Greetings from the Cornhusker State of Nebraska! Hello, I’m Joni Qualm, the 23-year-old daughter of Joel and Jane Qualm of Ericson, Nebraska. I hail from a family of five girls, and honestly my sisters have been instrumental in helping achieve my life’s goals. Jayna, and her husband Ky Iwanski and their two daughters Paisley and Macee, Jessie and husband Brent Swick and their son Aden, and my younger sister Jentry all call Ericson home. My older sister Jenita lives and works in New Mexico for the Department of Agriculture. You could say girls slightly out number my dad, but we think he’s a pretty lucky guy.
Growing up on one of the largest Quarter Horse Ranches in the nation, the Pitzer Ranch, being a cowgirl is a way of life. With AQHA Hall of Fame inductee Howard Pitzer as my Great-Grandpa, raising horses is in my blood. I’m actively involved in rodeo, AQHA, leader for 4H, and church. Since my official crowning moment on January 10th I’ve traveled about 15,000 miles. Places as far as Washington, D.C, Kissimmee, Florida, Dallas, Texas, and most of the Prairie Circuit rodeos. I cannot wait for the “summer rodeo run” and spending more time with the other queens. In my spare time I love to hunt! Not just for the trophies, but also because of the time I get to spend in the beautiful rugged country that I call home. Along with hunting I enjoy playing volleyball, going to husker football games, swimming, roping, and being an active leader in my counties 4H program.
Apart from the western lifestyle and my agriculture background, my passion is health care. My grandmother LaVonne Qualm is a Registered Nurse and I have always admired how she was able to use her education to serve her neighbors in rural South Dakota. In May of 2014, I graduated with a Nursing Degree from Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas on a volleyball and rodeo scholarship. I chose nursing, as I thought it would be an opportunity to give back to the hardworking and selfless farm and ranch families in my area as well as other rural areas throughout the state. After my year as Miss Rodeo Nebraska, I hope to serve rural Nebraska by working at a surgery center, hospital, or clinic.
Throughout my life, I strive to be the best I can be at my job, no matter the task I’m doing. All of my life, I have wanted to somehow leave my own mark, along with inspiring others to leave theirs. Whether it be being Miss Rodeo Nebraska, a legacy farmer/rancher, or simply being that nurse that helped someone though a difficult time and made their hospital stay a better experience, I simply want someone to remember me.
My motto for my reign as Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2015 is “Leave Your Legacy.” I have been blessed to be the product of two families that have left great legacies. One that has horses and breeders like being honored in AQHA Hall of Fame, and another that takes credit to being one of the first ranchers to bring Angus cattle into the Dakotas. I have learned well what it takes to be remembered. Hard work, dedication, excellence, and a strong compassion for the needs of others are just a few things that I aspire to leave in my own legacy.