Why are rodeo queens so important to the sport of rodeo?
They are smart, kind, generous, caring, hard-working, beautiful travelers who always pack their Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, sport a shiny Greeley Hat Works hat, are not afraid to get dirty, and typically they can be spotted at a rodeo. Who are these beautiful ladies? We know them as our rodeo royalty or rodeo queens!
Why do we have rodeo queens? What is their purpose? Or do you think they are just another pretty face wearing a tiara? Learn what their duties entail!
A rodeo queen is considered to be a positive ambassador for the sport of rodeo. “We help to create a direct line of communication and connection from the fans in the stands to rodeo contestants and the livestock. We are rodeo educators.” A rodeo queen’s goal is to create a strong fan connection and help each fan learn something more about the sport of rodeo in hopes to create a lifelong fan. Rodeo queens want you to become a part of our tradition and our family! They want to teach you things like… did you know, in the women’s barrel racing event, they get penalized five additional seconds for every barrel they knock to the ground? Or do you understand in roping what breaking the barrier means? A rodeo queen can answer these questions and more!
The sport of rodeo is complex. It’s not always as easy to understand or oftentimes easy to explain in comparison to things like basketball or football. Rodeo queens can help explain the ins and outs that many times seem confusing to a first-time rodeo fan. They can also teach you some very important history lessons along the way of how the sport evolved from the early 1800’s to what you will see today.
We caught up with Miss Rodeo America Keri Sheffield and asked her about her responsibilities and current job title. As Miss Rodeo America, Keri serves as the official spokesperson of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “I travel 120,000 miles and appear at more than 120 rodeos during the year.” Keri shared, “The people are a huge part of what makes my job so sweet. It’s so cool to get to see how each committee runs their rodeos, and you learn about the history of each committee’s rodeo. You develop lasting relationships with each rodeo committee and their fans. Although the rodeo events are always the same, you see a different rodeo everywhere you go.”
Though these beauties may seem to live a glamorous life, behind the scenes on any given day they can be asked to muck stalls, shave horses, wash horses, saddle horses, and lend a hand to many dirty jobs. After all that, they are held to an appearance standard after the dirty jobs are through. Would you be pretty and pristine after all that? Some pieces of their jobs entail making sure the rodeo runs as smoothly as possible, so that means doing whatever is asked of them by each rodeo committee. That can be wrangling calves, setting barrels, carrying sponsor flags into the arena, and presenting the colors when asked to do so.
In the sport of rodeo, our community partners mean the world to us. Our rodeo traditions wouldn’t be kept alive without the support from our local communities. Rodeo queens help rodeo committees by making appearances in and around the community. They help form relationships with different companies in hopes to create a fan for our sport along the way, signing autographs, taking photos with guests, and having personal conversations with our partners’ customers in hopes to help create new rodeo fans. “We aim to keep the sport alive for years and years to come.”
Miss Rodeo California Amanda Hop shared, “Rodeo Queens are also very involved in their communities, as we are not only a representative for professional rodeo but our state as well. We wholeheartedly volunteer many hours into our local rodeos, youth groups, community outreach, and so many other ways. We truly love what we do and care for the sport of professional rodeo. It is so important to have someone who can be that source of information for the fans, make those connections with the kids, and bring new people to rodeo events. Kids are so vital to connect with because that is our future.”
“Not everyone gets to see the behind the scenes of what it takes to make it a day in our boots. Some days, it requires waking up at 4am to get ready for the day’s appearances. This requires discipline, dedication, and having respect for the role you are in.”
These ladies are not just another pretty face. They are your rodeo ambassadors and people that want to get to know you as friends.
If you haven’t met a rodeo queen in person, next time you attend a rodeo just look for the cowgirls in bling, and don’t be afraid to say hello, snap a photo, or simply ask them questions to learn more about the sport of rodeo. They are always happy to share information on the sport! We hope you’ll come to meet them in Kissimmee at the next RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in March!