Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rodeo of the Ozarks

Rodeo week was a hectic one. I originally planned to go into detail about the week but I believe that article would leave your head spinning. It was four days jam packed with events, rodeo queening duties, Rounders duties and lots of R-O-D-E-O! The 70th Annual Rodeo of the Ozarks was a great success. On Saturday night, it was one of th largest crowds recorded and everyone enjoyed the show. I heard nothing but positive comments from everyone in the stands.

Switching from queen mode to rounders in minutes was a bit difficult but everyone helping out made it possible. I had a full schedule until Saturday evening, so I was unable to get my boys rodeo ready. I left a VERY specific schedule of what tack to put on what horse and what time they needed to be ready as well as feeding, watering, cooling down and bathing schedule. I was so worried the entire time about things not getting done but there was only once where there was a slip up and it was quickly fixed. Charley Kay and Byron Mills, Nathan, Sara Avey, Kirk, Sydeny Tisdale, Sydnie Parsons, JJ Burton, Kent and Kelly Morris, David Edwards, Bailey Perdue,
Dean Miller and I'm sure a few others made my week possible! There were multiple times that I felt like a NASCAR pit stop every time I had to switch out horses. This team did a great job taking care of Cody and Max for the week. The queen's contest was a close one and the girls did an outstanding job.

I cannot believe a year ago I heard my name over the loud speaker as the next Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks. I knew it was a dream come true but I never imagined the impact it would have on my life. Last year in my speech I said "Whether rodeo of the Ozarks is a page or an entire chapter in my life I am thankful for the part that it has played and for the friends and memories I have already made!" I am so pleased to say that it has definitely become a life altering chapter. I have made lifelong friendships. My rodeo friends quickly became my very best friends. The experiences are irreplaceable.

 I am forever grateful to my friends, family and sponsors. Lonecreek Performance Horses, Farm Credit Services of Western Arkansas and Rush Springs Ranch kept me on the go all year! Supporters like the Pea Ridge Veterinay Clinic, Arvest Bank of Pea Ridge and Nicole Shelton Photography also played a part in making it happen as well. This has truly been a blessing of year. Thank you to the Rodeo of the Ozarks and their amazing board for this opportunity.

Multiple times I was asked if I am sad to give up my title. My response was an easy one: No, I am not, because it is part of the job as a rodeo queen. My title was a stepping stone to a more enriched future. It has been an outlet to express my passion for rodeo and a chance to be a role model for children. I now hand over the reins to the 2014 Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks, Tori Miller and wish her the very best in the year to come.

2013 Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks
Signing Out

Wrapping Things Up

I've yet found time to share my experiences with you about my last two weeks as Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks. The weekend of June 19th was a crazy one! On that Thursday I represented my title and rode with the Rounders at the Siloam Rodeo. Olivia and I pulled up an hour early! Yep, first ones there but I would much rather have extra time instead of not enough. That was the first rodeo I was going to be
using two different horses so I wanted to be sure I ample opportunity to get them both cleaned, tacked and warmed up. It was a bit of a strech and a little hectic but both horses did a great job. There was a bobble in the rounders routine with a miscount on our wagon wheel turn but it was soon recovered. My favorite part of the rodeo was getting to visit with some of my Farm Credit Family as well as several other close family friends.

On Friday, after work, it was off to the Cassville, MO Rotary Rodeo. Rounders had a clean run! Cassville was pretty laid back and everyone really enjoyed it. After getting home around 1am I had to get everything in line for the following day. I woke up at 6am to feed, get myself ready and head to Westville, OK to judge the queen contest. The girls did a fantastic job and Star Griscom did an outstanding job hosting the 2nd Annual Contest. As soon as the judging portion ended it was home to load up and make a b-line for the opposite direction because it was back to Cassville, MO.

Cody carried the flag during the National Anthem and did a superb job! He has handled everything like such a champ. One thing I love about him is that he tries to give 110% at everything he does. We stayed for the rodeo that night and enjoyed a relaxed evening after a great run.

The following day it was back to Westville for judging the final portion of the queen contest. Star and her current girls presented the judges with the sweetest gift baskets full of sweet treats, a throw blanket, coffee cup and several other small gifts. The lunch that was provided was a delicous brisket smoked overnight!

