Friday, October 28, 2011

speaking for the crown

I was fourteen years old. I eagerly waited my turn to climb the stairs, walk into the arena press box, as the door closed behind me. I was feeling the butterflies; not of fear, but of sheer exhilaration. As I looked around at the other competitors, it appeared as if I was the only contestant eager and equipped to perform.

Finally, it was my turn to meet the expectant judges. I stood alone, facing four judges, as they sat toying with the scoring sheets that lay blank on the table before them.

You may be wondering, where was she? And why was she so impatient about giving… a speech? I was participating in an event that I love: rodeo. You may be imagining : “Bull riding, mutton busting, barrel racing, calf roping…” No, this is an aspect of rodeo that many rodeo spectators do not see.

I’ll give you a hint. My hair is curled, my cowboy hat has been steamed and shaped, my boots are polished and my western clothes with sequined snaps have been creased. Did you guess? You’re right if you guessed a rodeo-queen competition.

Many do not know what rodeo-queen competitions involve. When most think of queen competitions, they probably think of girls in high heels and glitzy dresses. This is not how a rodeo chooses its queen.

A rodeo-queen competition involves riding a complicated pre-determined horsemanship pattern learned by rider and horse. An interview of each competitor is completed. And my favorite part, an expected well-organized speech delivery.

You may be wondering: what does rodeo-queen competitions have to do with Lads to Leaders? In my world, the two opposites perfectly connect. Lads to Leaders had prepared me in a difficult area of rodeo-queen competition. Unlike most of the other cowgirls, I had my speech memorized and was well prepared to face the judges without becoming unnerved, thanks to Lads to Leaders.

The majority of the other girl’s favorite aspect of the rodeo-queen competition was not speech. In fact, most of them dreaded it. However, speech was my favorite portion because of my previous participation in numerous Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes speech events.

If it had not been for the Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes speech competition, I would not anticipate with great excitement the joy of getting up in front of others and speaking publicly, whether it be a panel of judges adorning cowboy hats and boots or a large crowd of women at church.

{several years and a few rodeo queen competitions later}

Without the training provided by Lads to Leaders, I would not have gone on to win this rodeo queen competition. I am grateful that Lads to Leaders has given me this valuable experience of public speaking. Hopefully, I will used this skill in the future to influence others in life successes.

{note: this article was featured in the Leader Ledger monthly email newsletter sent out by the Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes youth leadership program.} 

{giveaway! miss indie designs}


Purposely at Home said...

oh, the excitement, yes. i think your sis was a little more nervous than you were...yes, i was nervous...maybe some of it was from "sheer exhileration"...i think maybe more of fear...:) you are so *sigh*

siddathornton said...

you are too sweet :) so glad we're following each other now!

and i had never heard of rodeo queen competitions, but it looks like a lot of fun!

Laura Elizabeth said...

Rodeo Queen sounds like my kind of competition!! You did so well, congrats (even though my congratulations are a couple years late!)

Mrs. Pancakes said...

How cool is that!

Kylee said...

aw i LOVE this! I used to go to our local rodeo every year and i LOVED it. I always wished I would have entered things like this... good for you :)

Emma Frances said...

Love this! :] And knowing how to give a speech is a skill you will always be happy you have! I took a public speaking class {which is not nearly as cool as Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes I'm sure} but I have used the things I learned so much in the three years since then. And I want to hear more about this Rodeo Queen stuff! It sounds awesome!!

Chelsea said...

This is great :)

I love the comment you left on my blog!
Thanks for the prayer about my foot!
Have a marvelous Sunday!

Melissa said...

this looks like a lot of fun :) i've never been to a rodeo queen competition. way to go girl! your halloween night sounds fun. i like that you live down a dusty road and away from everyone. that sounds heavenly.

Bubble My Licorice said...

thank you so much for your comment, you are really cute :)

LaynahRose said...

wow that sounds like SO much fun!
aghh I want a horse :/