I feel like my life is stuck on a fast forward button. Can anyone else believe that it is already July? My time as Queen has been flying by!
Over the holiday I had the privilege of attending the Big A, held by the Georgia Quarter Horse Association, which was an amazing show filled with fun exhibitor parties, holiday surprises, Show for the Dough opportunities, and futurity classes sponsored by Premier Quarter Horses. Not to mention wonderful prizes and an exhibitor room stocked with yummy popsicles to keep everyone cool on a hot summer day.
I also met some incredible individuals from the south who were either competing or watching the show. And they asked asked me some pretty tough questions...
What’s been your favorite moment as Congress Queen? What has surprised you the most throughout your journey?
Wow. I realized that in all of the hustle and bustle that has been graduating, working, and queening, I haven’t yet taken a moment to digest the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is Congress Queen.
While I have many unforgettable moments, I haven’t yet shared details on the impact I have been able to have locally in Columbus, Ohio. The ability to engage with youth from my home state is humbling. I remember having similar ambitious hopes and dreams when I was growing up and having the opportunity to visit these individuals as Congress Queen truly makes my growth feel full-circle.
From ages 8 to 18, the 4-H, FFA, and collegiate equestrian enthusiasts I have had the chance to speak with over the past few months have truly reminded me how much potential we really have to follow the passions that we love. They’ve also grounded me in a way that continuously encourages me to think about the legacy I hope to leave as Queen as well as the work that I still aspire to do after the crown formally comes off in October.
And perhaps the ability to give back to my community and inspire other young women to be confident in themselves and cherish their unique qualities have been some of the moments I treasure most. Please enjoy these highlights of some of my local Ohio appearances!
The Ohio 4-H Public Speaking and Communications Contest
I was asked to judge the Ohio 4-H Public Speaking and Communications Contest, an event that featured many prepared speeches and presentations by 4-H members across Ohio.
I learned about famous horses from battle, the importance of rodeo, how to treat and prevent intestinal diseases, and even how to calculate my horse’s temperature, pulse, and respiration. I listened to presentations about identifying factors that cause horse-related stress and even saw (complete with props) how to properly and thoroughly groom your horse from head to toe! These kiddos had so much heart. I know firsthand that speaking in front of a crowd is not easy, and you could tell how much they practiced and prepared their speeches.
Honestly, without Mrs. Finnegan’s guidance in our high school FFA class, I’m not even sure I could’ve given as good of a presentation. And some of these young ladies were only ten years old! Public Speaking is such a valuable skill. It not only teaches us the importance of formulating our thoughts and opinions, but speech provides a platform for us to educate, advocate, and empower others. It also gives us an opportunity to stop, listen, and learn about interests or viewpoints that we may not have heard otherwise and are different from our own.
I am excited to continue seeing how these individuals will continue to take advantage of contests like these to tell the world all that they have learned through their robust 4-H programs.
Keep working hard and remember, never be afraid to use the voice you have been given!
All American Youth Horse Show
Next, I hit the All American Youth Horse Show, one of my all-time favorite horse shows as a youth exhibitor.
This was an emotional day and evening for me. As an extremely grateful scholarship recipient, a ten year competitor, and a three-time western pleasure champion, the Youth Show was the place where my first long ribbon and major title were earned. There is so much community, support, and pride among the exhibitors at this show. Honestly, it always felt like a mini Congress to me. Showing against your age group and then coming back to an 18 and under championship was an indescribable thrill, not to mention having the opportunity to show with all of your closest friends.
Daren Wright and the entire AAYHS staff have been such a huge part of my life not only personally, but as a student and a rider. They truly support every youth and take measures to ensure the Youth Show is a magically rewarding experience that will continue even beyond your youth years.
To all exhibitors, thank you for letting me hand you ribbons, stand in pictures, and share in your celebratory moments that I know you worked extremely hard for!
And good luck to the scholarship winners, who just so happen to be BUCKEYES! (The second best place on Earth next to The Columbus Fairgrounds!)
The Ohio High School Rodeo Queen Contest
A final highlight I’d like to share with you all was a day spent in Urbana as a judge for the 2018 Ohio High School Rodeo Queen Contest. Three lovely ladies completed an interview, an impromptu speech, a rehearsed speech, modeling, and horsemanship, in which one lucky lady was chosen to represent Ohio in the National High School Rodeo Queen Contest.
These ladies were smart and confident, not to mention excellent riders! Each had their own unique personality, interests, and involvement in the community that it was so hard to make the final decision! I just hope that each contestant remembers that regardless of outcome, or title on the sash, they still have the power to make a difference and influence the lives of others. What a fun experience being a part of the reign of another beautiful queen!
As always, thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing you all throughout the remainder of the year!