PLEASE NOTICE: nowhere in the above rodeo appearances did I experience any type of major mishaps! For one of my last experiences with my title I finally made it through a weekend with safe travels and a 100% positive experience! We made it everywhere on time and had the horses did fantastic. God is so good!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All In a Days Work

At 5am I hopped out of bed to curl my hair and clean my tack (which was covered from the muddy slush we rode in for practice on Sunday). I got to work a little early because I knew I would be leaving earlier to get to the rodeo on time. 11am rolled around and Pat, the Rodeo of the Ozarks pageant director, picked up Rikki and I for the Kiwana's meeting. We joined several other board members and enjoyed lunch at Western Sizzlin while networking with local business men and women. I had an opportunity to speak about my travels throughout the year and the upcoming events at the rodeo.

At 2pm Pat and I had a photoshoot with the Arkansas Life Magazine. I returned to work for about an hour then headed to pick up Sach's trailer since mine is STILL in the shop. Only to get to Sach and Codi's and find that since we used Nathan's lifted truck to haul the trailer last time, the jack was set way to high to set down on a GMC pickup. Sach tried his truck too since it's a "real", aka Ford, but that didn't work out either. We had to stack several blocks of wood on the bed of the truck, jacked it up so that the weight was off of the trailer then set the jack up so that when we lowered it back down it would fit over the ball. This is probably a bit much to understand without seeing the hand motions I'm doing to portray the story... But it boils down to a huge mess that took up way too much time when we were already in a rush. After getting the trailer, Olivia and her horse we had to go Maximus. I think I shall be a professional trailer puller before long because if you saw the narrow turns into my driveway I make, I think you'd be pretty impressed.

Thankfully, we made it to the rodeo with plenty of time to get ready! We ran the rounders routine then lined up for the grand entry. Max did great and had a stunning queens run!

I quickly changed into my rounders gear and we ran through a few more times. Apparently during my speedy switch I buckled Max's rein to the nose band, tie down ring instead of to the bit. The crazy thing was that we ran through the routine to practice with his tack messed up but it didn't bother him once... when we got into the arena for the performance... that all changed. As soon as we ran out he blew up and my control went to zero. I highly recommend never riding with one rein and learned to ALWAYS double check your tack! After the rodeo I was completely humiliated and irritated at myself for not double checking my work but it seems that everything happens for a reason and the following day I found that reason out!

I decided that regardless of the tack problem, Max is a much better queen horse than Rounders horse and it would be easier not to have to switch tack. I got the wild hair to see what my boyfriend's horse was made of. Mr. Cody is a big, lean, sweet-faced, 12 year old sorrel who has done a handful of trail rides in the past five years. I rode him on Friday, brought him to the arena on Saturday then Rounders practice and he was a ROCKSTAR!! Cody loves to be rode and loves to be pushed. He is a bit out of shape but with a few more wet saddle pads he's going to be ready to Rock-N-Roll at Ozarks.

More updates & Photos to come. 9 days until Rodeo of the Ozarks and I invite you to join the fun at Parsons Stadium July 2-5.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rodeo Old Fort Days

I was up until 2am packing and getting ready for the rodeo then up at 6am to get ready to go... Those sleep hours seem to be becoming an unfortunate trend but it's worth it! I was so excited about Rodeo Old Fort Days and seeing some of my rodeo friends that I didn't care much about the lack of sleep. I didn't plan on bringing Shiloh because I didn't want him to be in the way. I went inside to grab another load of things to put in my truck and returned to find that Shiloh and jumped over the tailgate into the
truck! He was not going to be left behind. His love is so perfect. On my way out I met with one of my sponsors, The Dusty Rose Boutique, to pick up the most comfortable boots I've ever worn and some very adorable jewelry. Then headed to the tire shop to get a stud put in my trailer tire but they didn't have to time get to it... So Ft. Smith Bound it was!

I got Max settled and parked the trailer then got ready for the Mayors Luncheon. During the lunch, the contestants answered impromptu questions and did a bit of modeling. We had a delicious meal and a wonderful time of mingling and catching up with everyone. I had the pleasure of rooming with the 2014 Miss Rodeo Arkansas State Fair, Beth Barnett, and we definitely made some great memories! The girls all signed autographs at Roland Farm and Feed Supply before the performance. The rodeo had a great turn out! After the rodeo I took care of Max and headed back to the trailer and as I walking up to the door Stephanie comments "Oh I thought you were rooming with Beth." "I am" I said. She replies, "Umm that's definitely the next trailer down." I'm going to blame that on the fact that it was dark and about 12:30pm.

