Cowgirls compete for Miss Rodeo

Kadee Coffman, who came to the pageant as Miss Rodeo Salinas, was crowned Miss Rodeo California on Friday at the Shilo Inn’s Grand Ballroom in Pomona. Joining Coffman for the announcement is last year’s Miss Rodeo California, Brittany Nuckols. / photo by Maria Villalpando
Kadee Coffman, who came to the pageant as Miss Rodeo Salinas, was crowned Miss Rodeo California on Friday at the Shilo Inn’s Grand Ballroom in Pomona. Joining Coffman for the announcement is last year’s Miss Rodeo California, Brittany Nuckols. / photo by Maria Villalpando

Eleven Western beauties gliding down the runway wearing tall cowboy boots dyed perfectly to match their colorful, long leather dresses.

Each gown has a story of its own detailed with hundreds of rhinestones and fringe.

Their beaming smiles shine bright beneath their large cowboy hats sitting atop a mass of fluffy curled hair.

Like a classic Western movie gone glamorous, these cowgirls have a passion for rodeo and a heart for community.

From Oct. 3 to 6, these women competed for the crowning title at the 2007 Miss Rodeo California Pageant in San Dimas.

The four-day event took 11 contestants from around the state on a journey to become a rodeo queen and beauty queen combined.

The competition included a horsemanship competition, personality interviews, a biographical speech, impromptu questions, a California speech and modeling.

“As Miss Rodeo, these girls strive to be a role model for girls to look up to,” said Brittany Nuckols, Miss Rodeo California 2006. “They represent the sport of rodeo, which is the No. 1 family sport. They work to keep the tradition alive.”

On Friday night at the Coronation Dinner, Miss Rodeo Salinas Kadee Coffman was crowned Miss Rodeo California 2007.

During her reign Coffman will travel the country promoting the sport of rodeo and compete in the 2008 Miss Rodeo America Pageant.

Along with this honor, she received a $1,000 scholarship from New Spirit Natural and Global Organics and the use of a 2007 Toyota Tundra truck and much more.

Coffman also took home other awards including Miss Speech, Miss Appearance, Miss Personality, Miss Horsemanship and a tie for Miss Congeniality.

Nuckols, who will be competing in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant this November, gave the advice to “always remember it’s an honor to be Miss Rodeo, not everyone gets this chance.”

“This past year has been a whirlwind experience,” Nuckols said of her reign. “It’s been nonstop and almost surreal; we are constantly on the road. I had to start a journal to keep track of where I’ve been. But it’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The contestants endured a long, frenzied week with a full schedule of competitive and social events.

Serving as the “talent” competition of the pageant, the horsemanship competition tested the contestants’ skill, knowledge and experience in horsing riding.

Out of five possible patterns, the women performed two patterns on two different horses they have never ridden before.

“The biggest challenge for me was the horsemanship, just because it was so unpredictable. You can study for your speech, but you can’t practice for what horse you will have,” said Lindsay Dreyer, Miss Rodeo Palmdale.

Nuckols and the reigning 2006 Miss Rodeo America Amanda Jenkins hosted the competitions, sharing tales from their on-the-road adventures as queens.

For their biographical speeches, each contestant described her life and her love for rodeo in a unique way.

From inspiring quotes to board game metaphors to touching their cultural roots, each woman spoke from the heart and engaged the audience.

The impromptu questions included two topics unbeknownst to the contestants: If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be? And, what do you think about the recent E. coli outbreak and its affect on California?

Their answers, humorous and concerned, gave a distinctive look at the contestants’ personalities.

The California speech gave the contestants the opportunity to share their love for California and the importance of the state’s Western heritage.

For the Modeling competition, each woman showcased a stunning, custom dress unique to each their personalities.

By the end of the week, it was evident these women were not competitors, but friends.

“The best experience of this pageant is the great friendships I’ve made,” Dreyer said. “There are a lot of ups and downs, and all the girls are so supportive of each other.”

“I have loved getting to know all the girls and having the opportunity to meet girls from up and down the state,” said Mackenzie Cayford, Miss Rodeo Ramona and third runner-up for the title. “We have so much fun, and we bond together and form a comradery.”

Like any competition, the women came across challenges along the way.

“The biggest challenge is trying not to get in my own way, but to make the best out of everything and not psych myself out,” said Josey Kelley, Miss Rodeo Redding, who won the Judges Spirit Award and tied for Miss Congeniality.

However, these women were far from alone. Cheering in the crowds and the subjects of their speeches, families were included every step of the way.

“No girl is here alone,” said Jim Sculatti, president of Miss Rodeo California. “Family is very important and they are well supported.”

Emphasized as a true family sport, the contestants stressed the value of family relationships in the world today.

Nicole Knight can be reached at

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Glamorous long leather dresses, 20-gallon cowboy hats, horseback riding, proud Californian speeches, 11 lovely cowgirls and three expert judges were the sights of the Miss Rodeo California 2006 pageant held Sept. 27 to Sept. 30 in San Dimas.