Rodeo queens share passion for rodeo life

By Alisa Boswell
aboswell@pntonline.com
The Pioneer Days PRCA Rodeo kicked off Friday night with participants from all over the southwest and Midwest regions.

The rodeo will also be held Saturday and Sunday.

With so many rodeo queens visiting the region for this event, staff members decided to ask rodeo contestants their thoughts on rodeo and why they love doing what they do.

Miss Rodeo America Paige Nicholson, 22, of Lawrence, Mississippi:

Rodeo participants are always passionate about what they do. Where do you feel that passion stems from?

The strength and passion in our culture comes from the fact that rodeo is the only sport that was derived from a daily job. Cowboys are people who love their day job so much that they want to do it as a hobby as well. That kind of passion is not something you find (often). I don’t know anybody else who does what they do for a job and a hobby in one.

Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Lauren Heaton, 23, of Alva, Oklahoma:

Every time you talk to Cowboys and cowgirls, they never seem phased by the risks involved with rodeo. Why do you think that is?

They don’t really consider it because there’s a reason it’s called cowboy tough. The west was won because of cowboys doing their jobs. They don’t think about it because it’s been our western heritage for so long it’s what they know.

We talk about safety a lot at rodeos. This is one of the only professional sports that includes an animal in with it and that adds some risks because that’s two parts that you’re not in complete control of, so you have to always be aware of the environment that you’re in and the animals you’re around.”

What makes you passionate about being a rodeo queen?

I’ve been very blessed. A lot of state and national queens come by this because they saw it and they wanted to; I was born into it. I’m a sixth generation farmer/rancher. I grew up rodeoing.

It’s like anything you love; you want other people to know about it as well and that’s what makes rodeo queens so great, I think.

Miss Rodeo Arizona Taci Shaffer, 23, of Queen Creek, Arizona

So cowgirls get down and dirty just like the cowboys yet they always look so glamorous and dressed up. Why is it so important to include that element?

This is such an awesome subject because it is so controversial in today’s world, because rodeo queens, we’re so traditional and we love to honor the past and that’s just rodeo in general, very traditional. But with that being said, I think (fashion) it’s so important. Fashion is trendy and it’s changing the world, so over the last couple of years, rodeo queens have been changing their style and becoming more trendy and I think that is so important because it attracts the youth and that also brings spectators to the rodeo.

I think rodeo girls are just as tough and can do anything all dressed up and glamorous. I think that’s where we earn our respect is looking beautiful and glamorous but at the same time, a cowgirl that is capable of anything.

Miss Rodeo Montana Laramie Pursley, 22, of Chinook,  Montana

What has been the most rewarding part of being a rodeo queen so far?

The most rewarding part has been the traveling and the meeting of so many great people, in and out of my state of Montana. I never thought I’d get the opportunity and now that I have, it’s just been extraordinary.

Miss Rodeo New Mexico Alexandria Tapia, 22, of Santa Fe:

What kind of enthusiasm do you experience with different communities you visit as a rodeo queen?

It’s really unique with every community you go to how involved they get with the rodeo and honestly, that’s the best thing for us as queens and as contestants coming into a rodeo. Seeing that the community it behind it and that everybody is excited about it, it helps feed your performance and you do so much better because you know people are there to watch you do well.