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Miss Rodeo Illinois 2014 - Katie Perry

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Tri-State Rodeo and Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant 2015 - Fort Madison, IA Sept. 3-6th

One of my favorite rodeos is in the books! I consider this rodeo to be my hometown rodeo. It is only the 3rd Pro Rodeo that Illinois has and I hold it close to my heart. Many of my friends and family came out to watch not only the contestants, but me. I was very humbled and thankful. I headed to FM, IA on Tuesday morning after just getting home from Palestine, IL on Monday evening. Suzy, Miss Rodeo Iowa, and I had a rotary meeting to attend where we talked about our year as well as our friendship we have made over the year. everyone got a kick out of that! We then went on to some school visits to educate kids on rodeo. It was a great time and the kids really enjoyed it. The Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant is held in conjunction with the Tri-State Rodeo so it was great to be a part of that in many different ways. Wednesday night brought a whole new look to rodeo. We had one of the only 8 Cinch Shoot Outs! It was such an amazing rodeo. It is a different format than what the PRCA puts on and man did it rock! We had some of the top names in rodeo compete for $10,000 per event that night! The best part about it was that Suzy and I presented the BIG checks to all the winners. It was an amazing feeling being in front of so many fans. After the event, we went straight to sign autographs with all of the contestants of the night! We sat right next to Cody DeMoss who is a hoot and made the couple hours of signing go by very fast. Hundreds of people came through to get our autographs. During the day on Friday, there was a kid’s day and there were different stations that showed of many different aspects of the rodeo. I helped with the bull riding station where they had an 8 second simulated bull ride. The kids loved it and even came back to ride more! After a couple hours of fun, everyone moved to the pavilion for lunch and autographs. I signed so many autographs that I ran out and my mom had to run and get some more. The kids loved it! We all had a great time as well! Each night of the performances, I rode out of my horse SoCo in the grand entry where we rode in a serpentine pattern. THEN the whole town would come in and ride after all of the sponsor flags. You could see everything from bucking horses to donkeys. Nothing was unusual! It’s always fun to watch. We, as queens, then get introduced individually where we run a hot lap and wave to the crowd! We then worked each night of the rodeo carrying sponsor flags in between each even as well as shagging cattle. We were very busy each night so when it came time to head back to the hotel, we were very tired! I was in the Miss Rodeo Iowa Pageant and got to model in the style show. So every night after the rodeo, we would practice for that! (I have become no stranger to no sleep this year!) It was worth the practice as it is good preparation for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant which is right around the corner! I had such a blast in Fort Madison. It truly is one of the best trips I’ve had so far. It was so nice to have my friends there to watch and see what I have done all year, as well as see people I haven’t seen all year! It was amazing. I have one more trip this year and that will take me to the Great Lakes Circuit Finals in Louisville, KY in November! I am using my time at home to make a little money as well as prepare for Vegas! I would like to thank the entire Iowa board, as well as my family and friends who came out to see me. It was such a pleasure!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ Miss Rodeo Illinois Pageant 2015 Palestine PRCA Rodeo - Palestine, IL Aug. 28-Sept. 1st

Wow! I cannot believe it is finally over, but gosh was it successful! We had our first official pageant in years! I cannot even begin to describe how much fun it was, aside from how much work was put in to it. Thank you to everyone who made this a success, and congratulations to the new titleholders! We started the pageant off on Thursday evening with a brief orientation where the contestants then took their written test. We went out to dinner which was really nice. Friday morning began with horsemanship. Each contestant executed a set pattern on a horse and then switched horses to do a freestyle pattern. Everyone did great! I was so  blessed to have Kylie, Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois 2014, with me. This was the first rodeo we attended together and it was really great to catch up with her. She’s going to do big things one day! After horsemanship, we had lunch with the judges at the country club that we were staying at. It was a nice lunch and it gave the contestants and judges time to get to know each other. After lunch, the contestants began interviews. Kylie and I headed out to town to Robinson’s Ford Dealership to sign autographs and people could come in at win tickets to the rodeo! We were wearing leather jackets, and let me tell you - it was HOT! After the sponsor visit, we had some down time before the first performance of the rodeo started. We warmed up our horses and were ready for grand entry on a Friday night! It was my first Illinois Pro Rodeo and it rocked! After we did our queens run, we split in to two’s to shag cattle during roping events. The other two started selling 50/50 tickets. Over the course of the weekend we raised over $1,200! It was awesome! Rudy Burns and John Harrison were the rodeo clowns and they were both fantastic. Rudy had been doing this rodeo for several decades and this weekend would be his last. I actually had the opportunity to speak with him and John at the grade school in Palestine as well. Saturday called for rain and more rain, which was the day we had the most activities planned. We were up bright and early for the chuck wagon breakfast were we served hundreds of hungry bellies. We then changed into our formal leather dresses and helped with the buckle auction. It started to rain pretty hard so we all took shelter under a tent and the sidewalk awnings right on Main St. We began the speech, modeling, and impromptu portion of the pageant. I started each portion off following by the Miss contestant and then Kylie and then the Teen contestant. There was a nice crowd listening. It was cool because besides our family and friends, the rest of the audience was the town on Palestine. My speech was on Palestine making it intriguing for the crowd. I got a lot of compliments from them. After the last portion of the pageant, we headed to have lunch with the clowns and bullfighters just down the street. We then headed back to the rodeo grounds where the PRCA put on a  Championship Rodeo Camp. It was so cool to see all the rigging for the rough stock events. I even got to ride a bronc - at a walk! Haha, it was very cool though. We then got ready for the TETWP performance as well as pictures with Ariel, Miss Rodeo Illinois 2015 Lady in Waiting as well as the Teen, Colleen. There was a great turn out for the rodeo and I got many, many compliments on my chaps. Everyone loves the other cancer ribbon colors! That was my goal! It still is. Sunday morning, we had church and then began packing things up for us all to head our different ways home on Monday. The last performance was bittersweet as the whole town said goodbye to Rudy as their clown, but they accepted John with wide open arms! Monday morning was the parade that went ALL the way through town. We rode in the back of a truck which was nice and relaxing. I want to thank everyone who helped make this pageant so successful and a great start to many years to come. I could not have done it without the support of my mom and family as well as my board, Thank you again, and congratulations to next year’s queens!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductions & Douglas County Fair & Rodeo - Colorado Springs, CO Aug. 6-9th

