By Shelley Gilmore
Brittany Bennett of Portales is looking forward to competing in the pageant for Miss Rodeo America. She is taking a semester off from Eastern New Mexico University to compete.
Currently Miss Rodeo New Mexico, Bennett will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 27 through Dec. 3 to compete against 26 other candidates.
“I will be sharing a room with another girl in the pageant and the judges are with us at all times,” she explained. “We can’t even have a cell phone.”
Bennett has been practicing horsemanship, public speaking, and dancing for the past month to be prepared for the pageant.
This year Bennett has been traveling and competing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, promoting herself as Miss Rodeo New Mexico in order to improve her chances of winning Miss Rodeo America. She competed in numerous rodeos in the Midwest. “It is great PR for me to attend all of these rodeos. I also did some volunteer work by visiting nursing homes and hospitals during my travels. Whether I win or not, it’s been very gratifying meeting these people,” Bennett said.
Bennett has been involved in rodeo since the third grade, competing in junior rodeos, followed by high school rodeos. She competes in barrel racing, pole bending, and cutting.
In 2002 Bennett was named the Miss New Mexico High School Rodeo Queen, and qualified for the National High School Finals in pole bending. She competed against 44 girls for National High School Rodeo Queen and placed in eight out of nine categories, winning the “appearance” category and placing fifth overall.
In 2003, her senior year, she went back to the National High School Finals in cutting.
She received a rodeo scholarship from ENMU in 2003 and finished 6th in barrel racing in the Southwest Region as a freshman.
Bennett was crowned Miss Rodeo New Mexico in 2004. “It is so fun and such a neat pageant, I wish more girls would be interested in running,” she said.
This year Bennett qualified for the College National Finals in barrel racing and placed 15th overall.