Bright lights shine down on the rodeo arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, as Brooke Wallace, a native of the Sunflower State, takes a horseback victory lap while saluting the crowd as the first ever Miss Rodeo USA from Kansas. The pageant took place Jan. 14 through Jan. 19 with six contestants from multiple states competing. Participants are judged in multiple categories. Wallace won the horsemanship, speech, personality, photogenic and written test categories in the competition.
Wallace, who grew up near Salina, Kansas, is 24 years old and a graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in apparel and design. Wallace is a talented designer and makes her own clothing for rodeo queen pageants. She says her goal is to run a custom western wear business, but she has been so busy being a rodeo queen the last few years, she has not been able to get her business started. After her historic win, her entrepreneurial spirit will be suppressed for one more year while she carries out her Miss Rodeo USA duties.
“I am ecstatic because I am the first Miss Rodeo USA from Kansas,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get to say something like that again. It just puts Kansas on the map for one more great thing.”
Luckily for Wallace, she is familiar with the rodeo queen expectations, having already won multiple titles including Miss Rodeo Junction City 2015, Miss Rodeo K-State 2016, Miss Central Plains Rodeo Association 2017, Miss Rodeo Kansas 2019.
Because of her various titles, Wallace has visited 11 states and even Canada while promoting the sport of rodeo. As for winning the title of Miss Rodeo USA, Wallace says it was all about timing.
“This just came at the right time in my life,” she explained. “You can only be a rodeo queen for a short time in your life, so I went for it.”
Wallace says she was been around horses for much of her life, and was part of the Eastern Kansas Horsemen Association where she participated in everything from English events to barrel racing. Additionally, she was part of the K-State Rodeo Club, where she helped put on rodeos and started participating in pageants. Wallace says becoming a rodeo queen takes people skills and that is one of her strong points. She says one of her favorite aspects of wearing a rodeo queen crown is being a role model for younger girls.
“Kids need more responsible people to look up to rather than looking at celebrities,” she explained. “Getting to travel, promote rodeo and carry the American flag is just icing on the cake.”
Wallace says pageants have helped her grow the most in her young life and she wants to encourage others to participate.
“Pageants can seem scary, but if there is a small part of you that wants to do it, then go for it,” she said. “Don’t let the fear of failing get in the way of pursuing your dreams.”
Lacey Newlin can be reached at 580-748-1892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.