The highlight of day two of the 2016 Miss Rodeo America pageant was likely the horsemanship competition. Sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association, Court’s Saddlery, South Point Hotel & Casino, and Waddell & Reed, Doug & Stevie Beehler, the event challenged the equestrian skills of the 33 contestants, all eager to claim the coveted horsemanship award.
Country music artist Kylie Frey opened the show with the national anthem, featuring Miss Rodeo America 2015, Lauren Heaton, carrying the flag on horseback. The format was slightly different this year. One round consisted of a set pattern and one round of rail work. The changes made from previous years was seen as a huge success.
Each girl got her time in the spotlight as she completed the set pattern on a horse provided by Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) stock contractors. Horses were judged by the WNFR pick-up men. Then, in groups of 11, the contestants completed rail work on a different horse. They were asked to walk, trot, lope and back their horses up under the watchful eyes of the judges.
The pattern and rail work tested the ladies in two different disciplines, allowing the judges to more accurately pick the truly best horsewoman of the group.
The MRA Pageant Horsemanship Top Horse Award was given to Buetler and Son’s, but you’ll have to wait to hear which queen placed in first for horsemanship! For those of you who caught the event, which rider and horse was your favorite? Who do you think will win? Let us know by leaving your comments below or reaching us on Facebook and Twitter!
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