My name is Alanna Robin Hamilton, I’m 22 years old, and I am proud to call Arizona my home! The thing is, I haven’t always been able to say that. Not because I have never loved it here, but because this hasn’t always been home.
I was born and raised in the rolling hills of Marin County, California. Growing up I was barefoot and wild with a love for two things: horses and my country. I remember being told how I would grow out of my “horse girl phase” and smiled as the years went by and I grew to be a horsewoman. Every year my parents would take me to the Grand National Rodeo in San Francisco California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from where I lived. It was a magical experience as you left the crowded city streets into a whole new world. This was the world of the cowboy, and this is where I knew I truly belonged. In this world, I had one idol: Miss Grand National. She was full of beauty, grace, and grit. I never knew one day I would be just like her.
Whether I could find a western or English saddle, or none at all I found my way into all sorts of show rings and arenas. It wasn’t until high school when I joined the California High School Rodeo Association when I finally found a way to be part of the cowboy world. If I wasn’t at a rodeo, you could find me in football pads, on a wrestling mat, or throwing shotput. Horses made me strong, and with that strength I could have been a farrier or vet as I grew up dreaming to be. Instead I did something different.
It was two weeks before my 18th birthday when all my classmates were deciding which colleges to go to when I signed the dotted line and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I went through bootcamp, combat training, and my military occupational school to become a cryogenic technician. It was the longest time I had spent away from a horse since I was three years old. It was then when I was told I would be stationed in Yuma, Arizona.
The barren hills and golden deserts were much different from the blankets of fog and shady redwood trees I was used to, but it didn’t take long to call Yuma my home. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be stationed in the heart of the Wild West! I had the best introduction to Arizona as I spent my first year here traveling the state with my first ever rodeo queen title. I couldn’t believe it when I made it to Prescott and rode in the World’s Oldest Rodeo. I was finally living my dream.
Before I knew it, I was competing for the title of Miss Rodeo Arizona. At my coronation that was held in my tiny military town, I realized what I achieved; another family. My commanding officer was there, as well as rodeo queens I had met the year prior and everyone in Yuma who convinced me to compete for my first title. That is the beauty of being in the rodeo world and being part of the military, you have family wherever you go.
This year I have been across the country and have been to parts of Arizona I had not yet had a chance to discover. I’ve had the honor to carry our nations colors as well as flags of the top sponsors of the PRCA. I’ve been to exceptional rodeos where young children have taught me values I would have never learned otherwise. This year I have had family by my side the whole time.
I still love two things in life: horses and my country. My love for these things have brought me to where I am today and have given me two of the most prestigious titles you can hold. I am proud to serve my country and represent Arizona in the professional sport of rodeo.
I am a United States Marine and a rodeo queen.