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is one of the coolest museums out there! It features clothes, buckles, spurs, and anything else you can think of from the top cowboys, cowgirls, committees, rodeos and everything else that is a part of the rodeo industry! I had the honor to travel to Colorado Springs, Co from my stay in Ks. On Thursday, Katera and I drove about three hours to make it to our host home in enough time to make it to the BBQ and Xtreme Bulls Performance in Douglas County. We were blessed to stay at Wiens Ranch, a beautiful ranch nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Sarah Wiens, Miss Rodeo Colorado 2013, was a great host. I loved waking up to the sunrise in Co! There were about 15 state queens staying in Co so we all had some great bonding time before we head to Vegas. At the Xtreme Bulls, we promoted the rodeo, met with sponsors, as well as signed autographs. We also helped out with the championship mutton bustin which is always a blast! Whether the kids love it or hate it, they feel very accomplished when they get to meet us as well as being presented a buckle. We helped with mutton bustin during each night of the PRCA rodeo as well. Each morning, a few of us decided to get up very early and ride. We had the liberty to ride some of the best cutting horses right out of Wiens Ranch. They were so fun to ride, no matter what level they were broke, because I ride cutting horses so I knew what buttons to press. Usually when we ride at rodeos, we will ride pick-up horses or roping horses where we really don’t show the horse off to their ability. So it was super fun and an awesome experience!

Now let me talk about the actual reason I went to Colorado for the second time in 6 months - the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductions and ball! The ball was the night before the actual induction ceremony and it was a very formal event. It was one of the only times I got to wear a leather dress all year! The ceremony briefly introduced the 10 new inductees while we were served a delicious dinner. We even got to meet the inductees! The next morning was the induction ceremony. As state queens we all stood opposite each other and formed a walkway for each inductee to walk to their seat. We then listened to many stories about each inductee and each one talked about rodeo’s impact on their life. It was an incredible experience to be a part of. I was among some of the greatest athletes, committees, rodeos, etc. in the world! I was so blessed to have this opportunity. My next adventure was a 14 hour drive home! Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. Also, a huge thank you goes to Nyla Bristow and the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo/Miss Rodeo Kansas Pageant – Dodge City, KS July 30 - Aug 3rd They say when you get your title you will make lifelong friends. I brushed it off and told myself I wouldn’t. Well, I was proven wrong. I have made several very good and true friends. One of them is Miss Rodeo Kansas, Katera Harter, who I have had the pleasure of staying with during my time in Kansas. Katera and I embarked on a 3-hour drive to Dodge from her hometown on Wednesday to get ready for the rodeo that night. The next morning began the pageant where I could tell girls were nervous. Other state titleholders came as well so it was great to bond with CO, NE and OK. Every night we had a rodeo but during the day we got to enjoy the pageant. We got to learn the dance for the fashion show as well as pick out an outfit to model as well as model something of our own. We listened to speeches where everyone did a great job. As visiting royalty, we truly do get treated royally. We were chauffeured around by Renae who was on the pageant committee. A huge thank you to her for putting up with us girls! We got to visit Boot Hill where they actually filmed the TV show “Gunsmoke.” They put on a show every night for people to see. We also did some sponsor visits. The best part of this trip was the rodeo every night. This rodeo was phenomenal. Every night of it was great! It was such an honor to be introduced in front of such a huge crowd as well as shag cattle for some of the biggest names in ProRodeo. I also got to meet Harry Vold! Sunday night was the Night of Champions where Katera and I got to see everyone up close and personal. Top names who won were Cody Ohl, J.W. Harris and Wade Sundell. Trevor Brazile and Tuff Cooper did not make it to Sunday but we did pass by them while walking in to Jimmy John’s! It was pretty cool! I would like to thank Katera who I am currently staying with now before we head to Colorado for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductions. I would also like to thank the Miss Rodeo Kansas Board and Committee, Renae, and of course Sheila Croft and her son for getting our horses ready!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 ~ ~ ~ ~

