As most families prepared Thanksgiving dinner Thursday morning, the Woolsey family of Morgan began their journey to Las Vegas to support their daughter, Bailey Jo—current Miss Rodeo Utah—in her quest to become Miss Rodeo America.
The week-long Miss Rodeo America contest commences Nov. 29 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas and will culminate in the coronation of the 2016 Miss Rodeo America on Dec. 6. Over 33 young ladies from across the United States will compete for this prestigious title in events ranging from horsemanship and extemporary speaking to current event awareness and knowledge of rodeo and general equine science. For over 60 years, the Miss Rodeo America Pageant has been selecting a queen to “serve as an official spokesperson for the sport of professional rodeo and providing educational opportunities for those young women who compete in the pageant.”
Bailey Jo has been preparing almost her entire life to participate in this contest. From her first queen contest victory at the Morgan County Fair at age 8 to her current title as Miss Rodeo Utah, this young Morgan cowgirl followed her mother and sister into rodeo and “queening” and is proud to continue the “family heritage and traditions.”
“Competing in queen contests has taught me so much,” Woolsey shared in a recent interview. “I have learned dedication, gained self-confidence and really improved my public speaking skills. I can get up in class and easily present projects and give speeches. Participating in these contests has helped shaped me into the person I always wanted to be.”
Woolsey will have her chance to put all of her hours of practice to the test in Las Vegas. Since Miss Rodeo America rarely rides her own horse because of her intensive travel schedule of over 100,000 miles during her reign, Woolsey will ride two unfamiliar horses for the horsemanship competition to prove her skills on a new horse. In addition to the traditional set pattern, Woolsey will also have a rail work class this year.
The other new event will be extemporaneous speaking. The contestants will be given a list of topics and will have 10 minutes to chose a topic and prepare a one-and-a-half minute speech. Woolsey has been working with Morgan Middle School teacher Dusty Morgan to prepare for this event. She plans to draw heavily on her experiences the past year as Miss Rodeo Utah, as well as her family’s support, as she competes.
“I have been able to attend a lot of rodeos across the state over the past year, and I have learned a lot as I have traveled to different events. But one my favorite memories was to be able to come back to the Morgan County Fair and represent the State of Utah in my hometown,” she reminisced.
“The hardest part of being Miss Rodeo America and preparing for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant has been the lack of sleep. It is a lot of early morning parades and late night rodeos. We finished Ogden Pioneer Days and drove all night, just to make it to the Cheyenne Frontier Days at 7 a.m. so I could be on my horse for a parade at 8. Our family motto for this year has been ‘you can sleep when you’re dead.’”
Bailey Jo’s parents, Jared and Lisa, have been amazingly supportive. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Dad Jared noted. “I love being able to travel together as a family with Bailey Jo.”
The Woolsey family has already decorated their Christmas tree since they will be in Las Vegas to begin the official Christmas season.
“I am sure my mom will be so happy to get all of my queen stuff out of the house. She will be able to clean again, “Bailey Jo remarked.
Jackson, Bailey Jo’s 13-year-old brother, has been a “trooper,” she reports. He recently commented, “I deserve this title. I think I want it more than you.”
Over 25 members of the Woolsey family, along with friends, plan to travel to Vegas to support Bailey Jo in her competition. Local fans can see updated pictures on www.shooterenterprises.com during the competition. The final events and coronation will be streamed live on www.prorodeolive.com beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
Bailey Jo has high expectations for her experiences in Las Vegas. “I hope to bring the crown back to Morgan. But more importantly, I want to walk away feeling I did the best I could. My ultimate goal (winning Miss Rodeo Utah) has been met, so I just want to go and compete and feel like the girl who does get the crown will do an amazing job.”
Best wishes to Bailey Jo as she competes and represents not only Morgan, but the entire state of Utah on the national stage. Her preparation, dedication and experience put her in a strong position to compete well and bring Utah’s sixth Miss Rodeo America title home.