University student prepares for Miss Rodeo America

Freedom New Mexico Staff

The next Miss Rodeo America could be from Clovis.

Clovis resident and Eastern New Mexico University senior Ashlee Stallings headed to Las Vegas, Nev., this week to compete in the 53rd annual Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Pageant.

The pageant at the Orleans Hotel and Casino starts Saturday.

Stallings, who earned the Miss Rodeo New Mexico crown in June in Clovis, has traveled 30,000 miles in the last year representing New Mexico and professional rodeo.

Stalling, 23, said horsemanship is her favorite area of competition.

“I was pretty much born on the back of a horse,” Stallings said in a phone interview Tuesday night, the evening before she and her family headed to Vegas.

Stallings has been preparing for the pageant with a trainer from Phoenix, Ariz.

A speech communication major, Stallings said her interviewing and public speaking classes have been helpful. The competitors go through three interviews: Personality, media and horsemanship.

The contests are also judged on their appearance, but Stalling said it’s more than that.

“We do so much more (than women in beauty pageants),” she said, “We have to know current events, answer rodeo questions and veterinarian science questions.”

“I’m very excited, just the opportunity to compete in a pageant of this caliber is an honor in itself,” Stallings said.

Miss Rodeo America wins a $10,000 scholarship and spends a year traveling around the United States representing the western lifestyle and professional rodeo.