Cheyenne Frontier Days – Cheyenne, WY July 24-27th After 14 hours of driving, my mom, aunt, and I finally made it to The Daddy of ‘Em All! The grounds were huge! And I thought Calgary was big! This rodeo has been named the PRCA Largest Outdoor Rodeo of the Year for over a decade! They had vendors that sold everything from boots to Native American necklaces! It was amazing. I also got to spend time with some of my favorite state titleholders as well! The first adventure I had was serving 10,000 pancakes at the Chuckwagon breakfast! We literally flipped pancakes off of a chuckwagon for someone else to catch them on a tray! They even had the pancake batter mixing in a concrete truck! How cool! During the day, we visited the VIP booths where we took a lot of pictures and signed a lot of autographs. We also had a chance to help out the sponsors of the rodeo including Devon, Coke, and Qdoba by advertising beach balls, parachutes and t-shirts! I love helping out sponsors, as that is one of our main jobs. The most amazing experience I have had all year happened in Cheyenne! Can anyone guess what that was??? In past years, the queens haven’t been able to do a fly by in Cheyenne. Well, this year we were blessed beyond belief to have this opportunity! I rode one of the fastest horses I had ever been on and man was it a thrilling ride. I swear I had tears easing from my eyes due to how fast we were flying! It was so amazing!!! After each rodeo we signed autographs as normal. There were so many people waiting in line. One night we went out to eat with Greg Hensley, our Dan Post Boot rep, at a very nice restaurant. I had salmon and it was so delicious! At the end of each night there was a concert! Artists that I got to see included Randy Houser, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Cassadee Pope, Kip Moore, and Tim McGraw! It was pretty neat! We also got the opportunity to visit Arlene Kensinger’s Miss Rodeo America Museum at her home! Wow! You have to see the pictures to believe how much history she has in her home and how much this woman has contributed to the rodeo industry! She is an amazing woman! I would like to thank her, my mom and aunt, and all of the chaperones that I was blessed to have throughout the weekend! God bless Wyoming! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~

Calgary Stampede – Calgary, AB, Canada July 3-7th Have I mentioned my year has been flying by? This year truly is a once in a lifetime experience! This trip to the Calgary stampede was one for the books! It was even my first time out of the country so you know what that means! Stamps in my passport! After a couple long plane rides I finally made it to Calgary. I had the pleasure of rooming with Suzy Fife, Miss Rodeo Iowa, and her mom which was wonderful. The first thing we did was attend the Calgary Stampede parade. This parade was huge!  Some of the queen’s even got to be in it.  One thing I noticed about Calgary is the town is so devoted to the stampede. Every business was promoting it and everyone was so excited to attend it. After the parade we went to the stamping grounds where we got to visit the Calgary Stampede Queen’s Alumni display. This was so cool to see and how the wardrobe has changed over the years and also to see all of the history that Calgary has with their Queens. We finished with a tour of the grounds before we watched the chuck wagon races. These races are phenomenal and I’ve never seen anything like it! It is a thrilling event to watch! Besides watching some of the top names in rodeo we were VIP at the stampede. We had VIP access to pretty much everywhere so I felt pretty important! At the end of each night young Canadians all across the country participated in a performance called the Grandstand.  It was so funny and the talent was amazing! It was a great end to my first night in Calgary! Unfortunately we did not get to ride horses there however we did get to see the rodeo up close and personal. I got to meet the Rodeo Queen of Australia and several other Canadian rodeo queens.  There were all so friendly and I loved spending a week with them! We got to discover down town Calgary where there was a lot of dancing and celebration. We even got to square-dance in the city! We got to hang out with the Canadian military where we even got to take pictures with them. This was during the day at the Giddy Up Grits breakfast for children. I had such a great time signing autographs and meeting children who would eat breakfast and then be able to ride rides before anyone else could. They felt very special and indeed they were! On Sunday we had a full day of downtime.  So we decided to drive up to Banff.  I was told early on in my year to visit this town if I ever went to Calgary. So we decided to make the haul. We also visited Lake Louise. I cannot describe to you how beautiful these two places were. The sites literally swept me off my feet! I took pictures of the Lake Louise but I do not think they do it justice. Before I knew it, it was time to pack and get ready to fly home. I was honored to be a part of the Calgary stampede and promote Illinois at the rodeo.  This truly was one of my favorite trips yet! God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

NEBRASKAland Days/Buffalo Bill Rodeo – North Platte, NE June 15-19th Driving into Nebraska, I was greeted by green grass and corn – just like at home! (which is where I felt!) My host mom ran a restaurant so I didn’t see her much, however we were so busy there wasn’t much time to hang out except for late at night. The majority of my stay was visiting sponsors and signing autographs. We signed a ton! We also go to be a part of all of the portions of the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Pageant. There were two beautiful young women running for the 2015 title so it was great to watch. We also got to partake in their fashion show which was an amazing production. We modeled a fashion forward outfit as well as our chap outfit. It was so much fun! Prior to going to NE, some of us queens were blessed with being written by pen pals! I was written by two girls who I finally got to meet! They are so darling and they loved hanging out with me. It was the highlight of my trip. In addition to the pageant, we got to tour Scout’s Rest Ranch where Buffalo Bill himself lived his dream. It was very interesting learning about his life and seeing where he actually lived. We also go to have a queen’s run in the first night of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. I had one of the fastest horses ever! Thank you to the Mueller’s for letting me ride your amazing horse. A huge thank you to everyone in NE for making this trip great! I headed home to get the finishing touches on my wardrobe for the Miss Rodeo Texas Pageant. God Bless! Katie Psalm 91:11 ~ ~ ~ ~

