Rodeo Queens are just like every other mainstream sport with three different seasons; preseason, league, and the post season. We may not be athletic but we are all athletes, training hard for our season, for our finals, and for our career.
It starts off just like every other sport, your years of preparation all come down to the beginning. You’ve trained and practiced. Not just that but you have been selected to be “on the team” and “in the action” meaning that you won your rodeo court title. It’s “Coronation Season,” that mean’s that it’s the time of year that all the titleholders are raising as much money as they possibly can to determine how many rodeos they are going to be able to go to that year.
Coronation’s are kind of like graduation parties; the more you go to the more people will go to yours. It’s like a strange cultural thing; if you drive and pay the ticket for their coronation, then they better drive and pay the ticket for your coronation. See how that works?
Preseason also usually includes a lot of school visits as school is out of session during the summer rodeo season; this provides an amazing opportunity to do rodeo outreach. Not just to schools, but also a prime opportunity to speak at clubs, associations and rotary events getting rodeo, your title, and yourself out there for future opportunities.
League comes around not fast enough and too quickly all at the same time. One second you’re twiddling your thumbs, itching to be on your horse going fast, and the next you’re being sunburnt by that too big metal necklace hanging around your neck in a hundred degree rodeo arena. League is rodeo season. League includes the craziest week of your life: Cowboy Christmas.
For some crazy reason everyone in rodeo expects every contestant and every rodeo queen to be at 10 different performances in 4 days during Cowboy Christmas. What’s even crazier is that every rodeo director, queen director, and sponsor expects the rodeo queen to also be at an additional 6 luncheons, 4 parades and numerous other places all at one time. It kind of makes us wish we had Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner necklace! (#nerdalert)
League is a lot of fun. It’s where rodeo queens are most comfortable. Yes, we love spreading the news of rodeo, agriculture and the western way of life, but most of us are at home on the back of our horse. Working in the arena, being involved, and getting the opportunity to further our sport is why we do this!
League is only great though because of the preseason. Just like in any sport, preseason provides us an opportunity to find our weaknesses, to work on them, to get help. It allows us the opportunity to network, make new friends, and create a strong network on how to be the best ambassadors that we can be once league comes because that’s where the most press is going to happen. Other sports aren’t necessarily happening during rodeo league because college is out and there isn’t summer college sports. We do compete with other professional sports, but to a sports fan base like America’s, that’s accustomed to paying attention to up to 5 leagues at once, we gain some of that national attention. We must be on our A-Game so that we don’t end up on #SportsCenterNotTop10.
Like any post season it’s bittersweet. It’s been a great run but now it’s time for the pageant… to hand off your crown. That can be a hard thing to do. The year goes by so fast, just like it does in sports, and you don’t want to hand off the crown, but you do want to take a moment and recuperate from all the rigors of the season.
Unlike most sports you have a full year season, while at the same time you aren’t necessarily competing every single year.
The post season includes your association’s finals, the championships, the best in the business, and hopefully you are there! Regardless of if you have limited exposure in the arena, this is a wonderful opportunity to prepare yourself for future titles and future ambassadorship. Networking is the stat line for your year, make sure that you make your stats count. The number of personal relationships you gain, business relationships formed and career opportunities created are the equivalent of extra points, RBI’s, and your field goal percentage in sports.
OTHER SPORTS LESSONS FOR RODEO QUEENS
What makes a phenomenal athlete? Not his or hers athleticism, it comes down to their brain. Eighty percent of sports are mental and this is true in rodeo queening. Yes, there is a lot of pressure put on one’s image but that is unnecessary, especially in rodeo queening, because in today’s day and age of social media, your ability to showcase your unique ability gives you a whole new platform.
BE SMARTER. What does this mean? It means that you prepare, you are constantly learning, and you are always humble. Play the game smarter and then you won’t have to work as hard; be an athlete not athletic.
Another thing that separates the rookies from the veterans? EXPERIENCE. Never get complacent being just yourself. Take it to the next level. When extreme or absurd situations happen rookies tend to choke, to panic, and to lose control of their emotions. On the other hand are the veterans, who have control of their emotions (think of the John Wooden Pyramid of Success) and whose flexibility in these impromptu and strange situations are beyond impressive. Think of the confidence and self-assuredness they always carry with them. They may not always know what is happening but they are secure enough within themselves to tell you that they don’t know the answer or what to do but you better bet that they have networked enough to have someone they can call and ask.
There are some life lessons that we learn through sports that we can apply to a multitude of levels in our lives, especially with our role as rodeo ambassadors. We may not be athletic but we are all athletes, training hard for our season, for our finals, and for our career.
Katie Schrock is the 2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon and former Oregon State Women’s basketball player. Her mission is to spread the message of “Unmoldable” meaning to be the best YOU that YOU can be. Unmoldable is a word about finding and defining yourself as a unique individual, breaking the current mold or stereotype, and being comfortable in your own skin.