The Journey to Second Place

Being in first was always the goal.

Being in control was also the goal.

I had very strict rules… in fact I would be lying if I said that I didn’t still have a lot of rules for myself that I am constantly reminding myself of.

Then one day I had the realization that my journey to be first was obsolete; I had no choice of being first and that option was never going to happen.

That was a cold and shocking day.

It was the day that I realized that playing college basketball, my one big goal of my entire childhood, was never going to happen. That’s a really hard day for anyone to have to endure.

I didn’t understand WHY! That was the biggest thing.

The first year of not playing basketball was really hard. I cried. A lot. Most people don’t know this, not even those who were the closest to me. They knew that deep down I was hurting and that I wasn’t myself in the day-to-day BUT I lived life with an aching feeling around my heart.


I come from a family who has never gone to church. I remember when I was working on a genealogy project in middle school and I asked my dad about any family traditions and my dad dryly replied, “Not going to church.”

I first became interested in who this “God” person was when I was in the 2nd grade. Blessed with an older sister, Nicole, who had taught me to read from a very early age I quickly became a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So much so that I was in her “Fan Club” group where I would receive not only the books but projects and more every month that I could work on.

One thing that I quickly noticed was the prevalence of God in Laura’s life. It was in everything they discussed; every good thing and every bad thing. She said her prayers at night and she said her prayers before she ate. She thanked God every day for everything that she had.

As a young child this became impressed on me and I wanted to know more so, with the help of my mom and my good friend Stacey, I went to my first Sunday school. I was so scared, so nervous, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Right before I walked in the door I was caught off guard because Stacey’s mom grabbed my hands and said a prayer for me, thanking God that I was there and asking him to watch out for me.

That year my grandmother got me my first bible; A Young Woman of Faith Bible. It guided me through my middle and high school years; giving me the guidance that was lacking in day-to-day school activities.


Fast forward to college and I started going to a local church with my roommate and dear friend Marz (nickname for Marissa). I was surprised about how directly everything the pastor said connected to my life at that EXACT moment. But with college basketball I had games on Sundays and my energy level to go to church dropped after just a few times going.

After I thought my career in basketball was over I prayed every night that if there was a God, He would find a way for me to play basketball once again. Then it happened; my friend Megan thought that I could transfer to her college team. It wasn’t the level that I wanted to play at but at that point it didn’t matter, I just wanted to play ball.

Megan played at a religious school, something I wasn’t against, in fact it made me excited to learn more about God. I went to a practice to talk to the coach and after the practice I was caught off guard when I was invited to go to there team meeting. I watched as these girls all shared their toils of the day and prayed together. The relationship level and depth of camaraderie between these teammates was like nothing that I had ever seen before. I couldn’t wait to join.

Ten minutes later… I found out that it was impossible and that it wasn’t going to happen.

Keeping my head held as high as possible I went home, keeping a straight face for my roommates before crying my heart out in a shower I only needed for emotional reasons.

I never doubted God’s existence but that night was the first and hopefully the last and only time that I told God that He was not the kind of person that I wanted to follow. He was a terrible being, a horrible Father and so many more things.

I don’t regret that I said or thought those things. I learned more about myself because of that.

The next morning, within 40 minutes of waking up, I found out that my great grandma had passed away. She was tired of life and wanted to be with my great grandpa in heaven. I rushed home knowing my mom would need me.

That night I was at my absolute lowest. I hadn’t said good bye to my great grandmother. I was never going to play competitive basketball again.

I went online to Twitter; social media was something that I had turned too to distract myself. Eight time world champion Fred Whitfield had tweeted something along the lines of, “If your greatest dream doesn’t happen. Don’t worry. God has something better planned.”


It caused me to think, which is what God and the bible does for you.


I realized that maybe, just maybe, I had been going about things totally wrong. So I did what I did best; I wrote about it. I boiled down my hopes and goals to what they were on the most basic level; I took away anything and everything that basketball had to do with it.

Then I looked for ways to apply those hopes and goals to something different; that something different was being a state ambassador for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. It was being, dare I say it, a rodeo queen?


You see my big sister had been a perpetual rodeo queen. She was a REALLY GOOD rodeo queen to be 100% accurate! She was 2010 Miss Northwest Professional Rodeo Association, 2013 Miss Rodeo Oregon and the Second Runner Up 2014 Miss Rodeo America amongst various other titles and accolades.

I had never considered becoming anything like a rodeo queen before because, well the list was long: I wasn’t pretty enough, I was a better rider than that, and so many more excuses I think of.


The scariest thing about deciding to make the positive change in your life to dedicate yourself to your religion is making that first step. The first day that I went to church at Grace City in Corvallis I was so overwhelmed with what Pastor Seth was talking about that I was considering the most polite way to just get up in leave.

That’s when he stopped the sermon.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I just feel like this is a little too dry for today. I want to tell you all a story..”

Pastor Seth continued to tell the story of how he had played College Football, at the same University that I had played basketball. He talked about all of the things that he did right and what he thought everyone else did “wrong” and, at the end of the day, he was still the one that wasn’t getting any playing time.

It was everything that I could relate with. It was everything that I was thinking.

It was that day that changed my life.

I wanted to learn more so I turned to what every kid these days knows best; Social Media. I found a movement called “I Am Second“. I watched videos of the Robertson family and of Trevor Brazile, the King of the Cowboys. There were people from all walks of life but they were people with stories that I could RELATE too!

There were hashtags I could follow and stories I could read. I downloaded the app and was excited to learn from the comfort of home. My I Am Second Daily Reader provoked lots of thoughts and questions. I didn’t read everyday, I just opened it up randomly when I needed it and it was encouraging. My goal for 2016 religiously is to continue to grow and learn because I do have a long ways to go in what I want to know when it comes to God and Jesus. In order to do so in 2016 I will be writing in my journal dubbed, “365 Cowgirl Letters to God” in which I hope to learn and grow.


In October of 2015 I got to go the Shiloh Ranch Cowboy Church in Powells Butte, Oregon. It was my first time going to a cowboy church and, for those of you unfamiliar with Lacey Weaver’s Shiloh Ranch, you should look them up. I was amazing and inspired by their 1017 Project; built to help local communities and families in need by raising beef cattle.

It really made me wonder. I used to think that it was okay to just do my own thing, think my own good thoughts, and apply them to my own life. It wasn’t though. God wants us to take care of those around us. That was something that I needed to do more of, to work harder at. Not just that but Lacey talked about how we need to trust in God and not to always have an insurance back up plan because we need to have our faith in God and know that, no matter what, everything is going to work out okay.


This was the start in my journey to be the 2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon.


After all that… I am VERY excited to announce that today I officially signed the licensing contract agreements with E3 Partners Ministries to use the “I Am Second” logo on a pair of rodeo queen chaps.

I Am Second represents a big part of why I am where I am at today. I hope that throughout the next year and the rest of my life, that I can inspire at least one person in the way that they have inspired me. I am also fortunate enough to be receiving “I Am Second” wristbands to be given away throughout my year to continue spreading the message.

This weekend, the hide for my “I Am Second” chaps will be going to my trustee chap maker. My hopes and goals for these chaps is that with the removable patch of “2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon” on the bottom I will be able, with a board of directors, to analyze applications from young woman across the country and then the legacy of these chaps will continue on throughout the years. Continuing to spread the word on how to put Jesus first in the land of cowgirls!


If you, your company, your church, organization, or club is interested in being a part of the sponsorship of the cost of making the “I Am Second” chaps, contact me today at You, your group or company will be featured in my video on my 2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon chap line-up that will air in March of 2016.



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