By Jason Schmucker
When the rodeo comes back to Waconia on July 14 and 15, it won’t be coming alone. This year, the Waconia Professional Rodeo will feature the coronation of Miss Rodeo Minnesota 2018.
“Miss Rodeo Minnesota is the ambassador for professional rodeo in the state of Minnesota,” said Ashley Fuchs, national director of the Miss Rodeo Minnesota Association. “She, as our state representative, will go on to compete in Las Vegas … for the title of Miss Rodeo America in December.”
According to the organization’s website, the Miss Rodeo Minnesota Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing scholarship awards to young women in Minnesota to maximize their educational potential and the opportunity to represent the western way of life, promote the sport of professional rodeo, and the state by utilizing their public relations skills and public speaking ability.
According to the association, the Miss Rodeo Minnesota Pageant is held annually to select young ladies who have the desire and enthusiasm to serve as a goodwill ambassador in the State of Minnesota for the sport of professional rodeo.
While only the coronation will be featured during the actual rodeo, other pageant events will be held in Waconia over the course of the two days, Fuchs said.
“We are still finalizing some details. We’re hopefully doing at least one portion of our pageant at (Mackenthun’s) Rib Fest,” she said. “We might also be doing something at Waconia Dodge, and then we’re still finalizing another venue.”
Fuchs said that community members are encouraged to come out to other pageant events.
“In addition to attending the rodeo, they can attend our pageant events, as well,” she said.
Before taking the crown of Miss Rodeo Minnesota, Miss Teen Rodeo Minnesota or Junior Miss Rodeo Minnesota, contestants will have to show off their moves on horseback throughout the pageant.
“It consists of, first, the horsemanship pattern. The girls will get on horses that they have never ridden and be required to do a set pattern. And then then they do rail work – they’ll ask (the horses) to walk, trot, run and gallop and be judged on that,” Fuchs said. “The other portions, the contestants have to give an impromptu speech, they have a personal interview, photogenic, there will be a fashion show portion, a written test and modeling.”
Fuchs likened the pageantry to another American tradition.
“It’s kind of like Miss America, with instead of a talent it’s a horsemanship pattern,” she said.