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Lady - in - Waiting Coronation Celebration National Western Stock Show and Rodeo South Dakota
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Illinois Agricultural Day Illinois Horse Fair Iowa Clinic Jackson County Pro Rodeo
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Read Cassandra's blog.

 This year I was very blessed to visit our neighboring state of Iowa, and home of Kara Telfer a few times! I first visited Iowa for the Miss Rodeo Iowa Clinic where Katie Perry and I took part in the clinic, with many other girls whom where getting ready to compete in many different pageants.  We went over speech, answering impromptus, modeling, test taking, clothing, and pageant photo taking along with many other subjects. I was very happy with the Iowa Clinic and feel like I learned a lot and Katie is better prepared to compete for Miss Rodeo Illinois. My second visit was for the Jackson County Pro Rodeo I was very excited to take part in this rodeo as many of my family members and friends visit this rodeo each year. While in Jackson County I stayed with my God Parents and had such a blast, we visited some of the local businesses, and met many of their friends. Each night at the rodeo Kara, Paige Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa, and I all signed autographs before the performance. As well as took pictures with the kids and rodeo enthusiasts with the clown and bullfighters. Kara and I also carried sponsor flags as well as doing a queens lap each night, helped with mutton bustin, then spent the rest of the evening mingling with rodeo goers and fans. My third visit was Tri-State Rodeo in Ft. Madison Iowa this rodeo has been a family tradition for my family and I for years. I was so excited to ride in the grand entry, run sponsor flags, do my queens lap, clear the arena, ride in the parade, and sign autographs here. While in Ft. Madison I not only participated in the rodeo and rodeo events, but also the Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant. The Miss Rodeo Iowa, and Teen Rodeo Iowa Contestants such a great job and were all very deserving of the crown. Congratulations Miss Rodeo Iowa Lady in waiting Suzy Fife, and Miss Teen Rodeo Carlee Kelly I can’t wait to watch both of your years transforms, make the best of everyday and keep smiling!

 Home of the Ram National Circuit Finals and none other than Rachel Bergerns home State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City was truly a one of a kind trip as my father Jerry accompanied myself on the 14 hour drive! Upon arriving at the hotel I had just enough time to find my room with Holly and Sam, change clothes and head to our introductory meeting and brunch. Where we were greeted with some truly amazing volunteers, chaperones, and goodie bags. Then it was off to the States Capitol on a pretty awesome party bus, where all of us Rodeo Queens recorded the one and only “Miss Rodeo America Harlem Shake”. Which can be found on YouTube, and to completely honest that was truly just the begging. We visited the National Cowboys Heritage Museum, picked and practiced on our rodeo horses, had a skeet shoot against the cowboys, helped with pre-rodeo events such as mutton busting and riding the bull in the fan zoned, signed autographs, ate at Toby Keith’s Bar, had a soda at Pop’s, and of course shopped till we dropped! All while balancing sleep, meetings, practices, and of course the event we all came to see The Circuit Finals Rodeo. Needless to say it was a one of a kind week and I’m truly blessed to have been able to share it with my dad and so many other amazing young women. I was very grateful to see so many familiar faces that I did not expect to see as well. A huge thank you to the Kinsey, Owen and Adamson families, it was so great to hear people cheer and call out my name as I rode by. So far this year has been a total success, and I cannot thank the wonderful people who have helped me along the way enough.

