Monday, May 30, 2011

The Future: Princesses and the Texas Jr. High Rodeo Association State Finals

Phew! Just got home from where the best of the best middle school age rodeo contestants have begun their quest in winning that state championship gold buckle.

After having the privilege of judging the state Junior High Rodeo Princess Pageant, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to challenge the misconception that "Rodeo is a dying sport". After the judging was done, I was also able to gather some information from the girls who are facing challenges among their peers who are not rodeo contestants. They all agreed that sometimes in school, their friends might express that rodeo is just not a so called "cool" sport. This allowed me to question the girls further in having them define their roles as Princesses, since it is a common misconception that the pageant side of rodeo are simply girls with nothing more than a pretty face.

Before the crowning of the new TJHRA Princess, I was able to visit with the contestants and see what their take was on the notion that rodeo is a dying sport. All of the girls seemed floored when I asked the question, and defended it tooth and nail. Dakota, the Region 10 Princess pointed to the door and said "Just look at the line to get in, there are so many people here to see!" The girls were right, the stands immediately filled up.

Most of the girls explained that only one, if not both of their parents had not been extremely involved in the sport prior. This was proof that the sport is growing and has future with new faces.

Below are the contestants, along with the 2010 Miss Rodeo Texas Princess, Kennady Johnson and Miss THJRA Princess, Sissy Winn

The young ladies explained that their role as Princesses was to spread awareness of the sport to encourage other young people to get involved. This drew a picture, that the foundation of the sport starts at the youth level.

The selection of the princess is divided into the following categories: Speech, Modeling, Interview, Impromptu, Appearance, Horsemanship, Test and Congeniality. Talk about a lot to know for middle schoolers.

The contestants nervously awaiting the results.

And your new Miss TJHRA Princess is... Whitlee Reed!

Making her first "Princess Run" at the first performance of the finals

After the awards ceremony I was able to get a video interview of Whitlee and talk to her about what it took to earn the title and her duties would be for the year. She was so anxious to get started! She explained that it took a lot of hard work and studying, much more than most people think. She told me she was excited to speak at schools and get other kids her age excited about the sport.
This little cowgirl was beaming with joy, ready to show the world what the sport she lives and breathes for is all about. I must say, all of the contestants were much, much more than just a Pretty Face.

I'd like to say a special thanks to the Graham family for allowing me to interview the girls after the pageant!

I will follow up this post with interviews from the Miss Texas High School Rodeo as well as Miss Rodeo Texas regarding the royalty of rodeo. 

Happy Trails!

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