Miss Rodeo Texas Pageant 2015 – San Antonio, TX June 23-27th

After an 18 hour drive to Texas, it was time to settle in to my room and get ready for my first pageant! The Miss Rodeo Texas Association has been very generous and has taken states under their wing that do not have an established program or a board. I have all of that but did not get to compete in a pageant that would be on the scale as Miss Rodeo America, so that is why I was able to participate in this pageant. The pageant started off with registration and orientation. We could not have any outside means of communication such as phones, computers, etc. That became difficult because us girls rely on our phones for a lot of things including the time! We were constantly asking for the time. We then began the written test. The test was difficult but I was prepared for it. That night was the Horsemanship competition. I drew two very nice horses. The first horse I rode I had to execute a specific pattern, which we did! My second horse I drew was capable of lead changes, speed changes, and nice pivots so I showed him off to the best ability that I could. Day two began with breakfast and speeches for some girls. Half of us went on Tuesday and the other half went on Wednesday. I was draw to go on Wednesday. After breakfast, we headed upstairs for personal interviews. This consisted of three different interviews (the judges were split in two): personality, appearance, and horsemanship. I felt like each of mine were successful. After these interviews we then went to lunch and answered a rodeo knowledge question. We then practiced our dance routine before we headed to the style show. At the style show, we modeled three different brands of clothing: Patricia Wolf, Southern Jewelz, and Kippy’s. This production was so fast paced and so much fun! We then went on stage to model our gowns and answer two questions. It turned in to a late night back at the hotel as we danced some more before we could go to bed. Day 3 began with breakfast and my speech. I thought I gave my speech very well! After breakfast, we had a panel interview with all of the judges. We discussed hot topics in the media as well as current events. We really got to know the judges! We then went to lunch where we were asked a personality question. We then went back to dance before we headed out to the Petroleum Club for a Mexican Fiesta. Toward the end of the evening we played a trivia game. We were all split in to three teams where we were asked questions about our state. My question was, “What is Illinois’ state dance?” The square-dance! I got it right which lead us into the final round of a dance-off. Let’s just say my team won! Our prize was chocolate covered cashews. Thursday was the big coronation day! We started the day off with breakfast and a current event question. We then had some downtime where we of course, danced some more to make sure we had it down! The coronation was great. We got to model our gowns again and answer two questions. I was very proud of myself. The next morning was the awards celebration where I received $500, a Mohair jacket, and luggage! Congratulations to all of the new queens! I will be seeing you down the road! Also, a huge thank you to the MRTX board and committee for inviting me and letting me participate in a once in a lifetime experience. It was amazing! Thank you again! God Bless! Katie Psalm 91:11 ~ ~ ~ ~

Abbyville Frontier Days Rodeo – Abbyville, KS May 15-18th Before I left for Abbyville, a couple people had told me that it was a very small town with dirt roads. Well, it was dark when I pulled in, and yep! ALL dirt roads and a VERY small town. But this small town didn’t lack rodeo fans at all! The community welcomed us with open arms! All of stayed at the Oasis Ranch & Retreat, which was right down the road from the rodeo grounds. This place was awesome! It was so spacious and very convenient with tons of beds so no one had to fight over one. (This definitely can be an issue with girls!) We were all greeted by Bronc and Kate Rumford who are HUGE in the rodeo industry. If you don’t know them, Google them and you’ll understand why it was such an honor to spend a weekend with them. They actually supply 8-10 horses for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant so we had the opportunity to get a feel for many different horses, which will benefit all of us going in to the horsemanship portion of the pageant. It also has prepared me for the Miss Rodeo Texas Pageant that I will be competing in at the end of June. Our appearances began on Thursday with many sponsor visits and eating a lot of pie! Abbyville is the pie capital of the world and man do they live up to it! Thursday night was a 3D barrel race that we helped with. A lot of the PRCA barrel racing contestants that came for the rodeo on Friday and Saturday night, came a night early so they could participate in that race as well beings it’s not a PRCA sanctioned race. I love seeing all the contestants! Friday and Saturday we helped with Mutton Busting before each performance. I love seeing all the kids be dare devils! They are awesome! There was some rain all day Friday and unfortunately it carried into the evening. It was chilly also so we couldn’t wait to get our coats on. We carried flags in the grand entry where the contestants paraded through our flags. That was the first time we did a grand entry like that before. Miss Rodeo North Dakota and I pushed cattle during steer wrestling and tie-down roping but we had to wear our coats because the temperature dropped tremendously! Saturday we hung out on the rodeo grounds and ate a lot of food! I participated in Abbyville Idol and also got to be in the comedy act with Matt Tarr, the rodeo clown and the Coors Man in the Can! It was such an honor! Before the rodeo started we announced/played bingo and then were off working the final performance. Before I headed home, I attended Cowboy Church, which was phenomenal. It was very engaging. I felt like I was home! But I wasn’t…I had 10 hours to get there haha! I had an amazing time in Kansas. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo – Guymon, OK Apr. 30-May 4th This year has been flying by but I have been having the time of my life! Guymon, OK was such an awesome experience! It is one for the books! We started the weekend off by visiting 7 schools and a nursing home! Not only was I with the other state titleholders but the bullfighters as well as the famous rodeo clown, John Harrison! It was a blast and the kids enjoyed it. We also visited two different salons, where one of which I got my nails done! They are so cute. We signed autographs at Epic PCS, a cellular phone provider where they served us lunch. Almost all of our meals were taken care of which I couldn’t be more thankful for! My host family was also great, the Stonecipher’s. Ken Stonecipher was one of the announcers as well. We got to be a part of their rodeo queen pageant where we sat in windy Oklahoma for the horsemanship then enjoyed an amazing dinner for speeches and impromptu questions. Before each rodeo we helped out with Mutton Busting which is always so much fun! We actually got to judge which was so hard because all of the kids did so well! The weather was wonderful so each night of the rodeo was great. I got to carry a lot of flags and signed a bunch of autographs! The rodeo was put on and very engaging! Did I mention I had a blast??? We were also a part of the longest parade ever! I ran out of candy the first block! I felt so bad for the kids. Luckily, my amazing roommates spared some of their goodies so I could throw candy for the kids! Besides all the rodeo fun, we participated in a golf tournament. I am not a golfer, but I had the best team ever! We ended up getting 2nd in the tournament and winning some money! A huge thank you to everyone who made my stay amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will be back!!!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11

Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo – Guthrie, OK Apr. 8-12th My first trip to Oklahoma was a success! I drove down there and got to see the beauty of the state as well as Missouri! This was the most organized trip I have been to. MROK, Lauren Heaton and her mother did a wonderful job hosting so many girls! We were greeted with goodie bags and TONS of cookies and snacks! We were able to eat at some pretty cool places in between appearances such as Texadelphia, Toby Kieth’s I Love This Bar & Grill, and Boneyard Grill. Everything was so different and so delicious. Before the rodeo started, we toured Express Ranch Clydesdale Barn which was so cool! We got our picture taken with “Duke” who stands about 19 hands tall. Express ranch also had a zebra in their pasture! We also got introduced at the Oklahoma State Capital where we stood in front of the Senate. Everyone was so welcoming! It felt great. We then went on a tour at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum which house articles from rodeo hall-of-famers as well as western art. The western artifacts were so interesting to see how the west was won and how they survived. The following day was the start of the rodeo so we had to get up at 4am to be ready and be at the Lazy E Arena for the 11am perf. We stayed in Oklahoma City so we had a decent drive each day. Before each rodeo we had the pleasure of signing autographs and greeting fans as they stepped inside the Lazy E. I was blessed to ride “Cheech” all weekend who is a dang fast horse! I guess you could say, “perfect queen pace!” He was so good to ride. In between the rodeo performances we visited Vance Auto Group who sponsored MROK a truck for her reign. We also rode on a trolley as we got a tour of historic Guthrie, Oklahoma’s first capital. That was a very interesting ride but we were all tuckered out. We ended the evening with the 2nd perf of the rodeo. The coolest part of the trip was visiting the OKC Gun Club! We participated in a shoot-out on teams of 4 people (rodeo queens as well as RNCFR PRCA contestants!) We each shot 20 clay pigeons. Our team did not win but I got 2nd in the Cowgirl Shoot-Out shooting 18 clays! I was so proud of myself because I had never done that before. We then had some downtime before the rodeo that night. There were 5 total performances and the Great Lakes Circuit was represented well, but the Prairie States took the win! It was such a great week and I met so many more amazing people as well as getting to know the other state titleholders more. I loved my roommates which made my stay that much better!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11

Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Miss Rodeo America Seminar – Dallas, TX Mar. 26-30 So I was back out to Texas in no time! I just couldn’t stay away! I attended the 10th Annual Premier Rodeo Pageant Seminar. This trip was incredible. The knowledge I gained is immense. We started the week off with a tour of the Dallas Market Center – that place is huge!!! We got to see two high fashion shows which was something I have never seen before and we actually got to participate in it! We also learned how to model better individually in boots as well as heels. Heels and I do not get along! It was apparent when I tripped on the runway! Our orientation started off with our Wrangler fitting for the MRA Pageant. Bill Windsor, CEO and Cindy Morris, COO of the Dallas Market Center greeted us as well as Ty Fitzgerald who was a past Miss Rodeo Tennessee who now works for the Dallas Market Center. They are such great people! I also got to meet all of the MRA board! Paige Nicholson, the reigning MRA, gave a presentation on speech preparation and public speaking. She is so intelligent. I learned so much from her. Pam Minik and Kadee Coffman also gave a presentation on media interviews and social media as they have a show on RFD-TV. How cool?! One of the greatest parts of the week was listening to what some of the past MRA’s had to say. They were very influential and encouraging towards all of us. We also heard from past MRA judges who gave us wonderful tips on competing at the pageant. On top of all this, we had a Q and A with a veterinarian that was VERY informative! Cindy Schonholtz who is the Director of Industry Outreach for the PRCA and she spoke on Animal Welfare. This is such a good subject to hear about and I learned an immense amount about it. Mike Amerman, the National Bailey Hat Rep, also came and spoke about hat shaping and looking presentable. It was good to hear from him as Bailey Hats is a top sponsor of MRA. We also had a PRCA judge talk to us about rules which was something I have never experienced. One of our last speakers was Stran Smith! How awesome?! He taught us rules of rodeo and also rules about life! He is very inspiring and I loved listening to him. I would have to say that the best part of this seminar was riding with Chris Cox. Wow is all I have to say. He is an amazing horseman who puts on a great clinic! I learned how to have a better seat while riding as well as getting better at flying lead changes. We literally rode all day and I couldn’t have been possible without the boys from Miracle Farm who provided the horses for us to ride. After we rode with Chris, we were introduced at the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. There was a smoke machine and everything! I had such a great time and I learned more than I can even begin to write. I learned so much about myself which was very encouraging!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

