The Not-So-Simple Life of a Rodeo Queen
You may or may not watch it every year, but we’re all familiar with the Miss America Pageant. Among all the glitz, gowns, and talents of the contestants, it’s no wonder many young girls love tuning in.
The Miss America Pageant, was so popular that the rodeo world embraced the tradition and made their very own version – rodeo queens! Rodeo queens live all across the country, representing their rodeo, region or state. No pressure, huh? We asked our very own 2014 Miss Silver Spurs, Whitney Hopkins, about the Pageant and her year as a rodeo queen.
You might have only seen a beauty pageant on television, but you can watch the Miss Silver Spurs Pageant live in Kissimmee! Every June, young girls and women from Osceola County compete in one of three age divisions: Miss (ages 15-21), Junior Miss (12-14), or Little Miss (9-11). Similar to a beauty pageant, all the divisions will go through an appearance, interview, and speech portion during the Pageant. However, Miss contestants are also required to show their horsemanship skills. While this may sound daunting, there aren’t any crazy tricks per se. This portion requires Miss contestants to (1) learn a set AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) reining pattern that shows their control of the horse in certain moves, and (2) perform a freestyle set to a song of their choice to showcase their personality and skill.
During the appearance portion, the girls are judged on factors such as their posture, suitability of clothing, and photogenic quality. One major difference between the appearance components of beauty and rodeo pageants is the requirement of Western clothing in rodeo pageants.
We’ve heard about the expenses that beauty queen contestants sometimes incur while preparing for a pageant, so we asked the pro herself, how she obtained her outfits. “When I started out, there was a dress I wanted but it was too short and expensive. So as a fashion designer and merchandise graduate, I just made my own dress! During this time, I learned you don’t have to own the most expensive thing to look the part!” Think of it this way: making your own dress scores your personality points with the judges.
The Miss Silver Spurs Pageant is unique because it actually prepares the contestants for the event. Each competitor receives a schedule of meeting times to improve her poise, practice her horsemanship, and learn interview skills.
Although the girls may be competing against each other, many speak highly of the friendships they form throughout the competition. Whitney shared with us, “I started competing when I was nine, and even though I didn’t win Little Miss, I made some awesome long-lasting friendships with the girls.”
Keep in mind that all the things mentioned above are just some of the things the girls prepare for. This doesn’t necessarily represent all the work that comes after you get the title (and the crown).
“If you’re going to compete, you’ve got to plan ahead and be ready to work. I went to school for 20 hours, worked 40 hours at my job, and had to manage to fit in the pageant. There are days that I’m exhausted, but I just look forward to the bigger picture. There are a lot of girls that consider winning, but don’t consider it as another full-time job. So you need to be ready and up for going to all types of events.”
When these girls win the titles of Miss, Junior Miss, or Little Miss, they win more than the crown and glory. They also take on the responsibility of representing Osceola County and the Silver Spurs Rodeo. They need to to be educated on the history of the Silver Spurs Club, knowledgeable about rodeo events, and aware of current events in general.
If you think you (or your daughter!) have what it takes to represent the Silver Spurs and Osceola County, look for an application early each year. Applications cost $85 and are due in February, with the Pageant occurring in June. Or maybe you’re just interested in seeing what it’s all about!
Want to see what the Silver Spurs Rodeo is all about? Check our event schedule to see when our next rodeo is and when tickets go on sale. Between the action-packed rodeo events and the family-fun activities, you won’t want to miss the rodeo when it comes to town!