The scores are in, you did your best all week, you felt that you made your family proud, and the announcement is made… “Your 2016 1st runner up is______.” Everything you had dreamed of, the years waiting to wear the crown, the dedication and hard work you put in, over in a matter of seconds. So, you didn’t win the crown. However, did you really lose? Life is about impacting others, the choices we make, and the way we choose to view the situation.
Since I was 5 years old I wanted to be my state’s rodeo queen. It was a dream I had for years. In third grade I even wrote it down as a goal and kept it on my wall until the day I ran. Even though I was never blessed with the title nor did that dream come true, I can say that loosing truly became winning for me.
I was already blessed to hold my local rodeo queen title and fair queen title. These were the best 3 summers of my life. What made them so special is during each reign I focused on serving in that position and truly dedicated myself to being in the present, every day not hoping for something better but knowing that this moment would never come again. If I woke up so exhausted, I would remind myself that I took the title from someone else and I wasn’t going to disappoint them. Three amazing summers being in the spotlight getting to talk about my favorite sport and the skills I received are still helping me today. I made a point to build lasting relationships and to be remembered for my personality and not for the crown.
When it came time to run for my state title I had a team of supporters. It wasn’t until I was reading letters in the hotel room from my friends and family that I realized, I had already won. No matter the outcome of the pageant I had people who believed in me far beyond being a rodeo queen. The support and love I felt made me realize that a title is very powerful and a great platform to make a difference. However, it doesn’t matter unless you have support. Having that perspective made losing hurt a little less. My entire attitude about losing changed. The way I handled losing became genuine. I decide that even without the title if I truly loved what being a rodeo queen did for young women I would still support it.
When you decide to run for a title, whether it’s a County Fair Title, a State Title, or even the Miss Rodeo America title, keep in mind your attitude along the way will determine the legacy you leave and the mark you make on others. Running for a title takes guts, heart, dedication, determination and you may not even get to wear the crown. Similar to the sport of rodeo, many cowboys and cowgirls travel thousands of miles each year dedicating their life to get their chance to win the title “World Champion.” It’s a chance you take to make your dreams come true. Even though a cowboy or cowgirl may not win the title it’s the journey that keeps them coming back.
RUNNING FOR A TITLE: My advice is be yourself. Show the judges who you will be as the title holder. Remember it’s not just the judges watching. You may form a connection during the pageant that will help you down the road. It’s better for people to say “man I wish she would of won” vs. “glad they didn’t pick her.”
CURRENT TITLE HOLDERS: Be grateful for the crown you have now because soon that crown will come off. Be remembered for your kindness, work ethic, and positive attitude, not for your crown. Enjoy your year and be in the present. Lasting impressions come from the heart. I also suggest you keep in mind that other girls who ran against you would love to be in your shoes.
NON TITLE HOLDERS: For those of you who didn’t win or your time as a rodeo queen is over be gracious to the girl who won, be thankful to those who supported you along the way, and know that something so perfect for you is just down the road. It’s okay to be emotional. However, be in control of your emotions and don’t let them control you.
Standing there at the end of the pageant and hearing I was 1st runner up was hard. However, it didn’t mean I couldn’t make a difference, it didn’t mean I wasn’t special, it didn’t mean I wasn’t right for the job, it meant I had another door opening for me.
Months later I saw the girl who won the title and how much she was enjoying her year. She was working so hard and still had a great attitude during the busy rodeo season. I knew she was right for the job and it made me smile to see her enjoying it so much. Two years later I am now the Executive Assistant for the Miss Rodeo America Organization. It’s my legacy and lasting impression that led to this job, not my crown.