 Colorado’s Pikes Peak Rodeo was a truly an amazing time, and I think everyone whom attended would agree. I started out the weekend by picking up Kara Telfer Miss Rodeo Iowa and we hit the road for Colorado Springs! Needless to say Kara and I were very excited to see the mountains as we neared the hotel after our 14 and a half hour drive. After a night of sleep and some much needed recovery time. We started out the first day by riding in a wagon during the parade in town, where we throw out candy, and got some pretty sweet chick fillet paper hats. We then started one of the many assisted living facility visits set up by the Western Horseman where we read to the residents, signed autographs, spoke about ourselves and rodeo, and quite often sang... Each night at the rodeo we handed out day sheets as rodeo goers entered the rodeo grounds and handed out tough enough to wear pink wristbands or that nights gift. We took part in the nightly old west shoot out, preliminaries for the nightly Mutton Bustin, and in the kids corner we taught kids to rope and run barrels. We also helped with the Mutton Bustin performance each night were we all picked a cowgirl or cowboy and helped them get ready, pumped them up, went over the rules, and helped make up victory dances, then handed out trophies! At the end of each performance we signed autographs, took pictures with fans, and normally went and got something to eat. While the rodeo itself was a ton of fun we all got to visit Pikes Peak by riding the Cog Railway, and once at the top some Illinois natives made me a “good luck” Pikes Peak Penny, this was awesome and really made my day! But this was not the only trip we made we also paid a visit to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Air Force Academy where we toured the many churches, the museum and store, and some of the many beautiful views of the academy. While in Colorado Springs many of us State Title Holders stayed for the Miss Rodeo America Clinic. Where we had our Wrangler fitting for the Wrangler outfits we will wear in Los Vegas, and went over pretty much every category we will participate in while competing for Miss Rodeo America this winter. As well as taking part in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Introductions, guided tours the Hall of Fame, and met many influential members of the PRCA. Needless to say our trip to Colorado was loads of fun, very educational, and a once in a lifetime opportunity! 

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Illinois Horse Fair in Springfield March 1st through the 3rd was a huge success! I started out my Friday morning by walking around and talking to vendors, meeting new people, and catching up with friends. I signed quite a few autographs and copies of The Arena News as I was featured on the front of this month’s issue.  I helped Jeannette and Myla set up for the youth program activities, then headed to my first seminar. This particular seminar was given to help better prepare the ladies who were running for the Illinois Horse Fair Queen and Princess titles. There were many different speakers during this seminar I spoke about appearance and presents, as well as modeling and gave a short demonstration. Soon after everything wrapped up I was off to the Shop Creek Cattle Company Ranch Rodeo, where I was announced as Miss Rodeo Illinois. I walked the crowd getting to know people and helped answer questions about the rules of the rodeo and each event. I ended the evening with a relaxing dinner with Jeannette Hull, as we discussed things we would be doing the next day at the Horse Fair. Saturday was a very busy day as the Illinois Horse Fair Pageant began, and the first day of the first ever youth program was buzzing with children! Mikhayla DeMott Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois and I helped the pageant contestants prepare for their interviews in the morning! By answering any questions, showing the girls how to sit, and helping get rid of any last minute jitters as best as we could. Mikhayla and I timed each interview and introduced the girls at they entered the first part of the competition. As the pageant contestants made their way to the horsemanship arena Mikhayla, Anni Ibberson Illinois Jr. Rodeo Princess and I made our way to our first official autograph signing together. We had a lot of fun talking and getting to know each other as well as the kids whom wanted autographs as well. We took quite a few photos with anxious fans and maybe found a few new Jr. and High School rodeo members! Once our autographs session wrapped up we moved over to the youth program where we helped teach the kids how to make a rope halter, and answered horse and rodeo related questions. As the evening started to slow down for Mikhayla and I it was just beginning for the Illinois Horse Fair pageant contestants, as they prepared for coronation. I am pleased to announce we have two beautiful and talented young ladies representing our Illinois Horse Fair this year! Our 2013 Miss Illinois Horse fair Queen Virginia Smith, and 2013 Jr. Miss Illinois Horse fair Karisa Clark. After the coronation we headed over to the second night of the Shop Creek Cattle Company Ranch Rodeo where all of the contestants and royalty were announced.  Mikhayla and I sold 50/50 raffle tickets during the rodeo and didn’t quite make it all around the coliseum before we had to draw. We had a large pot to give away and a very happy young lady who won half. Sunday started out a little slow but ended up being a great day! Robin, Rosemary, Mikhayla, and I held the State Title Holder Seminar, talking about the differences between a state and county pageant. Such as how to prepare for a state pageant, how to take a great photo, horsemanship, qualifications for the Miss Rodeo Illinois Pageant, and some of the fun things you get to do as a State Title Holder. I spent the rest of my day getting to know the vender, the Horseman Council, IQHA members, and many clinicians! I would like to send out a huge Thank You to the Horsemen’s Council for inviting me to represent the state of Illinois at this years Illinois Horse Fair. Pam Sigler for asking Mikhayla and Myself to help with the Horse Fair Queen Pageant, we both had a great time meeting all the beautiful contestants, and are very proud of all of them. Myla and Jeannette for inviting me to help with the youth program, and keeping me busy all weekend. Rosemary Cooper of Prairie Photo Studio for volunteering her time to come take photos for the pageant and myself, and Ed of the IQHA for taking some great pictures throughout the weekend as well! Thank you Jim and Cindy Meldrum for featuring me on the front of your magazine The Arena News this month, taking tons of pictures, and helping me all weekend. And most of all thank you Mikhayla DeMott for all your help and keeping me company, as well as the Miss Rodeo Illinois Bored and Directors your help, advice, and insight throughout the weekend is greatly appreciated.

