So everyone has their favorites, from Babe Ruth to George Morris, every sport has hall of famers that truly change the game. Rodeo queens are no exception, but for me the greats are not just best of the best, or those with the most saddles come age 26 (cause our careers have a ticking clock); instead those I label great are the girls who have gone on to make an impact, in my life and others. Thought I could pick hundreds that I look up to and hope to emulate, that list would be a little too long. So without further ado here are my top 5 favorites!
2012 Miss Rodeo USA
Now that I have had the amazing opportunity to meet her, I know that my long love for this woman is completely spot on. Not only did she secure the coveted Miss Rodeo USA title, but this cowgirl is a role model for girls everywhere. She has been a member of the South Dakota National Guard, letter earner for the South Dakota State University Equestrian team, and flag girl for the National Finals rodeo. She has not one, but two degrees and continues to be an amazing example of a true cowgirl!
2009 Miss Rodeo CaliforniaMiss Ashley was one of the first women I worked with when I decided to jump head long into queening. She is truly a beautiful and stunning woman when you meet her, and her resume shows there is more than just beauty there. As a queen she represented the prestigious Clovis Rodeo, rode for the Stanford Equestrian team, won California and went on to be written test winner at MRA. Since queening she has graduated from Stanford, completed her law degree gotten married and taken the bar exam, all in a few short years.
Just like her sister Jenna is one of the most inspiring rodeo queens ever! She was named photogenic at the MRA pageant for 2014, but her accomplishments begin long before then. At 18 she joined the Air National Guard, competed on her college’s equestrian team, served two tours in the Middle East, and since giving up her title continues her term with her guard unit while touring as part of the Wrangler National Patriot tour promoting the western heritage as well as our country’s finest. If that’s not enough in her free time she models for the well known brand Ranch Dress’n, and is making her start on the WPRA circuit in barrels!
2008 Miss Rodeo Nevada
This girl has become one of my best friends and idols since joining the queen world. The moment I met her as a judge for my Motherlode pageant I instantly respected her firm handshake and fabulous personality. A few weeks after the pageant I asked her to have dinner with me, I was greeted like an old friend, I knew then that I had made a lifelong connection. Though originally hailing from California she found her way to the desert and was crowned Miss Rodeo Nevada where she went on to receive honors at MRA including winning written test (us Cali girls are smarties, don’t let the good looks fool you!). Since hanging up her chaps she completed a bachelors, worked her way up to the top in her field at work, gives her time to support rodeo and kicks ass in the reining horse pen.
My mommy (Jackie Ryan/Freeman)
1979 Miss Rodeo Fresno
Well since she gave me life and all she kinda ranks high on the list. But aside from that she is pretty rad. In college she first competed for her university’s pageant where she met a handsome (ok awkward tall and gangly) cowboy. But she didn’t let a cute pair of Wranglers stand in her way, she went on to participate in GNR and finally receive the Miss Rodeo Fresno title. After that she made her way to Miss Rodeo California, where she was first runner up, mind you back then there were a LOT more girls queening. After she put aside her sparkles she got married to that cowboy whose first date was cleaning tack for a rodeo pageant, trained horses receiving multiple world champion honors, had a fabulous daughter, and completed a second college degree.