Giving back as a Miss Rodeo America Pageant Alumni
by Lauren Johnson
Miss Rodeo Kentucky National Director, MRKy 2015
Many people assume that the job of a rodeo queen lasts only a finite amount of time. That the job of promoting rodeo and agriculture ends when the crown is placed on the next girl’s hat. It is only the individuals who have been through the “system”, that understand the job does not end when she unpins that banner or removes those chaps for the last time. After serving as the reigning titleholder, one simply has a new set of duties. The job of a rodeo queen is never-ending.
My year as Miss Rodeo Kentucky 2015 was a little more rigorous than the typical state queen experience. Our state had not sent a representative to the national stage, the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, in over eight years. There was no framework or local organization to guide me.
I decided to make it my mission in January of 2015 to rejuvenate the state program and get myself to the national pageant the following December. I had a lot of work cut out for myself. In addition to being the reigning titleholder, I scheduled my own appearances, sought out sponsors, managed all social media accounts, coordinated a pageant for the following year, and so much more. Because of the unique position I was in, I gained invaluable experience that has assisted me in helping those queens that have followed in my footsteps.
When I started out, I never realized how much I would gain both personally and professionally through my experience as a PRCA State Queen. It became much more than just a title which occupied only a year of my life. I was able to make life-long friends while networking to grow my professional career. On top of that, who doesn’t want to assist in promoting the greatest sport on dirt?
I knew that I had to continue going forward with Miss Rodeo America, Inc. as a leader for the Miss Rodeo Kentucky program. I wanted to be able to facilitate the same opportunities that I worked for and was given, for the future Miss Rodeo Kentuckys. I believe that one underlying goal of the Miss Rodeo America program is to connect the dots between the young women in our industry across the country, and in some cases, the world. We need to take the positive and empowering outlets such as these and use them to build strong, capable, and knowledgeable women to lead our society. I believe that the Miss Rodeo America organization provides the framework to do so. Who knows the game better than an alumnus? If we do not pay the positivity and assistance we received forward, who will be there to assist these young women?
The first step in giving back is to get involved. Reach out to the local and state organizations you may have represented to see how you can best serve them. The organizations who facilitate rodeo queen pageantry are usually made up entirely of volunteers. During the times that us alumni were serving as queens, there were many people behind the gates working alongside us to make it happen. Now, it is our turn to fill those boots. Our job is not to ride in the arena, but to give these young women a “leg-up” on their future.