Kirsten Pike never grew up a “girly girl.” She started riding horses when she was 3-years-old. That’s what led her to be the first runner-up at Miss Rodeo Minnesota, and she’s now the first and only Miss Rice Bull Riding Company queen for 2014.
It’s the first step towards her goal of becoming Miss Rodeo America. The 19-year-old balances school, work and training to fulfill her dream. As a queen, she’s a friendly face to the rodeo: answering questions, carrying the American flag and running what she calls ‘patterns’ with her horse.
There’s a lot that goes into being a queen. A Miss Rodeo competition is just like a beauty pageant, minus the bikini contest. Contestants prove their expertise in horsemanship. On top of needing excellent speech skills, a bubbly personality and a positive outlook on life, rodeo queens need to know the sport inside and out – from barrel racing to bull riding. It isn’t easy, Pike said. But she makes it look effortless and fun. Her most recent experience was a road trip to Las Vegas, where she met some of her rodeo idols.
Pike said she knew she wanted to be a rodeo queen after seeing them at the rodeo.
“Some girls look at models and think that’s so fun,” Pike said. For her, it was looking at the rodeo queens.
Her mother, Carrie Pike, is proud to see her daughter pursuing her dream. She added it’s been nice to see Kirsten Pike and her sisters talk about makeup and other activities that Kirsten Pike wasn’t interested in before.
“It’s not just a beauty contest,” Carrie Pike said.
Pike doesn’t have a typical 19-year-old experience. She’s a student at Iowa Community College, has a job, but has to be careful about where she is and whom she’s with. She’s also on the road quite a bit now.
Her director, Christian Rice, chose Pike from many other girls for 2014.
“I tell you, this girl, I’ve never seen someone work so hard at her age,” Rice said.
Pike has already begun training for the upcoming Miss Rodeo Minnesota, and she will work events for the company. Her ultimate goal is to show the nation that Minnesota has a rich rodeo culture, and the sport is for everyone of all ages.