As I mentioned in my last post, I would be meeting with Lauren Graham, Miss Rodeo Texas 2011 who clarified exactly what the duties of being a rodeo queen were. After doing some research and polling of what a general misconception of rodeo royalty was, that rodeo queens can't ride a horse. Lauren was able to explain that horsemanship is worth 1/3 of the entire competition at Miss Rodeo Texas, and that the contestants ride horses they have never ridden before provided by the pageant. Also, she elaborated, that throughout her year of travels as Miss Rodeo Texas, she does not haul her own horse, and therefore must be able and qualified to ride whatever the stock contractor or rodeo committee provides. Needless to say, horsemanship is a necessity.
After asking her about the article in Texas Monthly, as far as how she thought the idea of the cowgirl had evolved and how it correlated to being a rodeo queen, she stated "We all are cowgirls, that is where we start out." She went on to elaborate that she felt the term cowgirl stays true to its original roots from those women who still to this day work the ranches and provide for their families.
And to top it off...She's an Aggie! Whoop!
On monday, I was able to hang out and ride awesome cutting horses with my hero, and rodeo legend, Tooter Waites!
Tooter was the first man to qualify for the NFR and College National Finals in the same year (1971-1972) and was able to explain in my video interview the things that have changed in the tie-down roping since the 1970's to better defend the safety of the animals.
"The calves are much smaller than they used to be" he said, "They don't hit the ground very hard, and the cowboys are not allowed to jerk them down like they used to... and the arena sizes have changed."
Tooter mentioned in the video that the calves are typically only tied once every rodeo and that there are many rules governed by the PRCA to protect them. Over 60, to be exact!
Needless to say, I always have an incredible time with him and I am intrigued by his cowboy stories. His love for his family is radiant, he speaks with honesty. I am so thankful for our friendship!