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  • Writer's pictureMiss Rodeo Illinois

Miss Rodeo Illinois 2011 - Brooke M'lynn Owen

This will be my final blog, sad but true. My reign will be over as Miss Rodeo Illinois 2011 on midnight December 31, 2011. I'm ending it more confident and as a person, more complete. I've grown in so many ways and I am ready for the next chapter of my life. Whatever God has in store for me, I am ready. 

What a month this has been. The Central States Rodeo Association held it's year-end finals in Rantoul, IL "Gordyville USA". Even though not being a PRCA sanctioned event, I was asked to carry the America flag and led the contestants during the Grand Entry. I also, finished up my TV and cash fundraiser, thank you to everyone who supported me.

The second week of November, I made my way to the Great Lakes Circuit Finals in Louisville, Kentucky with Miss Rodeos Minnesota and Wisconsin. Miss Iowa and Miss Missouri met up with us there. The five of us had a wonderful time representing our respected states. I was honored to have been asked to carry the American flag at the beginning of the performances. Also, I attended the luncheon held Friday. This again was a tremendous honor.

During our time in Louisville, we visited Churchill Downs and shopped the huge market associated with the finals. 

November 20th my parents held my Send-Off Celebration at Schooner's in Peoria Heights. This is where I got the chance to show off my three dresses and state jacket custom designed for me by Donna Riva out of California. My chaps outfit was on display as well, custom made by Diamond J Leather out of Montana. We raffled off a few items and also held a 50/50 drawing. I gave my Miss Rodeo America Pageant Speech and my older brother Kolton and friend Nick played guitar and sang during breaks. It was a fun time.

November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving, I was in the televised 124th annual “Santa Claus Parade" in downtown Peoria. The oldest known Santa Claus Parade in the nation. With my queen horse Zoom, I sported my chaps outfit, cowboy hat, crown and boots. The young kids were in awe. I'm pretty sure it was because they've never seen a horse before. I can't even begin to imagine my life without them.

On December 1st, with family and tow, I will fly to Las Vegas to compete in the Miss Rodeo America 2012 Pageant. I am prepared and ready to give it my all. God willing,   I'll have a smooth week. My scrapbook has been finished thanks to Annette, wardrobe touched up and done thanks to Rosemary, my cowgirl hats are shaped and ready thanks to John Irvin, photos have been sent and advertisement page finished for the MRA Program book thanks to Photography-by-Jill, horsemanship is practiced thanks to Tammie Kear.

Now the hard part. Thank you to all of my friends old and new for supporting me throughout my reign. My goal at the beginning of the year was to travel, ALOT!  Be the first Illinois queen to go to Calgary and remind people across this country that we "Illinoians" love to rodeo and are willing to travel a long way just to be a part of it. It's been a great honor to represent Illinois in the sport that I love dearly. 

By the grace of God may he bless and keep you.

Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Much love and God Bless-

Brooke MRI 2011

- - - -

Hello again everyone, I will have to say that October was a slow month since the PRCA wrapped up the rodeo season at the end of September. It seems that everyone is on a "short break" so to speak.  I held a fundraiser at Gil's Supper Club in Hanna City the first Friday of the month. It was fun to see a lot of my neighbors there and also made a little money for my tip to the Miss Rodeo America Pageant coming up in December. But, I spent most of my month working on my wardrobe, perfecting my speech, and studying for the upcoming pageant. Still a lot of work ahead of me...I thrive on challenge!

