Changes to the Miss Rodeo America Horsemanship Competition

MRA Pageant Logo ColorIn addition to the changes that have been made to the speech portion of the Miss Rodeo America Pageant Presented by Las Vegas Events, some exciting modifications have also been made to the horsemanship portion of this year’s pageant! The changes have been made for various reasons but overall are in the best interest of each of our 33 contestants. At this year’s pageant the freestyle section of horsemanship has been taken out and replaced with judged group rail work classes. In addition to the format changes the location of this year’s horsemanship competition has changed as well. This year the horsemanship will take place at the South Point Hotel & Casino and will still be free to the public to attend.
flag runSome of the benefits of having a rail work class instead of a freestyle pattern is that the rail work is more in line with the job of Miss Rodeo America. When the public sees Miss Rodeo America on horseback it is most often in parades, chasing out cows during a rodeo, running sponsor flags, and completing a queens run. Since each contestant is first required to complete a preset and provided pattern there is no longer an additional need to see the contestants complete another pattern with a freestyle format. The rail class will be different from a western pleasure class in that the horses provided for the contestants will NOT be judged on their ability, stride, or look at all. The judges will instead be looking for overall skill and equitation of the rider along with additional abilities. The changes on this in the rule book are stated as:

Paige horsemanship“Horsemanship – the purpose of this division is to select the young lady who rates highest in:

Horsemanship–to include control of mount and the way any situation which may occur is handled.

Balance-ability to sit a saddle.

Positions of hands, feet and seat. Mounting and dismounting.

The understanding and skill of the contestant will be judged and not the horse or the equipment.

There will be two go-rounds of horsemanship competition. Patterns to be used will be selected at the time of competition from the diagrams found in this book. At the discretion of the Judges, patterns may be altered due to arena conditions. Contestants may also be required to dismount and remount, carry a flag and/or perform additional maneuvers on horseback. Contestants may or may not be asked to do a presentation ride following completion of one of their patterns. Any changes and/or alterations to the horsemanship patterns will be announced to the contestants before the horsemanship competition begins. The patterns will be demonstrated by the reigning Miss Rodeo America.

Each contestant will ride a horse in each of two go-rounds of horsemanship competition. As in rodeo, there will be a draw for the order in which contestants compete, and also a draw for each contestant’s mount. No contestant will ride the same horse in both go-rounds.”

These changes were made after much consideration and in an effort to have the best representative possible for the job of Miss Rodeo America and give each of the contestants an equal opportunity to succeed in the horsemanship portion of the pageant. The horsemanship will take place on Monday, November 30th at 10am in the South Point Hotel and Casino.

Lauren HeatonWe are very excited about our new corporate sponsor that is providing the seating for this event! Doug and Stevie Beehler with Waddell & Reed, an investment company, have agreed to partner with us for this year to bring you the horsemanship competition. Doug and Stevie have been involved with Miss Rodeo America, Inc. for many years. Stevie is an MRA Gold Member and they are both currently serving on the National Advisory Council. We are very grateful for their help and look forward to sharing with you more about them as the pageant approaches. Every year Court’s Saddlery will provide all of the brand new saddles for the contestants to utilize during the horsemanship competition as well as the official saddle for Miss Rodeo America 2016. Also, again this year the America Quarter Horse Association will be providing the horsemanship category winner with a saddle and a bronze for the stock contractor that provides the best horse for the contestants. In addition we would like to thank our horsemanship committee for working hard to accommodate these changes and finalize the details. We look forward to seeing everyone at the horsemanship competition this year!

Here are Lauren’s thoughts on these changes and quick tip on how shes handles horsemanship:

Ok horsemanship“I believe this year’s changes to the horsemanship portion of the competition more accurately represents the horsemanship skills needed as Miss Rodeo America. Rail work is an accurate way to judge if the contestants know how to properly sit a horse. ”

Lauren’s advice on handling this portion of the pageant is:

Always stay calm and breathe. Horses pick up on every little feeling. the more relaxed you remain, the more they’ll respond to you and your commands. Also, the littlest mistake will feel huge to you, but know that the audience and the judges probably never noticed.”


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