Hi everyone!! Just wanted to introduce myself as you will be seeing a lot of me this year as I travel across our great state! For those of you who don’t yet know me, I am Ondrea Edwards, a 24-year-old animal science major who will be working towards a career in genetics and biology. I am proud to call California my home, but I didn’t start out here! I was born in Weisbaden, Germany while my family served in the military. Once we flew back to the states, I lived in Texas for a short time where my parents learned I was a horse fanatic. At the age of 5 we headed to the west, and settled here in California. I am the oldest of 5 children, and I call home in the central valley. Currently I reside near Monterey, where I work for Walkers Performance Horses.
My love for horses began before I could walk, and much to my parent’s surprise I could think about nothing more than owning my own horse. Moving around prevented that dream from becoming a reality, so I became an avid fan of horse books and movies. I spent years researching and preparing for the day I would finally get my very own horse, and by age 14 I was more than ready.
As an 8th grade graduation gift, my parents agreed to make my dream a reality. Nosey Rosie was the creature they settled on. A big bay mare, 8 years old, and supposedly beginner friendly. I was smitten, and could think of nothing more than all of the blue ribbons my new partner and I would win. Blue ribbons were not in Rosie’s plans however. She was more content with running off, tossing me out of the saddle, and giving me more bumps then shiny buckles. Eventually I accepted the fact that Rosie was not the show horse of my dreams, but she taught me valuable lessons about life, and for that I am forever grateful. At 16 I purchased my second horse, one that did decent at the 4-H shows at the local fair. He was a big thoroughbred, and we called him Booger.
Throughout highschool and in the FFA I attended the local fair where I became the Gymkhana champion, and horse show reserve champion many times. I also won the coveted showmanship award. My riding led me in many directions, and I competed in western pleasure, English, jumping, barrels, trail and reining. I was graced with the opportunity to ride and own a good number of horses, and I found a passion in starting colts.
I was largely involved with the FFA chapter at my school, and the opportunities I was given there led me to my career as a rodeo queen. I entered my first pageant at 20, a little older than most serious competitors, but I was dedicated and worked hard. My first title, Miss Merced County Rodeo, truly opened my eyes to the amazing sport and organization of rodeo.
After that, I competed and held titles as Miss Grand National Rodeo, and Miss Wine Country Rodeo. I proudly represented the Wine Country at the Miss Rodeo California 2014 pageant against 5 other talented young women. I was rewarded for my efforts and was crowned the 2014 Miss Rodeo California after 3 intense days of competition.
My year as MRC has officially begun and I am so incredibly excited to represent not only rodeo, but the wonderful state of California, as I work hard to promote and be a successful ambassador for the sport of rodeo. I want to thank all of the pageant sponsors, as well as my own, who have allowed for such a great organization to keep young women active in one of the greatest sports on dirt. I want to thank everyone who has ever supported me, in the gesture of a kind word, or monetarily, everything you have done has made me a success.
As I embark on this journey, my life will be filled with rodeo and horses, every second of each day. In my time away from the rodeo arena, you will find me riding colts, designing clothes, cooking, and spending time with my family.
I hope this has given you a little insight to who I am!!
The Miss Rodeo California pageant has a new exciting venue and location for the upcoming pageant! We will be hosting the 2015 competition in conjunction with the California Circuit Finals held in Lancaster this October. The move is big for our organization and we hope that it will attract support from both local and larger sponsors!
My year as Miss Rodeo California began as I attended the 2014 Miss Rodeo America Pageant, where I was able to watch our very own Dakota compete for the crown! The trip was a wonderful insight to what I would be preparing for, as well as an opportunity to meet with the other lady in waitings who will be at my side in our quest to become the next Miss Rodeo America. Dakota did a wonderful job at the pageant, and I cannot wait to go through the same experience this December!
I look forward for my next year, and keeping in touch with the wonderful support system that is present in California, I cannot wait to see what this journey will bring!