Signing Autographs! Are you tough enough to wear pink??
Our camper didn't have any warm water. I'm not a baby about many things but a cold shower is one thing I can barely stand. But the sport of rodeo is a family event..  I trudged on over to the Stamp's camper and took a speedy shower in the dark. I hung out for a while and visited with the talented Mrs. Sherry Smith and Riki Smith then Katie came in to practice her speech and ask for some pointers. That's the part of I love about rodeo.. everyone is willing to lend a helping hand to one another. Anyways, after having hairspray caked hair covered in dirt and sweat, it is always so nice to get cleaned off. The light in the bathroom didn't work but there was some light coming through the window. Just enough for me to realize that what I thought was my travel size conditioner, that I just lathered in my hair, was actually makeup remover... Yep, I managed to pack makeup remover for conditioner! I can tell you that makeup remover does not remove remove tangles. Thankfully the pageant has wonderful sponsors and we were given Cowboy Magic shampoo and conditioner so when I got back to my camper I smeared some in my hair to help get rid of the rats nest that had formed in my hair throughout the day! Beth and I stayed up chatting and then called it a night around 2 am!

6am came soon but Shiloh and I were up and around to clean out Max's stall, wash him down, and feed and water him. Thankfully the weather wasn't 100 degrees but the humidity from the rain made the stalls stuffy so I wanted to get him cooled down. After getting him cared for I got myself ready so Beth and I headed to the fashion show. Of course her phone brings us through the ghetto and we thought we'd just stop for breakfast.. of course there is no sign of any food so we have to drive out the way to a Burger King where my cup of oatmeal was more like water!

The fashion show was loads of fun and every girl nailed their speeches!! We concluded by several of us meeting up at Logan's for a wonderful lunch! I thought I was going to go back to the camper and take a nap but Harper Stadium was wide open and Max had never ran a flag before so I rode for a good hour or more and Maximus did wonderful!

 That night while signing autographs in the stands, a group boys came up and one said "Your shirt is BEEAAUUTiful! And you're sooo pretty." Needless to say I hung out there for a while chatting and answering questions. They were so priceless!

What a great weekend it was in Ft. Smith Arkansas! And I didn't even get lost!! I made it to a rodeo with no mishaps! But I spoke to soon. With sleepy eyes I pulled into the drive and back up my trailer to hear a screeching sound and smelled something burning. Which turned out to my rear right trailer wheel bearing, u-joint and break! My guardian angel was watching out because if we would have gone another mile. I believe it would have flew off because that is exactly what happened when Nathan and Drew were taking it to the shop the next day. It could have been a bad a ordeal. And while I'm still trailer-less a week later... everyone was safe and sound and I have some great friends who are willing to loan a trailer. I don't know how I manage or how I end up being so blessed but I do!

Live life to it's fullest and love every chance that you get!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Something Borrowed

You know that part in the Disney movies where nothing else can possibly go wrong then it starts to rain... Soon after the dramatic lightening starts and a storm begins? That's kind of how I felt lately. As of today I am paying on a truck that I don't get to drive because it has one problem after another, my horse needs adjusted.. again and his teeth need floated, my trailer has had 2 flats in 2 weeks and I need to get new tires, most of my paycheck goes to my horses and I'm not getting the work hours I expected to get over the summer.

That being said; with all of the situations I still can't believe how fortunate I am. Olivia and I haul together to Rounders practice. She is borrowing a horse that's not much further to drive, plus we get to do some catching up on the way to practice. As we were chatting I notice smoke billowing from the right side of my trailer and immediately knew it's the tires. I thought I would be cheap and use the old tires off of my F150 for my trailer to avoid getting all new tires after my blow out last week. Two words: Bad. Idea. The tire shop didn't warn me that the tires pretty much didn't fit and were rubbing on the trailer. We pulled into a church parking lot and hopped out of the truck. As soon as I checked the tire, I was on the phone with Nathan; at the same time, Olivia was on the phone with Kent, one of our Rounders coordinators, to let them know we would be late. We unloaded the horses and shortly after; a sweet man from the church arrived to help us out since we didn't have a jack. After removing the tire, it was obvious that if we had gone any further; it would have been a blow out. The tire wall was rubbing the trailer! Nathan and John showed up with a patch kit but the tire was past help... We called Sach and without hesitation he pulled his truck and trailer to the church so we could get to practice. Nate and John were sweet enough to load our tack and clothes into Sach's rig while we got the horses loaded.  Sach unloaded our horses so we could change into our Rounders outfits and make a run to the arena to get our pictures done. Of course it was picture day... My hair was flat and I lost a back to my earring. We ended up making it, only 15 minutes late! Good thing we left super early with intentions of getting warmed up and having plenty of time to do makeup without rushing. After our group and individual pictures I threw an Impact Gel pad borrowed from David Edwards with Lone Creek Performance Horses and a saddle borrowed from Rikki Taylor because mine isn't fitting Maximus correctly then got warmed up.