Next month I will have an extremely hectic schedule traveling to the Central States Rodeo Association Finals at Gordyville, the Great Lakes Circuit Finals in Louisville, Kentucky, my Send-Off Celebration, and finally the Santa Clause Parade in downtown Peoria. Follow my blog for next month and I'll let you know how it goes. Until then, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

May God Bless each and every one of you. Brooke

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Happy September everyone! Hope you're enjoying the nice, cool weather. September has always been my favorite month. Not just for the beautiful weather but because of the Tri-State Rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa held at this time every year. Always starting the week after Labor Day, this time I went to Fort Madison a day early to ride my mare Southern in a speed show held annually every Tuesday before the PRCA festivities begins. I'm happy to say that Southern and I got 3rd place in an open barrel race, and also won me a pretty nice check!  But, back to reality, the very next morning, Miss Rodeo Iowa Heidi Gansen and I started with our school visits, autograph signings, we even passed out orders at the local Hardee's drive thru. What fun it was to see the faces of the people strolling through for a quick lunch. Wednesday through Saturday evening the PRCA held its annual rodeo which is an event that my family and I have been going to since I was 2 years old. But, this time I was going as Miss Rodeo Illinois, a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I also rode in the rodeo parade in downtown Fort Madison with royalty guests of honor. 

Also during this month, I visited the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate here in central Illinois. I signed autographs and had pictures taken with the cancer stricken boys and girls fighting for their lives. It totally touched my heart to put a smile on their faces.

Then it was off to Omaha, Nebraska with Miss Rodeo Iowa and Miss Rodeo Minnesota for the Million Dollar Tour, Justin Boots Championship Rodeo. Where the top 12 cowboys and cowgirls in the world compete in their event for a nice chunk of money. We met up with other queens, did autograph signings of course, and visited the amazing Omaha Zoo. This has to have been one of my favorite rodeos all year. It was an amazing experience. I made some new friends and met up with old ones. I also had a wonderful host home and family. If you ever get the opportunity to attend this rodeo, I'm sure you would love it as much as I did.   Until next month, enjoy the beautiful fall weather, the changing leaves and long trail rides.

God Bless- Brooke

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My first stop in August was Dodge City, Kansas. I met up with 5 other state queens and made several appearances at learning centers and businesses around town, attended dinners, and helped with their state pageant. Then it was home and off to Altamont, IL where there was a fair and rodeo. I wanted to make an appearance here because I knew it would be a big crowd, and it was !!!

I had an appearance at Schooners in Peoria. They were nice enough to let me have the whole outdoor dinner garden to sell my tickets for my fundraiser. I also signed autographs, took pictures, and ran a slideshow of my year as queen up until this time. The first annual Horse Days in Belvidere, IL was my last stop. Here, the Miss Rodeo Illinois Association had a booth full of information and held our Miss Rodeo Illinois 2012 and our (new) Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois competition. Congratulations to Jeanette Hull, MRI 2012, "Lady-In-Waiting” and to Mikhayla DeMott, Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois 2012. I know that they will both do an awesome job representing our state. We were joined by visiting royalty, Shayna VanDerLeest, IJRA Princess.  Also during Horse Days, we served the pancake breakfasts in the mornings with proceeds going to St. Jude and had two nights of PRCA rodeo.

My friend Sarah was nice enough to come along to tape me for an upcoming episode of "Behind the Scenes of a Rodeo Queen" on the Cowboy Lifestyle Network, a reality show based on what queens do to get ready for a rodeo and the responsibilities involved. I got to interview the clown, the announcer, and my queen horse....haha. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again.

In September I have the Tri-State Rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa and a queen trip planned for Omaha, NE. 

Happy Trails and God Bless- Brooke

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WOW ! What a month it's been. I said I wanted to take Illinois to some of the biggest and best rodeos in the country and Canada and I did just that.

So many great memories. It's hard for me to explain this month in a blog, but with just a short recap of each one. 

I spent the first week of July in Cody, Wyoming. Rode in the Fourth of July Parade, shagged cattle, and met Buffalo Bill at one of our autograph signings, attended a V.I.P. Luncheon and had pictures taken with two of my favorite cowboys, Trevor Brazile and Tuf Cooper. 

Next step was the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, happened to be at as well. Although I never actually saw them, just being there was exciting. The visiting queens and I attended the National North American Horse Jumping Finals at Spruce Meadows which was so different from rodeo, but I have a new appreciation for the sport. We also had the best seat in the house for every rodeo performance. 