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I loved the Sunshine State home of Miss Rodeo Florida Jenna Smeenk! Thank you Laura Kessler and the Silver Spurs Fair and Rodeo, for inviting all of us State title holders to your pageant and rodeo, in beautiful sunny Kissimmee Florida. Holly Kennedy and I housed together at the Diamond S Ranch Home of Clint, Dee, and Baily Simpson of St. Could Florida. Holly nor I could have asked for a better host, and we want to extend our thanks to the Simpson Family. As well enjoyed the hospitality, and warm southern comfort received at your home, and we hope to see you again. We started out our stay with a calm night of getting to know our host family, about their ranch and way of life. The next morning all of us girls met at our first Florida school visit! Holly, Nicole Schrock Miss Rodeo Oregon, and I appeared on the St. Cloud Elementary School morning news, talking about the rodeo and inviting them all the come out and see us! All of us title holders had so much fun talking with the kids explaining rodeo, our equipment, and each event! We continued the school visits throughout the week and the kids and questions just kept getting better and better. One of the last schools we visited all the students drew a horse and colored it, and asked three questions they had. The students then picked a Queen and spent their last ten minutes with us asking their questions and getting to know us. My students name was Sam we talked about why she made her horse a palomino. I asked her how she knew I had long blonde hair, and why she drew pink and green chaps on her Queen? Turns out pink and green are her favorite colors as well she was such a sweetheart. Each day after our school visit we would do something fun, the first place we went was the Silver Spurs Pageant! Here we got introduced and walked the stage, they had a beautiful pageant that was very upbeat and fun. We met all the contestants before they started and enjoyed their enthusiasm as they left to begin the judging process. The next place we visited was Gator Land! Nicole and I buddied up and took off watching shows and looking at all the gators big and small they had them all. I found it funny how the turtles and birds would sit on the gators backs and just float around. We took a picture holding a baby gator and on the back of a large gator as well. We also got to tour the Osceola County Sheriffs Office and meet a beautiful young German Shepherd learning to be a drug dog! We received sheriffs pins while there so watch out, as well as coins with Florida’s seal! The next afternoon we spent at Fat Boys signing autographs and enjoying so good fried cooking, and a gator show. That night we went air boating although it was only 45 degrees out and raining! Despite the weather we did see quite a few gators, and learned a lot about the lake, and why there were cows in it. My favorite part of the trip was Lake X which in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office! We went on a boat ride around the lake located on the 10,000 acres privately owned and preserved. Took a nature hike where we saw snakes native to Florida, more gators, deer, and turkeys! We had a delicious lunch prepared by Laura, Tim Fuller, and a few other blessed helping hands. After lunch we worked on team building skills on the islands, and the balancing bridge. I must say my favorite part was many others least, I loved everything that had to do with heights. Climbing the rock walls and zip lining down, climbing the pole, walking across the blank, and being horizontal with the sky as I lay backwards then hang upside down. Thank you Osceola Deputies for making this day possible for all of as we had an amazing time! What would a trip to Florida be without seeing a beach and the ocean? We headed off to Cocoa Beach for a relaxing day in the sun! While many of the girls laid out Sam, Holly, and I enjoyed swimming and finding sea shells! Tim rented boogie boards and we all got a taste of the surf, while spotting dolphins, and writing in the sand. We finished out our beach day by taking group photos, and that infamous picture of everyone jumping in front of the water. The next few nights we spend at the Silver Spurs rodeo, where we were introduced on horseback my horse Paco new just what he was doing. After each performance we handed out rodeo survey cards, as well as sold raffle tickets and signed autographs! Saturday night I sold the winning 50/50 raffle ticket, the winners found me and asked for an autograph and picture, as they use to live in Illinois! Kissimmee was a ton of fun and I hope to return again someday! Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip possible, and congratulations to my host sister Baily on winning reserve with her Calf this year at fair. You go girl keep up the good work!