St. Mary’s Catholic School Auction – Metamora, IL Mar. 15 I was asked to be a ‘live’ auction item for the school’s annual auction where the highest bidder would get a 2 hour ‘hang-out’ session with me including grooming, riding, and taking care of horses. This was such an amazing experience because the highest bid was $700 and I said I would do it with two girls so overall I raised $1,400 for the school! That was pretty awesome! Susan Grebner is the woman who had the idea and I cannot thank her enough for being her guest and paying for my dinner. The school raised over $60,000 in two hours! They needed it and deserved all of it! Thank you to all who supported St. Mary’s! God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Illinois Horse Fair – Springfield, IL Mar. 7-9, 2014 What an opportunity this was for me! I had such an amazing time and gained so much more confidence in myself. I was invited to help with the IHF Queen’s Contest. I began the weekend by giving a presentation on confidence for all the girls competing, tying in the infamous Dr. Seuss! He is very inspiring as we all know. I also had the chance to introduce Gina from Circle H Western Store as she emceed the pageant fashion show. Through the weekend, I also saw a difference in all the girls competing as they became more outgoing and had more confidence. I love that! I also had the opportunity to sign autographs at one of my sponsor’s booths, Lucky Combination Co., where I really got to engage with the children. Thank you Jean and Rebecca! Thank you to Cindy from The Arena News for featuring me in her magazine as the cover story! It was awesome and brought more cancer awareness to the people who read it. I talked to little girls and signed an issue for them to read as well as for a keepsake. Saturday night at the last minute, I was asked to carry the American Flag during Grand Entry! Thank you Karen! I was more than honored to do so and it was successful. I also had the opportunity to emcee the Little Mr./Miss Contest where children competed in a mock pageant. I asked them their name, where they were from, and if they had a talent. The children were hysterical! It was such a good weekend where I also gained some sponsors. Thank you! God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

“A Sunny Day” – Children’s Hospital of Illinois Fundraiser I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend this fundraiser as it was rodeo themed. This benefit was a silent auction with a special guest, Julie K, who is a singer for children. The proceeds benefit the CHOI. I was invited to do the welcoming of the fundraiser as well as greet the guests. I brought stick horses for the children to ride which they loved! It was chaotic with all the children, but they sure loved getting an autograph of me! It was very successful and it was a pleasure to be invited as I worked for the CHOI for a couple of years. God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Silver Spurs Rodeo – Kissimmee, FL “WOW,” is all I have to say! This trip was incredible. Let me first thank my host family, Tony and Patrice Campbell. They are truly the nicest people I have ever met…very inspiring! I had the luxury of staying in the Campbell’s Guest House with Miss Rodeo Virginia, Melissa. We called the guest house “The Ranchette” because it was such a treat! I experienced so many “firsts” during this week! I got to “wrestle” an alligator which was totally cool (his mouth was taped shut though…)! I also go to hold a Constrictor that was huge as well as a baby alligator (twice) and a little snake/gator animal that I am not sure what it’s called. I got to see some of the only albino alligators in the world which are said to be good luck if you stare into their blue eyes and make a wish, so let’s hope! I also had the opportunity to educate hundreds of elementary students about rodeo with all the other visiting state titleholders. I learned that children sure do say the darndest things! On top of all that, I got to go air boating which was a blast! I got to do an obstacle course where my fear of heights was kind of conquered! I climbed a rock wall 40 feet in the air then rode a zip line down. I also climbed up a pole and walked across another one to ring a bell. I was scared and so nervous! I did all this dare deviling at Lake X where I also got to ride on a pontoon boat and go gator hunting. As a group, we also did some teambuilding exercises. We also went hog hunting late Saturday night that turned into an early morning! We got one hog and then tried for more but never got another. Also while in in Kissimmee, I was blessed beyond measure. We had the opportunity to spend an evening at Give Kids the World. This organization works hand in hand with Make-A-Wish America to literally give the world to young children with life-threatening illnesses. Now, before I took reign, I worked at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Children's Hospital of Illinois in the lab. I was a lab assistant in the blood bank where we typed and screened patients as well as delivered blood products to patients that needed them. We dealt heavily with cancer patients alike. While at GKTW, we were able to pass out candy to the children as they celebrated a themed Halloween night. The very first family I ran into was one of my patients. They recognized me as well and it was the most heartwarming moment of my life. Not only was one of my patients there, but TWO. The only thing I could do was thank God for putting me in that perfect place. The one night I was there, my life was changed in more ways than one. I cannot describe the feeling that swept over me. All I know is the Lord had all to do with it. Please keep these families in your prayers and follow their journeys: Rally for Lily and Johnah's Journey The Neuroblastoma Ninja’s Road to Recovery. These children are more than amazing...they are champions! We also got to see ‘Medieval Times’ where performers put on an act from that time. Dinner was served but with no silverware so that was fun! There were also 3 nights of the Silver Spurs Rodeo that I got to participate in. Friday night was ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ night and that was a blast! I wore my purple shirt with an orange ribbon on it in honor of my cousin, Lexi. I was blessed with a great horse named Tucker that I rode all weekend! Thank you to the Spence Family for allowing me to ride him! After the rodeos, we signed hundreds of autographs for young children! They loved having so many state titleholders there to visit with! I would like to thank Mark and Laura Kessler for all of their hard work and running us all around!