Pikes Peak or Bust in Colorado Springs, Colorado was my next stop. Again, the queens rode in the opening parade in a carriage, but it poured down rain on us. We were all so worried about our hats I think we forgot about the fans that braved the downpour, but it was still a lot of fun. We visited Pikes Peak and the local Air Force Academy. We also helped out at the PRCA Hall of Education, toured the PRCA Hall of Fame and attended the induction. Every night at the rodeo we helped out with Muttin' Bustin' and signed endless amounts of autographs. The fans were awesome!

After the Pikes Peak of Bust Rodeo performances had ended I attended the Miss Rodeo America Seminar and clinic for three and half days with 39 other queens and/or ladies-in-waiting. Starting at 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. we learned about everything pertaining to being a successful ambassador to rodeo and our home state as well as America. From horsemanship to makeup it was a tremendous amount of knowledge. 

Then it was off to Cheyenne "The Daddy of 'em All" one of my favorite rodeos ever. With only a certain number of queens aloud to visit for 3 consecutive days, we were kept busy with autograph signings, media interviews, serving at the pancake breakfasts, riding in the parades, doing "fly-bys" which we call here in the Midwest "queen runs" as each of us were introduced during the rodeo which is always held during the day. Just with my time there, I saw the Thunderbirds perform and two Extreme Bulls performances. 

After Cheyenne I headed home for our own PRCA Rodeo in Grayslake, Illinois where there were three performances. I was asked to do queen runs, shag cattle, and after each performance I signed autographs and took pictures with some of the rodeo fans. The weather was beautiful and there was a great turnout. It was nice to be able to come back to Illinois and represent one of our own professional rodeos.  

As summer winds down I still have more rodeos left to go, I am now off to Dodge City, Kansas. I can say this, that I truly love this sport and I am so proud to be a part of it.

God Bless- Brooke

Welcome again and welcome summer.

North Platte, Nebraska, is home to Nebraskaland Days, held June 12-16, where I shared my wonderful host family with Heidi Gansen, Miss Rodeo Iowa. Heidi along with myself and McKenzie Haley, Miss Rodeo America, were asked to be interviewed for a local TV station. What a blast, what an honor it was. Also, the other state queens and I toured The Golden Spike (the World's most famous train station), signed autographs and did PR work for the upcoming rodeo.

We held a Kiddie Costume Parade in downtown North Platte. We were also special guests at the Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2012 Pageant and put on a fashion show to show off our chaps and a western dress. I felt at home and at ease at all times. Nebraska people are amazingly nice, I had a wonderful time.

Having to leave Nebraska quickly, I was invited to judge the Illinois High School Rodeo Queen Contest the weekend of the 18th. So I thought...what would be cooler than sitting in a judge's chair? The experience was great and congratulations to Jacy Littrell, the new Illinois High School Rodeo Queen 2011-2012.

While in Altamont, home of the Illinois High School Rodeo State Finals, I rode in the parade, signed autographs, made 4 queen runs and more importantly I hope I made some new rodeo fans.

On June 25th I was asked to give a Queen Presentation and barrel racing clinic at the Pekin Riding Club. Even though it was a smaller fundraiser, it was a huge success. Now I am off to Buffalo Bill's Annual Historic Cody Stampede, in Cody, Wyoming--The Rodeo Capital of the World. My first of many western rodeos and royalty visits.

Westward bound my friends- God Bless- Brooke

May Travels

This month has probably been my slowest since my MRI reign began. However I did make a very important decision concerning my college education. Although I did make it through my first full year without a hitch, I'm taking a leave of absence from Bradley. It is hard to juggle the traveling as Miss Rodeo Illinois with a full time college schedule, plus cheer. I want to represent Illinois to the best of my ability and that means lots of travels, fundraisers, clinics, appearances, speech preparation and studying professional rodeo 24/7, as well as the world's current events. Always being prepared is just part of this amazing journey.