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The last week in January carried me to Kristina Maddocks home State! The Mount Rushmore State of South Dakota for the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in Rapid City. I had a blast on this trip and it all started during my layover in Denver on my way there! After arriving in Denver Dakota Skellenger Miss Rodeo California flew in seconds after I did and was on the same connecting flight as me! As matter of fact her seat was right next to mine. Our two hour layover and flight flew by as we talked about future travel plans and all the fun we have been having since January first. Once we landed in Rapid City Kristina picked us up and dropped us off at our Hotel Dakota, Sam Chytka Miss Rodeo Nebraska, and I  all roomed together. A huge thank you to the Holiday Inn Express for housing all of us State Title Holders while in South Dakota! I had a blast talking with your staff and eating cookies each night after returning from the rodeo!  We all touched up our makeup, got a bite to eat, and we were off and running for the first night of the Rodeo! I was appointed Timmy as my horse for the week, he is a first year flag horse for Sutton Rodeo, and we got along great! After a full night of running sponsor flags we headed back to our rooms for the evening, and found our room conjoining with three other State Queens and the fun began. The next few days we had fun swapping clothes and jewelry for the upcoming appearances while in South Dakota. We were joined by the Stock Show and Rodeo Queen Gina Jespersen, as well as other South Dakota Royalty for autograph signings each day, and sponsor flag runs. All of us girls had a blast with Dave the announcer while in the Rodeo Zone! The last day we all received a personalized autograph from the one and only Cowboy Dave something I will treasure forever. While in South Dakota we made many appearances such as the Black Hills Stock Show Banquet and Ball. It was here that we all wore our beautiful gowns and helped with the live auction by showcasing the item that was up for bid. I had a ton of fun talking to all the scholarship recipients, learning about their lifestyles and different areas of South Dakota where they lived. I was amazed by their passion for agriculture, the many ways they planned to teach our youth, and spread the word of our western life styles and heritage. Our trip to Mount Rushmore was one of a kind I have been there many times but never like this! Dakota who had never seen snow was in love as there was quite a bit on the mountain. We all took picture next to our State Flags and Plaques, Illinois 21st state admitted to union in 1818. Then all 10 of us climbed the wall to stand in front of Mount Rushmore. After taking many pictures we headed down stairs to watch a short movie on how the sculpture was created, and the craftsmanship that was used. We also appeared at the shopping venues each day Sam and I ran into the Wright Brothers in RCC and received autographs from all of them and a photo! I found a new sponsor who donated a new pair of spur straps to compliment my Bob Berg Spurs to me. Thank you Jeff Hartong of Teskey’s for your support of Miss Rodeo Illinois! As the week wrapped up all of us girls headed home with anticipation of seeing each other soon in Florida. Holly Miss Rodeo Wyoming conjoining roommate and I had a blast packing the elevator with all of our stuff. Then ran into the problem of how we were ever going to fit as well! Needless to say we made it and I was happy to be greeted back home at 1 a.m. by my family.

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I had such a great time meeting Sarah Wiens Miss Rodeo Colorado in her home State of Colorado while at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado! I started the trip off at the Cedar Rapids airport where my uncle Mark dropped me off; when I landed in Denver I was greeted by Leroy! Leroy was my Stock Show volunteer as well as Ben, a Stock Show Cattle Judge, I had a great time meeting both of these men and hearing about their wonderful states. This was my first trip out as your Miss Rodeo Illinois! Over the weekend I met many of the girls I will be traveling with throughout the year, and signed a ton of autograph sheets for little cowgirls and cowboys. While shopping and visiting with vendor on the many floors of the education center Brayvyn, Miss Rodeo Wisconsin, and I decided we needed to get a picture riding the bull. At the rodeo we all enjoyed helping with the Mutton Busting, giving away Justin Boots, Free Stock Show T-Shirts, and Running Sponsor Flags. I had a great opportunity to talk to one of my idols Mary Walker, and get a few pictures with her. Mary was great and I cannot wait to see her down the road again. JJ Harrison, the Rodeo Clown, was a complete blast, and is definitely one of the State Title Holders Biggest Cheer Leaders. In Denver I also found a sponsorship to complete my Bob Berg look with a pair of beautiful Earrings and Spurs to accompany my Bob Berg Buckle and Traveling Crown! Next I am headed to South Dakota, I can’t wait to tell you about all the fun I had there!

