Rodeo culture is big in America. Various country-wide competitions happen every month, with professional and amateur cowboys and athletes participating in the contests. The sport is so deeply ingrained in American culture that it is the official state sport of Wyoming, Texas, and South Dakota.
But rodeos aren’t simply about roping and tying animals for fun. It was originally a way to showcase the skills needed to herd animals in barns in the 1800s. Today, rodeo has come a long way with competitions involving pole bending, barrel racing, and rodeo queen pageants.
Rodeo Royalty at a Glance
Rodeo Queen Pageantry started in Miss Rodeo America, which was held in 1956. The concept of having one began in 1910 at the Pendleton Round-Up in the state of Oregon. Though at the time, the queen of 1910 presided over the round-up the way a usual pageant queen would, and her activities had little to do with rodeo.
As the rodeo queen culture evolved alongside the sport, responsibilities directly in line with the sport accompanied the crown.
Similar to beauty queens, crowned rodeo queens represent the values and beliefs of the states they hail from. They also have to be skilled at riding, putting athleticism and grace at the forefront of the pageant. Additionally, a lot of the states that actively sponsor and participate in rodeos place importance on the conservative, old world values of the Old West.
Rodeo queens are the ambassadresses of the sport; traveling from one state to another to advocate the history, culture, and sport of rodeo. Besides having queenly attributes and being exceptionally good at riding, rodeo queens need to be adept at public speaking and knowledgeable of the history and culture of the sport itself. They speak for their state and the sport that they represent. They also act as a direct line of communication between the fans of the sport and potential sponsors for future events.
Rodeo royalties keep the tradition of the sport and the Old West alive, making them a crucial aspect of this deeply popular endeavor. By acting as ambassadresses of rodeo, not only do they gain new fans and supporters, but they also meet with sponsors who would provide financing to further the sport.
Rodeo queens reign for, at most, 12 months, wearing a sash, a cowboy hat, and a crown over it; donned in their cowgirl gear of jeans, boots, flannel tops, and their cactus ropes of choice. They attend various rodeo events across the country, parades, public events, school fairs, and interviews.
For the average spectator, rodeos may only be about the cowboys and fierce horses. But for the truly dedicated fans, there is also the rodeo queen.
The life of the rodeo queen is difficult as it is significant to the preservation of the culture of rodeo and the western tradition of life. Riding skills, adequate knowledge in the history and culture of rodeo, as well as the values and traditions upheld by the state they represent are some of the many standards for the next rodeo royalty.