When I walked into Lumberton NC’s Southeastern Agricultural Center on January 30th, I saw a stage by the arena and busy people working hard to ensure that the Miss Rodeo North Carolina‘s first pageant was going to be a success.
I found Lindsey Harper Willis, and the wonder woman behind the scenes who put on this event, and she was SO welcoming and sweet. I love meeting new horse people, but meeting new horse people who are trying to make a difference in others lives can be even more amazing! And that is exactly the type of amazing person Lindsey is!
Lindsey wanted to compete in Miss Rodeo America, but NC had no pageant or program at the time. So Lindsey went up to Virginia and won her title there. Being the person who wants to make a difference in other’s lives, Lindsey went through the process to become certified as the Miss Rodeo North Carolina National Director so that she may start NC’s Miss Rodeo program.
Lindsey told me how awesome it was to be able to help start a program for young cowgirls and encourage them in the sport of rodeo. She hopes that by starting them young that they will be seasoned competitors by the time they are ready to take on Miss Rodeo America. She created a positive, upbeat, and inspiring pageant and it was easy to see the fun those girls were having throughout the day.
We finally got started on that stunning North Carolina afternoon, and there were a few visitors! Miss Southern Horse Festival, Bailey Foote was there as well as Little Miss Leland Belville!
The contestants were then brought out for their introductions. I loved their confidence and stage presence! Visiting and helping out with the pageant was Miss Rodeo South Carolina Kayla Caudle and Miss Rodeo Virginia Jane Revercomb.
Competing for Miss Rodeo NC was Megan Batten. Amber Jones and Mina Greenlea competed for Miss Teen Rodeo.
Two ladies competed for Junior Miss Rodeo, Jaydan Roberson and Emily Eatmon. We had three sweethearts, Hannah Banks, Julie Ford, and Alicia Messer.
After introductions, each contestant gave a short answer to unique questions. Some of them were asked what Disney character they are most similar to, or what superpower they would have if they could choose, or what song best described their life. It was a great ice breaker!
I loved Amber’s answer to the question, “If you could pick any celebrity to play you in a movie, who would you choose?”. After a long pause, she said that she didn’t know because she doesn’t watch movies because she is always outside with her horse! Haha it got lots of laughs!
Mina’s outfit stood out to me the most! I loooooved the fringe! What is more cowgirl than fringe and boots? 😉
Emily was thinking hard about the perfect answer! She did great!
Jayden talked about how if she could pick any animal, she would be a horse. I would too Jayden!
And the sweethearts. Oh goodness, they were so darn cute.
The three judges! Their job had to have been so hard! SO many close calls!
The sweethearts and juniors were dismissed, and the teens and misses prepared for a 2 minute speech on an impromptu topic!
Isn’t Jane’s outfit absolutely amazing?! She looked so poised!
Kayla gave a fantastic answer to the speech prompt, talking about how rodeo is America’s family sport and she would present it to advertisers and sponsors that way.
Each contestant gave out amazingly well thought out answers. I loved how Megan remained so cool and collected on stage! She makes it look so easy!
The teens gave just as great answers as the older ladies! I was very impressed!
Up next was my favorite part, horsemanship! I was so excited to see the horses that the contestants would be riding on.
First up was the juniors! They had to do a lap with the flag, and then do a lap doing their queen wave. Both girls did fantastic!
Emily remained so collected and poised during her ride! For being so little, she did a great job at the jog!
Emily spiced it up and loped her horse during her horsemanship round. She did great too! Such a close call!
Next were the teen’s turns. They had to complete a reining pattern on their horses.
Amber made it look so easy! They were consistent and flawless throughout the entire pattern.
Although Mina’s horse was giving her problems, she stayed so cool and collected. It goes to show how great of a horsewoman she is to be able to make her horse do what it needs to, even if it doesn’t want to!
Megan was great! I was shocked when she told me she had a saddlebred background! I would have thought she rode western her entire life!
Kayla and Jane both rode the same horse. They had never been on it before and were practicing for Miss Rodeo America, where they are given a horse the day of and have to compete on it! How crazy is that! I love how it really tests the rider’s abilities!
This horse started giving Jane a fit! You can see it crow hopping a bit and starting to get unruly! But look how chill Jane looks!
Haha this isn’t the most “proper” horse photo, but I loved how she looked like she was smiling too!
Fantastic rides ladies!!
Up next the teens and Misses rode their queen laps!
You could tell Amber was a barrel racer because she left the gates in the dust!
These cowgirls were moving so fast they almost lost their hats!
Emily helped fill in the gap between changing horses!
Haha loved this shot of Emily!
And we are onto coronation! So exciting!! <3
I loved seeing the contestants being so close with each other. You could tell they developed some pretty amazing friendships! The closest by far was Emily and Jayden!
Oh goodness. These sweethearts are too cute for words.
Next we had individual awards! Hannah won best dressed, Amber won best in horsemanship, and Megan won best personality!
We had a three way tie for the sweethearts!
Emily won Junior Miss Rodeo NC, and Jayden was 1st runner up!
Amber was named Miss Teen Rodeo NC, and Mina was 1st runner up!
And our 2016 Miss Rodeo North Carolina is Megan!
Here is your Miss Rodeo NC Court!
Miss Rodeo North Carolina, Miss Rodeo Virginia, and Miss Rodeo South Carolina!
And I had to get one with Megan too! She is so dang sweet and kind! Congrats to all the ladies and I look forward to working with ya’ll again on your Equine Sessions!
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