I did have a fundraiser at my hometown Kroger store, signed autographs and sold raffle tickets. I also attended Sharon Camarillo's Horsemanship Workshop Clinic 2nd Level at Black Hawk College in Kewanee. It was a great experience, I learned a lot, and reconnected with Sharon on a personal level. I've known her since my first clinic with her when I was 8 and consider her not only my mentor but a close personal friend who gives me not only professional advice but personal advice as well.

Last but not least, I made an appearance at my old grade school, Limestone Walters. I talked to the students about rodeo and setting goals and striving to achieve whatever they might like to be in the future. It's never too early to dream.

-God Bless- Brooke

Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo

The Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo was held in Oklahoma City, OK. It was the rodeo's 25th Anniversary. The first morning 22 queens, counting me, had tryouts to see who would be in the grand opening by using our horsemanship skills. I was thrilled to be one in five picked for this honor. It was Military Night so we all wore red, white or blue. The next morning we all headed for the shooting range for a shoot out. Mind you, I've never held a gun in my life. I ended up 2nd to Miss Rodeo Utah. Now I have a new hobby...haha. We went to dinner at some pretty cool places and signed autographs at several stores. I had the opportunity to meet Lane Frost's parents and Reba McIntire's sister at Cowboy Church they held on Sunday. They were such nice people and Lane Frost's dad was talking to me about the relatives they have in Illinois. I was totally star struck. What an awesome time I had.

On the 16th I kicked off my fundraiser at the Illinois High School Rodeo at 4 Rocks Arena in Hopedale.  I was asked to do a queen lap and was introduced to the audience. It was nice to have received many compliments on my reign so far this year. Thank you to all. Coming up next month is the Sharon Camarillo Clinic, Easter Seals and St. Jude Appearances, and a visit to my grade school for Arts Day.

God Bless- Brooke

March Travels

Moline and Rockford were the homes of the Bulls n Broncs on the weekends of February 25th and 26th   and the 4th and 5th of March. I always enjoy these events. The first one was the weekend of my coronation in January in Peoria, IL. Before the Bulls n Broncs, some of the cowboys put on a mock rodeo for the kids in the actual rodeo arena and other cowboys and myself signed autographs and took pictures with the fans. The people are gracious and friendly and the kids are awesome. But, I would have to say riding out on a horse and holding the American Flag during the National Anthem is most special to me.

I also met with the people of Easter Seals and have scheduled events coming up with them and a few of the local grade schools. 

The Illinois Horse Fair was held in Springfield on March 4th, 5th, and 6th. It offers a variety of events, clinics, specialty booths, and memberships of associations to horse lovers. I made a visit there on Sunday, the last day. The first two of the three days I was in Rockford for the Bulls n Broncs. I made special appearances, signed autographs at the Horse Creek Outfitters booth and the Illinois Quarter Horse Association booth. It was a very busy yet productive weekend. I believe I signed over 700 autographs. 

On March 12th, 13th, and 14th in Winterset, Iowa, queen clinician Judy Rogers held a three day queen clinic. The first day we critiqued speeches, modeling, and makeup. We also viewed equine science and impromptu questions that may come up in a pageant. Judy was very informative and extremely helpful. The next day we learned about keeping ourselves healthy while traveling, how to make each meal count and keep up with our physical workouts. The last day we rode for 8 hours going over patterns for horsemanship, but mainly basic horsemanship skills. Miss Rodeo Iowa Heidi Gansen and I spent a lot of time together planning out the year and what was to come. This was a great experience as well. Special thanks to Judy Rogers. Coming up in April, the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, my raffle kick-off for a fundraiser and a High School Rodeo visit at Rawlings Arena. 

