February: From Freezing South Dakota to Sunny Florida March 1, 2017 by Katelin Bradley, MRW 2017I woke up very early on February 1st, hopped in the truck, and drove 12 hours to Rapid City, South Dakota for Rodeo Rapid City. It was the longest I had ever driven by myself. When I arrived in Rapid City, I took a short break and then got ready to carry sponsorship flags for the Champions Challenge rodeo that evening. I may have been exhausted, but I was very excited to be riding a Sutton Rodeo stock horse at a big rodeo! During the four days that I was in Rapid City, the state queens helped set balloons for the mounted shooting competition, visited Mount Rushmore, and watched other events going on during the Black Hills Stock Show. It was freezing cold the entire time. When we went to Mount Rushmore, it was only a few degrees above 0! Despite the cold temperatures, we all had a great time helping out with the rodeo. I drove back to Wisconsin on Sunday the 5th after only 3 hours of sleep. I felt quite accomplished after driving almost 1,700 miles round-trip by myself. Back at home, I met with a new sponsor – Darrell Oleson owner of Strongs Prairie Cattle Company in Plainfield, Wisconsin. I am excited to work with Darrell this year. I also got invited to speak at Langlade County 4H Horse and Pony Project meeting. I talked about professional rodeo in Wisconsin and my duties as a state representative of rodeo. The club members were all very sweet. Maybe there is a future rodeo queen in the group! On February 15th, I flew to Orlando for the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida. I stayed with a voluntary host family. They were so kind and welcoming to Miss Rodeo Pennsylvania Amanda Kowalczyk and myself. The state queens did many school visits in the area. We met with large groups of elementary students and taught them about rodeo and rodeo events. The students were so excited to see us that they had a hard time keeping quiet! The Silver Spurs Rodeo and the Osceola County Fair is such a big deal in the area that most of the schools are closed on Friday for “Rodeo Day”! All of the state and local queens got to go to Medieval Times for dinner on Thursday night. The show featured jousting, sword fighting, and extraordinary displays of horsemanship. We sat in the Green Knight section, and our knight was victorious in that night’s battle. We also got to go to Gatorland for the day on Friday. We got up close and personal with the animals there! They let us in an enclosure with a rare leucistic alligator and with “Chester”, an alligator famous for eating dogs! We even zip-lined over the gator-infested waters of the park! The Silver Spurs Rodeo was a great rodeo to be a part of. We helped promote the rodeo by thanking sponsors and mingling with members of the crowd. I got to do a queen lap during the Sunday performance on a handsome horse named Logan. My favorite experience from Silver Spurs was helping with the Special Rodeo.