Spurs meet sequins as Miss Rodeo America pageant rides into Las Vegas

pageant-finals If the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo isn’t enough to lure cowboys and cowgirls to Las Vegas this December, the annual Miss Rodeo America Pageant could help rope them in from Saturday to Dec. 10.

The annual pageant started in 1955 and brings together the reigning w0inners from 28 states to compete for the national title.

Declared “A Whole New Pageant” on the MRA Facebook event page, there are two major differences for this year’s event. First, the festivities move to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. More significant, however, is the timing of the competition. The pageant will be the same day the champion titles of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association are awarded.

“Previously, we’ve held the pageant the week before, so this is so much more exciting, to have all the winners [announced] on the same day,” Tracy Damrell, president of the Miss Rodeo America, said.

Like most pageants, the MRA contestants must have both beauty and brains, competing in categories like appearance, personality, speech craft and personal interviewing, but there are a few other aspects that make it unique.

“Yes, the girls have to do interviews and modeling, speeches, the typical pageant activities, but they also must have knowledge of horses and the rodeo,” Damrell said. “There is an actual horsemanship competition where the girls compete on horses they’ve never ridden before.”

Contestants’ skill is determined by their ability to handle these unfamiliar horses during this leg of the competition, held at 8:30 a.m. Monday at King Arthur’s Arena inside the Excalibur.

The women trade saddles for the runway on Dec. 8 to model in a fashion show featuring Wrangler, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats, Reata Ranch Gear and Rod’s Belts, plus a western elegance dress from each contestant’s personal collection.

The coronation ceremony is Dec. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the MGM Grand Hollywood Theater, where the current Miss Rodeo America, McKenzie Haley, will crown her successor.

In addition to receiving prizes and scholarship money, Miss Rodeo America 2012 serves as the spokesperson for the PRCA during her reign, a job that will occupy the majority of
the year.

“[The winner] is designated as the first lady of professional rodeo and may spend as much as 300 to 320 days on the road,” Damrell said. “She is truly the goodwill ambassador of the rodeo to the public.”

Rodeo fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the contestants before the coronation can meet them at the contestant introduction at the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show, starting at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 9.

Published on BestOfLasVeags.com

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