Miss Rodeo America 2017: AQHA Proud

This Fourth of July, what could be more all-American than rodeo and American Quarter Horses?

Miss Rodeo America 2017 proudly carrying the American Flag while riding an American Quarter Horse. Photo Credit: Robert King Photography

I’ve ridden 29 Quarter Horses as Miss Rodeo America to date. That's almost more than I've ridden in my 25 years of life before winning the crown!








It has been six months, and I still find myself with an awkward grin when people ask me who I am and I tell them: “I am Miss Rodeo America.”

It seems like just yesterday, I was a horse-crazy little kid trying to convince my non-horse-crazy, dairy-farming parents that I needed a horse. My prudent dad’s exact words used to be, “If it doesn't make money, it doesn't come on this place.” In other words, if it wasn't black and white, a cow and made milk, or had the potential to make milk, and it was a horse, it wasn't welcome on my parents’ dairy farm. Me being very determined (a trait I ironically inherited from my dad), I reminded my parents daily how obsessed I was with horses. They finally gave in! My sweet Dutch dairy-farming parents hoped it was a phase that would pass, but that wasn't the case.

My first pony, Johnny, led to my first American Quarter Horse, fittingly named “Lucky,” which led to competing in playdays, then rodeos, more horses and eventually my first queen contest - which ultimately led me to becoming Miss Rodeo America. Isn't it beautiful when the American dream comes to fruition and a first-generation American has the opportunity to become Miss Rodeo America?

Being raised in a traditional Dutch family, I have a deep appreciation for our country and American culture. What an honor it is to represent not only the equine, agricultural and rodeo industries, but to also represent the opportunities and possibilities of living in the United States of America! From the time I was old enough to think for myself, I’ve beamed with pride for this great nation. Even as a small child, I remember the chills I would get each time I heard the national anthem played and saw the American flag wave. Growing up, we never missed a Fourth of July celebration. My preferred method of celebrating Independence Day was always a rodeo with a dependable Quarter Horse underneath me. This year will be hard to beat - both of those things will happen, and I will proudly be wearing the Miss Rodeo America crown and banner while doing so.

I don't know that I'll be able to hold back the tears of joy on July 4, 2017. What an honor it is to represent the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association where our American Quarter Horses are not only our partners, but our livelihood. I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud to ride an American Quarter Horse.