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January 12th was sure one way to kick off a new year! As my family, friends, and I held the 2013 Miss Rodeo Illinois Coronation and fundraiser in Reynolds Illinois. We started the night out with a dinner, followed by the coronation, and then met all our visiting royalty. A huge thank you to Jacy Littrell Miss Illinois High School Rodeo, Stephanie Adams Miss New Windsor Fair and Rodeo and Kayla Easley New Windsor Fair and Rodeo Princess, Chelsea Vyncke Henry County Equestrian Ambassador 1st Runner up, my partner in crime Mikhayla DeMott Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois 2013, Brooke Owen Miss Rodeo Illinois 2011, and Jeannette Hull Miss Rodeo Illinois 2012! It has been a dream of mine since I was in Junior Rodeo to wear the one of a kind Bob Berg crown, and it was such an honor to have Jeannette place it on my hat. Throughout the night we had various auctions live and silent, as well as a desert walk, and games for kids and adults. We then ended the night with line dance lessons taught by our dancing queen Sandy Harkey, and then an open dance to conclude the event. We raised about half of my goal amount for the year, and I got to see many friends I hadn’t seen all winter. I cannot thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting me while preparing for this once in a lifetime year. A huge thank you to all my sponsors, everyone who donated baskets and various items, as well as time and energy. We had an amazing group of people who had been helping us prepare for week’s thank you Roger and Deb Shone, Michel Sweeney, Dave and Angie Hilderbrandt, Renee and Mark Michl, Colby Staker, Katie Homrighausen, Dale Barns, Dillon Dekeyrel, as well as the Legion for all your help leading up to the event. Thank you to our decoration lady’s, the kitchen crew, my Aunt and Uncle for the beautiful flowers on the tables and bouquets for all the visiting royalty, Rosemary Cooper for taking all the photo you see of the fundraiser, the Miss Rodeo Illinois Association for all your support, our auctioneer Adam Kilcoin, Brian Denis JD, Sandy Harkey for the dance lessons, Robin DeMott, and Brooke Owen for announcing throughout the night, and of course my parents! Without Jerry and Cheryle Spivey the night would not have happened, thank you both so much for all your hard work and help love ya bunches!

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This fall as the Miss Rodeo Illinois Lady-in-Waiting I had a ton of fun! I started my adventure out at the Illinois Quarter Horse Recreational Riding Club Awards Banquet and Fundraiser. I sold raffle tickets and got to meet and know so many people as well as helped with the live auction. I gave a short speech about myself and what Miss Rodeo Illinois means to me, then danced the night away. The next stop was the Tri- State Rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa! This was a monumental year as it was the first time in history for the Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri State Titleholders all be making an appearance! Jeannette, Mikhayla, and I watched the Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant, and congratulated Kara Telfer as she took the Iowa State Title. We also rode in the parade, and enjoyed live music each night, as well as the rodeo! Soon after I made it home I was blessed to be invited to the Happy Joes 40th Annual Special Needs Luncheon. I had an amazing time dancing, and talking with all the kids and seeing the excitement on their faces as I spoke to them about my title and rodeo. I was then introduced to the Happy Joe's Family, and met the owner Joe Whitty. He then invited me to the Happy Joe's Women's Luncheon, where I received a signed copy of his book "Not Your Average Joe," and met the guest speaker. She enjoyed my passion for rodeo and desire to teach our youth about the sport, she featured me in a short blog, and did an interview for her next book. A few weeks later my mom, Rosemary, and I headed to Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Final Rodeo and Miss Rodeo America Pageant. I had an eye opening experience and learned so much. We had a great time watching Jeannette compete, as well as the other girls, and I cannot wait till it is my turn to be on that stage!



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