I am so excited y’all decided to visit the blog today because I have something different in store. I am very passionate about midwestern cowboy culture and supporting rodeo in the heartland states. Since we are not considered a western lifestyle hotspot, I want to bring attention to those in the industry that represent our heritage proudly on every stage.
In that spirit, I reached out to Shelby Chapman, our 2016 Miss Rodeo Iowa. Not only is she beautiful, stylish and an advocate of everything agriculture, but she also finished as the third runner up at the Miss Rodeo America pageant at the NFR last year. It has been fun to watch her journey to rodeo success as we actually were in the Iowa State Rodeo Club together in college. Read on to see what she has to say about her experience as a rodeo queen, midwestern rodeo culture and more!
What made you interested in rodeo pageantry?
I love the sport of rodeo and everything it entails. I actually grew up in town and rode a horse for the first time when I was thirteen years old. After that ride, I was determined to purchase a horse so I could compete in rodeos. I picked up pop cans for cash, worked for a local sheep farm and the town newspaper company delivering papers.
Within several months I purchased my first horse and began competing in local rodeos and jackpots across the Midwest. It was later that I learned about rodeo queening and the opportunity to represent the sport. I started competing in rodeo queen pageants when I was seventeen and held several titles prior to earning Miss Rodeo Iowa in 2016.
What was the focus of your Miss Rodeo Iowa platform?
My platform throughout my year was known as the burlap ribbon project to raise awareness about rodeo, agriculture and the western industry as a whole. I shared my platform with those I met throughout my travels as Miss Rodeo Iowa. I have now expanded by creating a Facebook and Instagram page to educate others.
Only 2% of America’s population now calls themselves farmers. Because of this, it can cause a lack of education due to the fact that everyone does not live on a farm and experience the everyday lifestyle like Americans once did. My goal is to positively educate others about the western industry and I look forward to expanding it in the future!
Describe your experience being in the Miss Rodeo America pageant.
The Miss Rodeo America Pageant was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the Wrangler National Final Rodeo. It had always been my dream to compete for the prestigious title. For 8 days I was literally living my dream! There were 32 state queens and I who competed for the prestigious Miss Rodeo America title along with over one hundred thousand dollars in scholarships and prizes.
We ran on a few hours a sleep each day and were judged on events such as horsemanship, public speaking, personal interviews, appearance, personality runway modeling and written test. I am extremely proud as I placed 3rd Runner Up and received not only a lifetime of memories but nine thousand dollars in scholarships. It was the first time Iowa has been in the top 4 in over twenty years.
What are your thoughts on representing Iowa, a state not typically known for rodeo?
Iowa may not be known for rodeo, but we are a larger rodeo state than most expect. Iowa hosts ten Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association rodeos, one of which was recently inducted into the PRCA Hall of Fame along with hosting numerous amateur rodeos all year long.
Iowa is also home to Barnes PRCA Rodeo and Three Hills Rodeo Company. They are prestigious PRCA stock contractors providing stock at the Wrangler National Final Rodeo. I enjoyed representing the state of Iowa as the 2016 Miss Rodeo Iowa and positively educating others about Iowa’s rich western heritage!
In your opinion, how should we go forward preserving the western lifestyle and promoting rodeo in Iowa?
I personally believe education is key to solving problems. When I attended high school, my school at the time did not offer an agriculture class or FFA, Future Farms of America Program. I would like to see agriculture related classes in schools across America. Less than two percent of the population now feeds America.
It is extremely important for the consumers to be properly educated about where their food comes from. With proper education we have the ability to positively promote the agriculture industry and an ability to interest others in becoming involved.
How would you describe your style?
I work as a swine fieldman overseeing pig producers and providing everyday guidance when it comes to pig care. On an daily basis, my style is blue cotton jumpsuits and rubber boots! But really, my out of the hog barn style is mix of western, vintage, boho. I always wear my favorite pair of Justin cowboy boots and Wrangler skinny jeans. I love neutral colors, fringe, fur, flowers, jean shirts and boot rugs.
Do you have designers or brands that influence your style?
I am in love with Justin boots. Not only are they a major sponsor of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Miss Rodeo America pageant, but they make high quality and gorgeous cowboy boots for booth in and out of the rodeo arena. Wrangler jeans are a must for me. Wrangler is also a major sponsor of the PRCA and MRA Organizations and provides fashionable and quality products.
Shout out to my favorite boutique- Savannah Sevens located in central Kansas. I found Savannah Seven western boutique on social media several years ago and it’s where purchase a majority of my clothing and jewelry.
What were the biggest highlights of your time as Miss Rodeo Iowa?
I loved every moment of my experience as Miss Rodeo Iowa! I traveled around thirty thousand miles, 8 states, 19 rodeos, and numerous parades, fairs, schools and nursing home visits along the way. I enjoyed being a spokesman for the Miss Rodeo Iowa title, the state of Iowa, the PRCA and Iowa’s western industry.
My favorite part was the people I met along the way- whether it was the fans, the rodeo contract personal, the contestants or fellow rodeo queens. Those that are involved in the western industry are some of the nicest people you will meet.
If you guys liked getting to know Shelby, go give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram. She is doing great things for our sport, the agricultural industry and the state of Iowa!