I am so honored to have the amazing opportunity to represent our state this year as Miss Rodeo California 2013. For those whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Dakota Skellenger and I am a 20 year old student at Bakersfield College where I am majoring in Agriculture Business . I was born and raised in the city of Bakersfield, Buck Owen’s Town, by my parents Scott and Lisa. I wasn’t brought up alone, however. My twin sister Rori has always been by my side and is truly my best friend! I love my family and I am so thankful to have their never-ending support.
I started riding horses when I was five… and that was quite a feat considering I was riding a very “spirited” five year old mare! Two five year olds riding as a team never ceased to make for some interesting stories! Nevertheless, I fell absolutely in love with horses. At the age of nine I joined my local 4-H club where I started showing in Western and English pleasure and equitation. Having competed in some jumping classes at these 4-H shows, I really began to gain interest in hunter jumping. I soon bought a Thoroughbred named D’Artagnon and began showing my hunter jumper. Being a typical Thoroughbred, D’Artagnon taught me many lessons about learning to master the art of riding a hot blooded horse! I know that my experiences with the English discipline have helped me achieve an all-around perspective on the horse industry. In addition to this, I began riding on a drill team where I started to really become involved with rodeo.
I entered my first queen pageant at the age of 15. I was so fortunate to win the title of 2008 Jr. Miss Rodeo Glennville and begin my unforgettable journey deep into the rodeo industry. After my year of representing Glennville and the PRCA, there was one title in particular that I had been longing to hold. Bakersfield is my hometown and representing the Stampede Days Rodeo as 2011 Miss Rodeo Bakersfield was a dream come true. It gave me chills to run around the arena as a hometown girl at a rodeo I had been attending since I was a child. A year after I had been crowned, I proudly took my Bakersfield title to the Miss Rodeo California pageant. After a remarkable week with seven other excellent and worthy title holders, on October 4th I was crowned Miss Rodeo California 2013. I know my year will be extraordinary with all that I will experience and with all of the people I will meet. I want to thank all of my sponsors and the rodeo committees who have helped me along the way. I truly believe that with everyone you meet, you can always learn something. I am forever thankful for these people who have me supported me with everything from monetary donations to simple yet powerful words of advice. Thank you.
I dedicate a huge part of my life to rodeo and becoming the most effective ambassador for the PRCA that I can be. When I do have a little spare time I enjoy being with my friends, practicing Jujitsu, watching 80’s movies, ice skating, listening to classic rock and of course spending time with my horses.
Now that you know more about me, I would like to tell you about something very exciting that Miss Rodeo California Inc. added to the pageant this last October. For the very first time, we had a competition for the title of Teen Miss Rodeo California! Out of five young ladies, Bridgette LaHaye from Valley Center captured the title! Bridgette is a wonderful young lady who is very knowledgeable and passionate about promoting rodeo. She will excel this year and create huge shoes to fill for the next girl. Now that you are updated on the addition to our pageant, I would like to tell you about what I have been up to!
The day after I was crowned Bridgette and I went to visit the many incredible sponsors who make the Miss Rodeo California Pageant possible. It was so great to talk to these generous people and thank them personally! The next morning I had the opportunity to ride in the Pioneer Day Parade. We had beautiful weather in Paso Robles and I was able to ride on an amazing stage coach (technically a wagonette) by Harris Stage Lines! I want to thank Tom and Debby Harris for having Bridgette and me accompany them. You two were such wonderful company!
My next adventure was to Las Vegas for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant to watch Mackenzie compete. She did an amazing job and did our state very proud. While in Vegas I was able to meet the ladies-in waiting (2013 state queens). While at the pageant we sold raffle tickets together, attended the queen clinic and made some lasting memories! I can’t wait to travel with these girls this year! I also had a very nice time attending the pageant with Donna Riva and Frankie Engel and I am so appreciative that they allowed me to stay with them during the pageant. Furthermore, I was so glad to have these two ladies introducing me to so many people! Last but not least I even had an autograph signing session with our generous sponsor Platinum Performance. When I arrived to the session, who else but Trevor Brazile was signing autographs! I was beyond honored to meet him and congratulate him on his 10th All Around World Championship.
I am so excited to say that I will be heading to Denver for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo this month. I look forward to all of the experiences I will have there (and I’m sure a blonde moment or two)! Until then I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.-Maya Angelou