This was written by blog contributor and former Miss Rodeo California, Markie Battaglia
Have you considered competing in a rodeo queen pageant or are you gearing-up to compete at Miss Rodeo America? My strongest suggestion is to surround yourself with the right people to provide guidance and advice and to believe in yourself. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a first generation cowgirl and didn’t really start to ride horses until I was 14 years old. Naturally, when I competed for my first crown (Ramona Rodeo Jr. Queen), I was nervous, intimidated and felt as though I was “in over my head”. By the end of the pageant, I had won the crown, to everyone’s surprise (including my own). The primary reason I was able to successfully compete and win was because of the people from whom I sought advice and guidance, the time I dedicated to learning how to ride and to studying the equine and rodeo facts required to compete at this level. So, here’s to all little girls that are willing to work hard, to compete and put their confidence on the line and who dare to dream big.
Bobby Unser once said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” This is a quote I live-by day each and every day, whether you are studying for a school exam or preparing for a rodeo queen pageant, this quote holds so true. As you prepare for most all tests, competitions and struggles in your life and whether you win or lose, you will need to grow in some manner or degree in order to be successful. I know this sounds cliché, but this is a fact and truth above all! I am a firm believer in seeking help and assistance when you are attempting to better yourself in any aspect of life. The saying “it takes a tribe to raise a child” translates well throughout the process of becoming a rodeo queen. Whether you are getting ready to compete in your first pageant or preparing for the final contest for any of us (Miss Rodeo America), having awesome and supportive people (mentors) around you is the best form of preparation. So when that final stage of preparation is nearing and people know you are getting ready for a pageant and everyone is peppering you with advice, you need to take a deep breath and, before being overwhelmed, you need to remember these few thoughts that I have found to be the most helpful and give me the greatest chance for success.
The foundation from where you seek advice should be the people you most respect. These should be people whom you know will encourage you and provide guidance without criticism, people who will build-you-up with supporting words, not tear-you-down. During my seven years of eating, sleeping and dreaming of all things Rodeo Queen, there were always several people that helped me create my “best true self”, thereby leading me to successfully competing and becoming Miss Rodeo California. From there, these people assisted and supported me to winning Horsemanship and being awarded 1st Runner-Up Miss Rodeo America Pageant.
I sought out many people for assistance and support with each aspects and competition at the rodeo queen pageants in which I competed. The individual competitions on which I worked consistently were Horsemanship, Pageant Presence and Interview Techniques. Some of the qualities and attributes that I sought in mentors were people that I respected, were successful in their fields had positive attitudes and were willing to help me throughout each competition. I truly believe these are the perquisites for providing advice; and if you chose the right mentors, you will increase your chances of successfully competing and most efficiently work your way through each completion as you travel down the road of rodeo queen competitions. If you aren’t selective in choosing your mentors, you may find yourself working with individuals offering mixed and confusing opinions, thereby making it hard to decipher what works for you. So, start by asking quality people to assist you. In competing to become a rodeo queen, you want to showcase your most genuine and best self. This self-portrait l can best be found when you surround yourself with the right people. Remember, the contestant judges want to know who YOU are. First and foremost, you need to be self-confident and know you are portraying your best self. Constructive criticism is the best way to become a better contestant. You might think you are answering questions the correct way or executing your horsemanship with no faults, but when you surround yourself with great mentors they will see flaws and failings that you don’t see.
I believe you will be most successful in your pageants if you are showing your best self, have confidence in the person you are and believe, deep-down in your heart, that you have taken all the necessary preparatory steps to be successful in each pageant competition. And always remember to say “Thank You” to the people that helped you along the way.