God Bless- Brooke

February Travels

Hello again...As you know my year officially started January 1 and I am now in "Full Queen" mode.  After I got home from my "very successful" Denver trip I received a special invitation to a Texas Queen clinic which was held January 29-30 in San Antonio by Marjorie Murphy, (a very well respected Queen Clinician, and Miss Rodeo Texas National Director). I met her at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas in December. I knew if I got invited to any of her clinics I wanted to go. Being observed and advised by Marjorie is a good thing! She is quite honest about telling you what areas you need to work on in order to be a successful Queen. I left there pretty confident about the changes I would make that would prepare me for the many challenges that I will face in the coming year as Miss Rodeo Illinois and for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant held in Las Vegas this coming December. It may seem all too early to plan for such an event, but I always want to be at the top of my game (so to speak)! While in San Antonio I visited The Alamo, had dinner on The Riverwalk and chatted with Miss Rodeo Texas and other past and present Texas state queens. What a wonderful experience in January.

The Illinois High School Rodeo Association (IHSRA) held their annual mid-winter meetings and Cowboy Prom February 12-13 in Springfield. I attended to support Illinois high school rodeo, but also because amazing association does so much to support their alumni. I cannot THANK the Illinois High School Rodeo Association enough for their $500.00 donation. Plus since it was Valentine’s weekend, I set up a fundraiser with Valentine goodies with all the proceeds going toward my wardrobe and travels for the year. Thanks to the IHSRA and to everyone who supported my fundraiser.

The following Wednesday, February 16, I left for Kissimmee, Florida, for the Silver Spurs Rodeo where 27 state queens attended. I have to admit that 82 degrees and sunshine was a nice break from the cold here in Illinois. My first night there we all went to dinner and ate fried everything. From turtle, alligator and frog legs to apple dumpling cobbler. Let me be the first to say that it does NOT all taste the same !!!!!!!!!! The next morning we hit Cocoa Beach. A few of my fellow state queens and I all gave surfing a try. It probably wasn't too pretty, but I had a lot of fun. There were three nights of rodeo with Friday being “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night and on Sunday, there was a Special Kids Rodeo we helped with before the actual rodeo began. At the beginning of each rodeo performance we all got the opportunity to make our state queen lap as we were being introduced. After each rodeo we met with the public and signed autographs. Saturday was considered a free day for us so McKenzie Haley Miss Rodeo America, Vanessa Ternes Miss Rodeo South Dakota, and I went to Universal Studios. The three of us got free express passes to the rides and simulations. What an amazing experience this was.

There are just so many things I have learned between my previous blog and this one, but most importantly I have learned that when the door of opportunity opens make sure you run to it, go through it, soak up every second of it, and thank God for it. Hope to see you all at the Horse Fair and Bulls and Broncs in March. God Bless -Brooke

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo

Hello my fellow Cow-Folks,  The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado was one of the coolest places I have ever been to or seen. I met some of my rodeo heroes and my fellow state title holders. The girls are all really nice. They said I had some pretty nice chaps, I have to admit they are pretty flashy. 

During my rodeo appearances I was introduced, ran sponsor flags, and at my last rodeo I was honored by carrying the Canadian Flag for their National Anthem on Canada Night. I have to admit, I was a little nervous being in the spotlight, but I loved every second of it. It was truly a dream come true.

Miss New Mexico and I both rode on the back of a Clydesdale, what a thrill. They really are gentle giants with the sweetest personalities.

My trip to Market "WESA" was gratifying. I was given really cool sunglasses, horse supplements, autograph bag designed by me, and many discounts from top name Western vendors that I will acquire during my reign. Dan Post Boots is also going to continue their sponsorship with us.

Bob Berg donated a pair of beautiful earrings to me, they match the MRI crown and buckle. This was a very gracious and special gift.

My Denver experience was a definite eye opener and I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I am up for the challenge. I plan on representing Illinois to the very best of my ability. Thanks to Robin and Rosemary for everything and for their faith in me.  God Bless Brooke

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