donating the use of two vehicles for the week!
Wednesday morning started bright and early with breakfast with the judges then personal interviews.This is my favorite part of a pageant and I was happy that we allowed time for me to get a Miss Rodeo America Pageant prep interview in. After interviews we headed to Farm Supply for lunch then Paso Robles Ford for a photo op and finally to Boot Barn where the girls were able to shop and meet up with their family for a quick visit. Then we were off to Speech and Modeling rehearsal. We got back to the hotel so the girls could change into their dresses and freshen up. Speech, Modeling & Impromptu portions are held in the grand ballroom at the Paso Robles Inn. The contestants did an amazing job on their speeches. It was probably one of the best speech sessions that I’ve ever heard. I think I was more nervous this year to MC the event then I was last year to compete. Everything went great and the crowd laughed at my stories! Overall it was a good night.
Thursday morning everyone woke up anxious for their horsemanship interviews. They were incredibly difficult this year. The contestants compared them to being on Jeopardy. I guess that’s what happens when you have incredibly talented judges. We are very lucky! After the interviews we went to the Paso Robles Event Center for the Pioneer Day Rotary luncheon. It was so much fun to hear about the history of Paso Robles. It is the most wonderful community. We headed back to the Paso Robles Inn for a Coronation Rehearsal then headed back to the La Quinta to get ready for the big night.
I am so proud of this year’s contestants and I hope that each one continues to be an excellent ambassador for the sport of rodeo. Coronation was the night that I had been dreading all year. I had to stand up and give a speech trying to explain the impact that this year has had on my life. I have watched my friends for years get teary eyed in their farewell. I bawled the entire time I wrote my speech so I knew I was destined to use lots of tissue. When I walked in carrying the California Flag the crowd stood up and I nearly lost it. It means the world to me to have my organization behind me and it was really difficult to try to put into words the most amazing year and the most special people who have come into my life. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey. My family, friends, sponsors and pageant committee have stood by me all year and I hope to make you all proud at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. Special thank you to Donna Riva, Frankie Engle and Sandy Moreno for all of their hard work and for helping to make my year such a success!
Big THANK YOU to the 2012 Judges:
Kiki Shumway, Kelly Baxley, Kendra Santos and Rob Smets
Results for 2012 Miss Rodeo California Pageant are:
- Congeniality- Hollie Kucera
- Raffle Tickets- Leah Herron
- Speech- Heather Ross
- Ellen Kleinbeck Spirit Award- Heather Ross
- Photogenic- Julie Hemenway
- Horsemanship- Sofia Fisher
- Personality- Mackenzie Cayford
- Appearance- Mackenzie Cayford
- Fifth Runner Up- Leah Herron
- Fourth Runner Up- Julie Hemenway
- Third Runner Up- Hollie Kucera
- Second Runner Up- Heather Ross
- First Runner Up- Sofia Fisher
AND YOUR NEW 2012 MISS RODEO CALIFORNIA IS… Mackenzie Cayford