Practice was productive and I cannot wait to see the finished routine! Our first rodeo is in less than 3 weeks. On the way home we had to run all over place and first dropped off my horse then Olivia's and she brought me to my trailer then back home... The next morning I woke up early to get things ready for a busy day ahead. Got a tire put on my wheel for a spare then changed my flat but not without an offer from my sweet friend Dan to run to the rescue if I had an ounce of trouble. I took my trailer to the shop where the tire man wanted to put different sized tires.. which didn't seem like the best idea so.... home it was and off to work. That afternoon and throughout the day I had numerous board members and friends checking to make sure everything was okay. My rodeo family is simply the best.

A borrowed truck, a borrowed saddle pad, a borrowed saddle and borrowed hauling rig... if it wasn't for those that have helped me along the way, I literally would not be able to follow my dreams. At times it is so challenging to keep my eyes on the prize. It would be so easy to throw in the towel and call it quits. It would be less stressful, less expensive and less of a hassle. But I don't want less. I want more. I want to be the best I can be and to be an example for every child that has a dream that seems too far out of reach. I may not have the best of anything but I do have a support team that is absolutely amazing! I will say one thing: I don't admit defeat. I will not give up on my dreams and I will not quit when the going gets tough. Everything happens to us for a reason.

Live life with no regrets! P.S. I got my pictures done for my Miss Rodeo Arkansas Application!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rooster Days Rodeo... NOT carnival

A huge thank you to Steve Smith for the hauling truck!!
In preparation for this trip I printed out and got everything together the night before so there would, hopefully be nothing to worry about. I finished my final at noon and with excitement of the semester being completed, rushed home to finish loading and headed to pick up Miss Rodeo Old Fort Days, Jessica Stamps. I am so thankful that we live only a short 15 minutes away so it's super easy haul together. Right on track, we head toward Broken Arrow, OK around 2:45. It's meant to be an hour and 45 minute drive... it didn't quite turn out to be like that.

We discovered that Jessica's and my own inability to give directions or quite frankly follow signs is a terrible combination. We somehow make it to Broken Arrow Oklahoma around 4:30, just in time for rush hour traffic. At that point, we became a bit skeptical of our printed directions, so we pull off of the interstate to a gas station to ask for directions. Jessica asks how to get to the rodeo and the clerk confidently answers by giving directions, complete with road names and approximations of the distance to go before each turn. Glad to know that we were only 20 minutes away, we follow our directions and soon arrive at a steeet lined with cars and people mingling. We ask a traffic directing police officer where contestant parking is and he quickly replies he doesn't know and motions for us to continue on. We stop to ask an official looking guy the same thing. He has no idea. So we make turn and see a couple of police officers blocking a road to ask where the rodeo parking was. Their response... "Rodeo? What Rodeo?" After spending some time on their radio's we discover that the rodeo grounds were 18 miles in the direction we just came from!! The lady who gave us directions sent us to Rooster Days Carnival!

We defeatedly gave in and decide to give in and plug the address into our phones. Which takes us in the general direction of the rodeo grounds... then spins us in a circle... 3 TIMES!! Because the address we were given was incorrect! Looking for any sign of rodeo, we notice a man in a PT cruiser wearing a cowboy hat that got off on the same exit as us so Jessica says "Follow that man in the cowboy hat!!" It sounded like the best idea and ended up getting us to the rodeo grounds, still with time to spare!

Jessica and I had not been to the Rooster Days Rodeo before but found that it was a much smaller scale than expected. We warmed up our horses then found the dangerous part of rodeos... THE BLING. We were very good though and didn't spend any money (since we just wasted and arm and a leg on diesel to tour Broken Arrow, OK with a horse trailer). We had the pleasure of meeting up with the ACRA queen, Karli Jones. Unfortunately, we did not get do a queens run but pushing cows was a great experience to get our horses out for the first rodeo of many to come. The sound system kept getting static and both of our horses were beside themselves about the noise! But we were glad to have them in the arena to get their nerves settled down, it is so important for a horse to be able to succeed in the arena in any situation. This was Max's third time to EVER push cows and I could not be more proud of him! He was really watching and knew where we were pushing them to after the first time but kept getting a little excited every time the chute would open because he didn't get why he had to wait to chase them. After the rodeo we were treated to sandwiches at the hospitality tent and they seemed to be the best sandwiches ever since neither of us had a chance to grab lunch.

