Although I was lucky enough to live all over the country when I was little, I am proud to say that Arizona is my home and the little town of Snowflake, is my hometown. Snowflake, Arizona was named for the Snow and the Flake families, not the weather (we can’t make that up). However we do have snow and ice as well as warm sunny days and you can’t forget the wind! Our area has a lot of small, local rodeos, but Arizona is a big state! Home of both The World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott and The World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Payson. I was determined to attend as many as possible this year!
In January I had my coronation Show Low, Arizona. My mom and I left the next morning at 3:00 am, with my new crown and sash and headed for my old hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My first job in rodeo was at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series when I was 6 years old. Dona Vold-Larsen gave me the job of manning the electronic eye during barrel racing. This job included helping to set up the eye and making sure it was on or off as well as picking up items that flew off of barrel racers and their horses. I remember that I had a strict dress code to adhere to in the arena, and I took my job very seriously. I think I realized early that this was not just a hobby, but a way of life.
I was determined to make it to the Cowboy Downhill, a race I had watched as a kid. If you aren’t familiar with this event, any contestant or rodeo queen attending the Denver Stock Show is invited to compete…whether or not you have ever skied before! The first race is a slalom down ‘Headwall’, over the jump, down to the bottom where you have to rope a Denver Bronco’s Cheerleader, saddle a horse and cross the finish line. Sadly, my dream of bringing glory for the rodeo queens fell a bit short when I ‘yard-saled’ after having one of my skis come off at the jump! But the best part of the day was just competing at an event that I attended as a spectator when I was younger. From collecting autographs as a kid to signing them as a competitor.
From Steamboat Springs we drove to Denver, Colorado for the world renowned National Western Stock Show. Aside from helping with the rodeo, running flags and meeting sponsors, she was honored to meet veterans from WWII including Marine Sergeant Jack Thurman, one of the men who served our country at Iwo Jima.
Such an amazing start to the year is really hard to beat! I traveled to Florida for the Kissimmee Silver Spur Rodeo (a few days after attending our Yuma JC’s Silver Spur Rodeo) and spent the next six months traveling the state and the country, attending rodeos nearly every weekend. I celebrated the 4th of July starting in Prescott at the World’s Oldest Rodeo. This PRCA event runs for seven days during the busiest part of the rodeo calendar, so I attended the first two days and then headed back to Navajo County for two of my local rodeos. Then it was four hours of driving back to Prescott for a few more nights of rodeo action before returning to Show Low for their parade. With the help of a Chris LeDoux CD and my trusty copilot (my dog, Mudslinger), I logged over 750 miles that week! What a way to celebrate Cowboy Christmas!
I am so blessed to have shared these adventures with my family, friends and supporters; not just this year, but every year with this sport that has truly shaped who I am. I am excited for the amazing adventures ahead of me, and between rodeo and my family…I am ready for everything!