Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The last four days has been an exciting whirlwind... to say the least! I started out my travels at the Sport Show in Great Falls where my lovely teen counterpart, Samantha Manley, and I assisted at the Montana Trappers Association Booth. We always have fun together and I can't wait to see where this year brings us! We then booked it down to Helena to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Banquet. We were graced with the prescence of Kate Ruland, Megan Hardy, Big Sky Prorodeo Princess- Libby Gurnett, and Miss Red Lodge Home of Champions Little Miss-ShayLe Hildebrand. As well, I got to see Missy Sampson, who was a judge this year at the Miss Rodeo Montana Pageant. It seems like everywhere I go, there is a family of rodeo friends waiting and I absolutely love it. Libby and ShayLe did an awesome job carrying around auction items with us and I was really proud of how mature and gracious they were. Sam, her wonderful Mother Liz, and I then decided that it was best we headed home to Missoula. I had my flight to San Antonio to catch at 7 AM. It was funny because on my flight down to Texas, I had a very special passenger aboard the plane- Matt Sherwood, team roping world champion in 2008. I thought he looked familiar from all those PSN's I read but didn't really know who it was until he started teasing me about being late for the rodeo. I got a chance to check out his gold buckle and found out who he was. Turns out, he was the late one. I think he barely missed his run in San Antonio. That's life, I guess!
From the pictures you may have notice a very special hat that I am wearing. Jimmy just got finished making my Miss Rodeo Montana hat and the pictures truly do not do it justice. He made it a chocolate with brindle hide on the top and a longhorn steer in the side. The crystals around the brim are gold. Jimmy did a one of a kind job and I would like to thank him again for all he does for Miss Rodeo Montana and the organization.
After this trip, I felt truly blessed. I got to meet Miss Rodeo Texas, Arkansas, and Oregon, and I had a blast with all three of them. We gave pep talks to FFA kids and calf scramblers, watched two of the best rodeo performances I have ever seen, ate the best Texas meals, and met some very hospitable and kind people. It seems like no matter where you go, you always see someone you know through rodeo. My friend Josh is interning with Texas Thunder- the Priefert horses. He just so happened to be performing in San Antonio and took Miss Rodeo Texas and I behind the scenes of the operation. That was pretty neat. I had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie Murphy, who is the director for Miss Rodeo Texas, and Julie Callison, my host mom. I also met someone who sings on my radio a lot.... Taylor Swift!!! I have never seen a better concert. She is a performer and class act. Miss Rodeo Texas, Miss Rodeo Oregon and I were going to get ice cream so I needed to use the ATM. We entered the AT and T arena where the rodeo is held to find the ATM and heard Taylor and her band practicing. We were so excited and we ran in and got our own private concert. It was just the three of us! Later that night, after she performed in front of over 16,000 people, we decided to see if we could get a chance to meet her. Avery, Miss Rodeo Texas, pulled some strings and got us down in the tunnel to wait. We waited for a long time for her to come out of her dressing room and almost gave up. We said that if she wasn't out in five minutes we were going to leave. Then, out she came! We were so excited. She was so nice and humble. I really enjoyed meeting her. I got a few autographs for the scrapbook and got some pictures taken with her. I will be posting those soon! Taylor Swift had a song that talked about faith and she spoke about how she never would have thought she would be standing on a stage in front of all those people doing what she loved to do. She talked about how hard she worked and how she begged her parents to take her to Nashville to record. I was really inspired by what she said, and in a small form I can relate to it because I feel so blessed to be Miss Rodeo Montana. I believe if your mindset is right and you put enough hard work into something, you will have so many miracles happen. Taylor Swift is living proof of that.
I had an amazing time in Texas. Thanks to the MRMI and Jody for setting the trip up. It was a unique and entertaining trip!!


  1. You look so beautiful Leslie, keep up the amazing work! I will see you at the NRA Finals this weekend, let me know if you need anything!

  2. Sounds like an exciting start for MRM! Can't wait to see the close ups of your hat and pics of your and Ms. Swift!!