-God Bless Psalm 91:11 Katie

WorldToughest Rodeo – Moline, IL Talk about a crowd! This rodeo lasted two nights and boy did it entertain! From ostrich races, to a dog-riding monkey, this rodeo was a blast. I spent it with Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois, Miss Illinois High School Rodeo Queen, Miss Illinois Junior Rodeo Princess, and Miss Wapello Rodeo Queen. We engaged with kids activities during the preshow as well as signed autographs. WE SIGNED A LOT…in a short amount of time! It was so great to hanging with these girls as I don’t get to see them that often because we are all so busy! We had the opportunity to ride in the bag of the Dodge Ram truck to set out the barrels for the barrel racing and have our names announced. I’ll be honest here, hearing my name announced in front of thousands of people was pretty cool! That was the first time that had ever happened! Thank you to the Morehead’s for allowing us to be a part of your Three Hills Rodeo experience! It was wonderful! J

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Miss Rodeo Texas Clinic Literally, the day I left Denver, I flew straight for San Antonio, Texas. It was a great trip because I had my buddy, Miss Rodeo Idaho, Hali, with me who was also another one of my roommates in Denver. I’m not sure if we knew what we were getting ourselves in to by signing up for this clinic but boy did we find out fast. Two words: Marjorie Murphy. If you don’t know who she is, Google her. She is the queen of all queens and is so smart, but VERY honest! Some girls did not take her honesty well, but she only wants to help every girl be the best they can! I learned a lot in the clinic from how to present myself, to gaining self-confidence, to winning a title! It was very informative. But let me just say that we had to fend for ourselves for meals! AHHH Hali and I were so broke it wasn’t even funny. And you know me by now…KATIE LIVES FOR FOOD. (And other things, but it is important to her!) J That was the only downfall. I got to meet local queens who came who will be competing for MRT in June. I will also compete in that pageant as well because MRI is a growing organization and MRT invites those states to compete to get a feel for how the MRA Pageant will go. I’m so super excited! I got to try ‘REAL’ Mexican food too…it was so strange. Sooooo not Taco Bell! Green tomatoes! It was crazy…but still good! Hali and I got to hang out with MRT, Stephanie who was awesome to be around! It’s crazy how I know some of these girls I will be friends with the rest of my life! But after this looooong trip was over, I was SO ready to go home and see my family…and my puppy!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

National Western Stock Show, Denver, CO First off! Traveling with a hat and crown isn’t as easy as it looks! I’m not talking about the fact that everyone thinks I’m a celebrity and wants a picture with me, but trying to stay awake on a plane ride with that on your head! I can’t imagine what I looked like to everyone else. Flying in to Denver was just gorgeous! The weather and the mountains were indescribable! I settled in and the next day hit the WESA Market! So many goodies…and wait for it…FREE FOOD! I gained a couple new sponsors as well as met with my current sponsors! I also gained a roommate who I became pretty close with, Melynda, MRSD! We hustled around with each other and attended the Colorado vs. World Rodeo where we got to carry flags. The next couple of nights before the PRCA was PBR. I carried the Denver Broncos flag and I’m telling you what, I know for a fact that I had more fans screaming for that flag than any contestant there. It was insane! Those Bronco fans are dedicated…and loud! I will say that out of the 7 days I was in Denver, I had pizza 6 times. I must really like pizza??? Anyway, I also got to spend some time with the other state queens which was very nice! We all went out for breakfast one morning…food again…I know!!! I’m a nut for my tummy. We also got to experience the NWSS which is in a totally different vicinity than the performances. I got to sit on a huge longhorn and get my picture taken!!! So cool, but he was really boney…We also helped kids participate in stick horse races where we then go to sign autographs. I’ll never forget how one mom approached me. She came up to me and said, “Thank you.” I inquired what about and she proceeded to point out my cross earrings and how I signed my autograph sheets. I write the same thing on all of them because they are personal in itself. To know what I am talking about, YOU HAVE TO GET AN AUTOGRAPH SHEET FROM ME!!! J She also pointed out the bible verse I write on all my sheets as well. That woman touched me spiritually in more ways than one. The hardest part about that week was having to wake up every morning and actually put makeup on! That is so not me but I caught on quickly and gained a routine that is working pretty well! The temperature dropped tremendously after the first couple of days, so by the first night of the PRCA, it was cold! Really cold. My first PRCA experience was great though! I wish I had pictures…but how am I supposed to take pictures when I’m working??? My mom didn’t think about that either when she wanted to see what I was doing haha. Also while staying in Denver, I had the opportunity to take care of Cervi’s horses before and after each performance. Seeing how a big-time stock contractor works was amazing. It was so cool seeing how everything goes together. It was a great experience!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Coronation Celebration and Fundraiser Oh my goodness, I don’t think I have ever been so nervous and excited for something in my entire life! This night by far tops any others I have had. First off, I am so thankful for every one of you that has supported me through my journey! THANK YOU! I could not have done it without the help of my mother, Jessica Walker, Josh Wineinger, and the rest of my friends and family, but most importantly everyone who came to celebrate with me! We started the night off with a social hour where everyone could check out the silent and live auction items as well as the bar! Dinner was then served, and boy was it good. Have I mentioned I love food??? Cassie was introduced as well as Mikhayla who then crowned MTRI 2014 Kylie. I was then crowned!!! It was all smiles from then on! It was great! We had a Mr. Rodeo Illinois contest where my dad and two of my cousins participated in. My dad started dancing to, “I’m too sexy…” and I don’t think I have ever been so embarrassed in my life. He ended up winning the contest by raising the most money for his daughter! J One of the best parts of the evening was when I put on my chaps. These chaps mean so much to me. Not only because I donated them to the MRIA, but because they are close to my heart. My cousin who is my age is battling leukemia. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. And my uncle lost his battle to colon cancer. These chaps are so meaningful in that they are for TETWP nights, but they are also bringing awareness to ALL types of cancer and not just breast cancer. The night was all fun after that with the mechanical bull and the bar! Thank you Gary Wessels for being my auctioneer! I wouldn’t have had anyone else. I tell you what, seeing my dad and brother on that bull was hysterical. Everyone seemed to have had a wonderful time but most people left early because we were getting six inches of snow. Yay Illinois!!! The night went by so fast I don’t even know where the time went. Next thing I knew, we were cleaning up! Thank you again to everyone! From the food servers to my friends, to all the people who helped me gain items to auction off! You truly don’t know how appreciated you are. THANK YOU!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