Thankfully we made it out of Broken Arrow with a lot less trouble than we made it in. On our way home we went to drop of Jessica's horse since she is going out of town next week and I had the pleasure of meeting a good friend of hers, Jerry, who was sweet as pie and had so many stories to tell! Unfortunately, we had to wrap up the stories because it was already 1am and I had to up at 6am the next morning. We are on our way, headed through Siloam  when we here loud dragging sound so we turn down the radio and listen closer to see sparks flying off the tire on the trailer. Before we could even get pulled over I was on the phone with my boyfriend, Nathan. I tell him that we had a flat tire and thankfully he heads straight our way. When we get out of the truck in the Walgreens parking lot.. we realize it's not just a flat. It is a straight up blow out! So we unload Max (poor thing didn't know what to think) and pull out our lawn chairs because Nate has a better part of 45 minute drive... or with the way he drives it's more like a 30 minute drive. As we were sitting there, a police officer pulls over and were sure he's going to check on us. NOPE, the man in his uniform and cop car does not even look our way! He gets out, gets a Redbox movie and leaves..We thought it to be  bit strange because wouldn't anyone who sees two young girls with tire blow out, a horse and a dog in the parking lot in town at 1:30am inquire to see if we at least had some help coming? Maybe he didn't see the blow out and thought we were just tired of driving and decided to get comfy at the Walgreens...

Thankfully Nate was to the rescue and put on the spare tire to find the spare, only to find that it was a different size than the others! We didn't have any other option though we went drop off Jessica and finally made it home and unloaded around 3:00am. I can say one thing; rodeo has definitely taught me a lot of "live and learn" experiences!

Let rodeo season begin!
"Ride with passion & Rope your dreams"
2013 Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks
Kelsey Parmenter

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Loving Life

I am a week behind on my posts! With finals this week, it has been tough to find time to keep all of my ducks in a row. The week before last was a whirl wind! Monday I visited Lowell Elementary for a Horse Tales event (wrote about in previous article, Wednesday was the stick horse rodeo at Parsons Stadium, Thursday was Farm Friends followed by another stick horse race on Friday! I think Rodeo of the Ozarks was represented at most of the children's Ag promotions programs going on in the area.

I was fortunate to perform our Rounders routine with talented girls who have quickly become my great friends! For only having had 2 full practices at a lope, the performance went rather well. After performing we rushed to our station to do face tattoos for some 1700 1st graders. At the stick horse rodeo Springdale students get to spend the day learning about different rodeo events and aspects of western life by going to different stations that have activities such as line dancing, cow milking and calf dummy roping. When mingling with the kids I'd ask them their favorite part of the days events so far and almost every one of them replied that it was "watching the girls ride the horses." That basically made my day!

At Farm Friends is quite similar to the Stick Horse Rodeo but for children of all ages are brought to see different aspects and portions of farm life by looking at interactive stations such as poultry production, learning about horses, rabbits and other animals. I was stationed with Jim House, the farrier. I had just visited with him at Horse Tales as he was teaching the kids about shoeing horses there as well! I had the privilege to tell kids about how and why we shoe horses. They had several sample shoes to look at hold. One boy picked up the biggest one and said "this one weighs 50 feet heavy!" Not long after, a young man walked up to me, put his hands on his hips and said "how many packs is this horse?" Pointing to the horse that Jim was shoeing.  I told him I wasn't quite sure what he was referring too. So he grabbed my hand and pulled me around the front of the horse and points to his chest and asked "You know, how strong is he?" That's when I realized he was assuming that a horse has chest muscles like a person... a 4-pack or 6-pack! It was all I could do not to start laughing but I held it together and explained to him we don't tell a horses strength quite the same way we do a persons. Then there was boy (pictured middle photo on the right) who after I gave him an autograph sheet he started shaking, jumping up down and showing it off! I don't think I've seen anyone get so excited! His reaction was so precious!

Friday was a re run of  Wednesday, getting to be with the Rodeo of the Ozarks Rounders team. Shiloh became the official Rounders Mascot... we decided we're going to get him a shirt made and the whole nine yards! It was another day of face painting. Just when we thought we were finished and picked everything up... another 50  students show up, so without chairs and only a few girls... it was crunch time but no child left without a face tattoo.