This article was written by blog contributor and Miss Rodeo California 2011, Brittany Walker
I remember being crowned Miss Rodeo California like it was yesterday. This was something that I had worked many years to achieve through countless communications classes, horsemanship lessons and hours of studying everything I could find on the western industry. A week after the pageant I had my whole year outlined on paper (or so I thought). I was so excited by the new places that I would get to see as well as humbled to be a part of such incredible events.
As I look back, I think of all of the things that I learned while being Miss Rodeo California. The two main lessons that stand out are: always be flexible and understand how to manage your time wisely. I believe it was Miss Rodeo America McKenzie (Haley) Vice who told me that in order to be a successful queen you need to be flexible. While I may not have understood how to do that then, it certainly comes in handy now. Often times we get caught up in what we are doing for the event when it is important to remember that you have the luxury of being a small part of a very large production. If your event didn’t go as planned or if you were not selected to ride in that evening’s performance- shake it off. Go find another way to be helpful. There are a lot of ways to impact people’s lives- just be able to adapt to your surroundings.
Managing time is a life lesson that is very hard to perfect. Whether it is knowing how long it takes you to get ready or how much time you need in between events- this is a critical skill. Also you should have a good idea of what the PRCA schedule looks like. This is what helped me plan out my year. I had a firm grasp on which events were likely to want to host Miss Rodeo California as well as weeks where California might not have a rodeo. So when I received the invitation to attend out of state events I had a good idea of whether or not it would fit into my schedule. Your state committee, past queens and the PRCA website are your best resources for this. Be prepared so you don’t miss out.
During my year I traveled to Colorado, South Dakota, Florida, Oklahoma, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Alberta, Canada. My greatest piece of advice is to attend the events where you will have the chance to get to know your fellow state queens the best. I loved every trip but now what stands out to me isn’t the number of performances I rode in or how many autographs I signed but the incredible moments I spent with the other queens and the amazing rodeo committees I was so fortunate to get to know. Managing your schedule can seem like a daunting task but with a little preparation and the ability to be flexible you will make the most of it. Cherish each event- it is truly the ride of a lifetime!