Lady in Waiting I only had two months as lady in waiting but boy was it packed full of activities! After the pageant I met with Rosemary to get my pictures taken for my autograph sheet. Thank you so much! They turned out great. I also got to attend Cassie’s send-off party in November. She gave her speech and gave us a look at her outfits for the MRA Pageant. It was a nice fundraiser that both Kylie and I got to attend and be introduced at. I also had the opportunity to sell 50/50 tickets at Lueking Livestock’s horse sale this fall. Thank you Jami! The biggest part of me being lady in waiting was my week-long trip to Las Vegas, NV for the MRA Pageant and NFR. I flew in a little early so I had the opportunity to work for Lucky Combination Co. who is also one of my amazing sponsors. We got their venue ready for Cowboy Christmas. The weather was beautiful! There was also lots of good food! I’m all about the food!!! As lady in waiting, I got to do a couple things as part of the MRA Pageant. I was invited to sell 50/50 tickets before the main categories of the pageant which was great exposure for myself! I also had a chance to attend all of the portions of the pageant except for horsemanship and coronation as I went home before those events took place. I attended the Lady in Waiting Social where all the other ladies awaiting their reign got to meet each other and get contact information. That was great! I had the chance to meet MRA 2013 Chenae’ Shiner! She is so beautiful and did such a wonderful job during her reign. I also got all 15 of the top calf ropers’ autographs, including Trevor Brazile!!! So awesome!!! However, the best part of my trip was having my mom fly in and surprise me by bring my aunt along with her! I was shocked but loved it so much. I also got to spend time with my great aunt as well! It was great to have some nice family time…especially taking advantage of the buffet! We did a little shopping and had to actually check an extra bag to get home because I bought so much. Oops! All in all it was so great to be there to support Cassie and cheer her on! She did great! The pageant itself was so fun and exciting! Thank you to Robin for allowing me to room with you! I’m sure she was ready to go home after that adventure!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

MRi Pageant 2013 Being nervous was an understatement! I was so nervous coming in to the Miss Rodeo Illinois Pageant as it was only my second pageant I have ever competed in. It was held in Delavan, IL at the Bull Bash in October. I started out the pageant by meeting with Jessy and Polly Hagey, the pageant coordinators, and discussing what Kylie, MTRI contestant, and I would be doing over the two days of the pageant. We were given the horsemanship pattern that we would be executing as well. We started off the first night of the rodeo with pony rides for children. We just made sure the kids stayed on the ponies! They loved it! It was amazing how many times the same children kept getting in line to ride. After the rodeo started, I go to do my very first queen run! Not only was it my first queen run, but I was told I had to ride a huge horse! I am not exaggerating; he was a giant! Throughout both nights of the rodeo, Kylie and I, as well as other local queens, sold 50/50 tickets to the crowd. We raised over $1,000 between the two nights for the MRI Association. How exciting! Kylie and I executed all portions of the pageant successfully including speeches, interviews, horsemanship, and modeling. The judges were great, offering guidance and advice. After the second night of the rodeo, Saturday, Kylie and I met with Robin, our national director to sign our contracts. It was so late! Sunday morning, Kylie and I went to breakfast at the American Legion in Delavan where we visited with Roger Rawlings who put on the rodeo. It was great but boy was I exhausted! A huge thank you to my mom and family, the MRI board and judges, Rosemary Cooper, Robin and Mikhayla DeMott, Polly and Jessy Hagey, The Farmhouse, Delavan United Methodist Church, and Roger and Vicki Rawlings!

God Bless! Psalm 91:11 Katie ~ ~ ~ ~

As Miss Rodeo Illinois 2014, my signature western piece is my pair of Diamond J Leather “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” (TETWP) chaps. I decided that when I took reign as Miss Rodeo Illinois 2014 I wanted to help our growing organization by donating a pair of TETWP chaps. These are the first pair of traveling chaps the Miss Rodeo Illinois Association has. They were custom designed by Jill Bailey, inspired by a ribbon and banner with stars concho. My only request in designing these chaps was that every cancer ribbon color be embellished down each leg of the chaps bringing awareness to all types of cancer. I am truly inspired by the fighters and survivors of cancer as they are some of the strongest people I've ever met. In fact, my Aunt April is a survivor of breast cancer. However, my cousin, Lexi who is 21-years-old, had to put her life on hold when hearing the news of her diagnosis of leukemia. It has changed her life, having a new outlook and perspective on life. She fights every day praying to be free of pain and illness. Also, in the fall of 2013, at the age of just 51, my Uncle John lost his battle against colon cancer. This aggressive cancer changed my family’s life completely. Although we cherish the memories God blessed us with, it is still heat wrenching knowing that there is no cure for this ugly disease. But there is hope! Throughout this year, as I travel to TETWP nights, I will sport each cancer color with the embellished word, “Hope,” in attempts to bring awareness to all types of cancer. I am proud to represent my family as well as all the other fighters and survivors.

Thank you, Katie Perry Miss Rodeo Illinois 2014

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