When I ask ladies when or if they will be running for Miss Rodeo California, I often hear three things:
- I don’t have the money.
- I don’t the knowledge.
- I don’t have the time to make the commitment
I’d like to take a moment to address these very valid concerns.
“I don’t have the money.”
No matter what you do in life, there is always an expense associated with it; I promise. It boils down to what kind of life you want to create for yourself. I can tell you all day long that being a rodeo queen isn’t expensive, but we all know that would be a lie. Luckily, rodeo ambassadors like us are surrounded by people who share a mutual passion for growing the next generation of rodeo enthusiasts. Here’s the best part: you get to be the face of that growth, the face of the community, the rodeo, and the sport. Utilize the connections you have made throughout your time as a Miss Rodeo <City>. Ask questions about how to approach and recruit sponsors – remember that your rodeo committee has a team of people dedicated to doing just this. Take the time to talk to them, learn from them, and even visit potential sponsors with them. Always go in with a plan and be sure to know how you are going to serve your sponsor; after all, sponsorship is a partnership.
“I don’t have the knowledge.”
It appears this should be a silly thing to keep you from being Miss Rodeo California. However, it’s easy to fall victim to the belief that you don’t have the knowledge it takes to represent only one of three states that has enough of a foundation in rodeo to be its own circuit. Guess what? I was a victim of this, too. After all, I wasn’t born into a family of generations of rodeo contestants. Here’s the thing: you will not and cannot know everything a judge could possibly ask you and it’s okay! You need to learn to be okay with imperfection. Everyone is a work in progress. By no means is this permission to not hit the books. Holding this title requires rodeo book smarts. Order a media guide and a rule book from the PRCA and soak as much of it up as you possibly can. The judges want someone real. The industry grows when fans feel connected to the sport, when they can relate to you, and follow along. My best advice to conquer this fear is to become a rodeo enthusiast. Learn as much as you can from the standpoint of doing your job as a rodeo ambassador. Change your perspective: not being from a rodeo family is beneficial for me. It means that I spend more time studying than some people with different backgrounds, but it also means I can easily connect with fans on their level. I have the knowhow to break things down into terms that are easily understandable. Be proud of who you are and what you bring to the table. Practice the art of “letting it go”- set limits for yourself. Not every practice impromptu speech will be spot on and not every question will be answered perfectly. Address where and how you can improve, take constructive criticism and try again… maybe tomorrow.
“I don’t have the time to make the commitment.”
Miss Rodeo California is a full-time job. I competed for the title not once, but twice before finally taking home the crown on my third try. Each time I left that competition, I never once went home feeling empty handed. I left each time with a new set of friends, with more experience under my belt to build my career and a greater appreciation for the sport and the people within it. Upon becoming Miss Rodeo California, you make a leap from representing a community to an entire state. So far, in six months of my reign I’ve put just about 10,000 miles on my Ram, courtesy of Ram of the West – an incredible partner to have on this journey. When you are Miss Rodeo California, you are presented with opportunities that develop who you are as a person. The experience gained from this position is immeasurable. It is a huge commitment, but it is for only 365 days. That’s it. It flies by faster than you can image and it’s all you get: just one year to create memories that will last you the rest of your life. You will never be as young, as free and this able ever again. Take advantage of that.
As I look ahead, I’ve gained so much experience that will help me in my day to day life and in my professional life. Is it easy to go out and get sponsors? No. Is it easy to be studying instead of going to the movies or beach with friends? No. Is it something I’ve had to commit myself to fully? Yes. But I’ve gained far more than I’ve lost: I’ve gained scholarships, I’ve gained everlasting friendships that span from San Diego to Red Bluff as well as a set of sash sisters from across the country, I’ve gained an even deeper understanding and love for the sport of rodeo, and I’ve gained a greater sense of who I am and what my place is in this world. When you become Miss Rodeo California, it does stop being about you because you are representing the state, but somewhere in between all of the hometown parades and all of the plates of the “best barbecue in California” you find a more confident, independent and unstoppable version of yourself. It’s about being a part of something so much larger than just you. It’s about the sport, the lifestyle and the people who created it. This opportunity is an investment in your future.
I am so incredibly blessed to add my name to the roster of only 45 other women to have ever held this title. So far this experience has been everything I have hoped it would be and so much more. So if you’re on the fence on whether or not to submit your application, ask yourself this. What do you have to lose?
Take the plunge.