Rodeo queens are tough. They’re cowgirls, politicians, influencers, ambassadors, teachers, and spokeswomen. They have to do so all while looking elegant and even riding a horse at rodeos. They’re determined, graceful, intelligent, and poised. They spend their days promoting the sport, agriculture, and preserving the western lifestyle by visiting towns primarily across America, Canada, and Australia. For 365 days, one woman will give her all to an organization that gives so much to her.
For Miss Rodeo Colorado 2020-2021 and Miss Rodeo America 2022, Hailey Frederiksen, this lifestyle is all she knows. She has spent most of her life in a saddle. She recalled her childhood and realized she probably felt more comfortable in a saddle than she did in her car seat as a baby. She shares the love of horses with her mother, a first-generation cowgirl, who got bit by the “horse bug,” as Hailey said.
Her mother taught her to have a foundation on a horse. She was a prominent figure in starting her rodeo queen career, almost unintentionally. When Hailey was 12 years old, she was approached by her local riding club to become their next princess, as they had a queen but not a princess. She gladly accepted but wasn’t too excited about the hair and makeup.
To this day, she tells the story to young aspiring rodeo queens who haven’t entirely determined the direction they want to go with their royalty career as to how she got her start. Hailey said, “I didn’t wear a speck of makeup and refused to curl my hair.” She said, “My mom couldn’t even come close to me with a curling iron.” So she and her mom found a compromise. Her mom braided her hair at night when it was wet to create a wavy effect.
It wasn’t until she met Miss Rodeo America 2009, Maegan (Ridley) Hollander, and Miss Rodeo Colorado 2009, (Audra Dobbs) McNicholas that lit a fire in her that will never burn out. “It was like meeting a celebrity in person,” Hailey said. That moment forever changed the trajectory of her life as she worked harder, rode taller, spoke louder, and paved her way in the western industry. Little did she know, the wavy hair little girl would grow up to compete for Miss Rodeo Colorado and earn the title after just two years of competing.
One element that sets rodeo queens apart from the everyday cowgirl (besides the vibrant clothes, shiny rhinestones, luscious hair, and flawless makeup) is the amount of pressure felt by peers and the public eye. The mental aspect of being a rodeo queen is very challenging and one that very rarely gets talked about. The ladies have a different kind of competition to conquer, follow strict rules to uphold the best standards, and live in a glass house. However, Hailey has handled that pretty well and said she’s always been a forward thinker. “It’s not about what’s ahead of me; it’s about what’s beyond that,” Hailey said as she expressed the importance of her future. She said this has helped her both in and out of the arena especially when competing in rodeo queen pageants.
“The pageant is all about strategy,” Hailey said. “You can know as much as you want, but at the end of the day, it all comes to having a positive mindset and a strategy.” So, she pushed herself to showcase her best self all the way to the finish line and beyond. She did so during the most grueling rodeo queen pageant one will ever compete in: Miss Rodeo America.
The difference for the 2022 Miss Rodeo America Pageant was Hailey, and most of her class of rodeo queens had all been representing for two whole years prior. Which has never happened in the history of the MRA pageant. That doesn’t seem like a big deal to the average person. Still, when you put it into perspective, this really showcases the grit and determination these women have to not only achieve their goals but also make impacts to last a lifetime.
“The judges are either going to want someone fresh and new that they haven’t seen for the past two years, or they’re going to think, “‘this girl’s been in it for two years; she’s a veteran. We don’t need to train her. She’s good to go,’” Hailey said when referencing her thoughts going into the 2022 pageant. “I didn’t know what the judges wanted, but I knew that if I showcased the best version of myself, that’s all I could have ever wanted leaving pageant, whether it was with the crown or not.”
Spoken like a true queen, Hailey leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes. This time, she’s leaving a breath of hope for the class of queens going into the 2023 Miss Rodeo America Pageant. “I would tell the girls to run your own race! There’s a reason why race horses wear blinders when racing on the track, and that’s so they won’t see anything but the path ahead,” Hailey affirmed. She also wanted to remind the women to be themselves and never compare themselves to others on social media, especially during this preparation time.
When asked about giving us a sneak peek into the 2023 MRA pageant, she said, “Let’s just say this: since I am a dancer, it has given Miss Kiki (Shumway, a past president of MRA, Inc.) a lot of courage in my ability to do some things I’m not necessarily natural at.” She teased, “I’ll just leave it at that. I am doing things I’ve never done in my life, but I will give them a go!”
Whether you’re familiar with rodeo queens or are interested in seeing what they are all about, you can purchase tickets to the 2023 Miss Rodeo America pageant, held November 27 through December 4 at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada by visiting the Miss Rodeo America website.
Justin is proud to be the official boot of Miss Rodeo America, inc. To learn more about Miss Rodeo America, visit their website. https://www.missrodeoamerica.com/
Hailey’s favorite pair of boots: VN4460