Sep 3, 2015

Park County woman crowned Miss Rodeo Wyoming

There’s royalty in our midst.

It usually takes a lifetime of work to be crowned Miss Rodeo Wyoming, and Ralston’s Nicki Seckman made it happen in just over three years.

Seckman, 21, currently serves as Miss Cody Stampede Rodeo after a year as lady in waiting. She was crowned Miss Rodeo Wyoming on Aug. 14 at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas.

“It was surreal, you can dream of something like that for as long as you want, but until you are in the moment, I can’t even describe it,” Seckman said. “Everyone knows how much work you put into it, so it is pretty incredible.”

Seckman, riding in the Cody Stampede earlier this year. Courtesy photo
Seckman will step into her role as Miss Rodeo Wyoming on Jan. 1 and will spend 2016 attending rodeos across the country in preparation for the Miss Rodeo America competition.

“It is a lot of prep work,” Seckman said.

Rodeo queens have to demonstrate advanced skills in horsemanship along with in-depth knowledge of all rodeo events, answer impromptu questions, and give speeches at public appearances.

“The knowledge side of it has so much to learn — like a Coggins Test and what it is used for,” Seckman said. “If you are in the event, you would know it, but the people doing it every day are a good resource. I definitely picked a lot of brains doing that.”

 Nicki Seckman (at left) was crowned Miss Rodeo Wyoming 2016 during the Wyoming State Fair in August. She is succeeding Miss Rodeo Wyoming 2015, Laurel Austin (right). Courtesy photo
Academics also play a role in becoming Miss Rodeo Wyoming, and Seckman’s 4.0 grade point average helped, she said. She was accepted into the dental hygiene program in Sheridan, but decided to take the year off from school to focus on her duties as rodeo queen.

“This is a very big commitment and I would like to take things seriously and put my mind and heart and soul into it,” Seckman said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I might as well enjoy it to its fullest.”

Rodeo queens have to demonstrate their horsemanship on other people’s horses and aren’t allowed to use their own, so Seckman said she is going to continue working on her riding skills.

In the meantime, she also will continue making appearances and giving speeches at public events such as rodeos, school functions and banquets.

Of course, no rodeo queen would be qualified for the crown without an equestrian background. Seckman has been riding her entire life, competed in cattle cutting, and started doing barrel racing jackpots about three-and-a-half years ago.

“It is one of the loves of my life,” Seckman said. “I think rodeo is one of those classic things about America. In my mind I don’t think it is going to go away; it is in our roots and traditions.”

When rodeos provide people with their first experience with ranch-related activity, that’s the most exciting part of the rodeo queen’s job as an ambassador of the sport, Seckman said.

“I think rodeo is one of those classic things about America. In my mind I don’t think it is going to go away; it is in our roots and traditions,” Seckman said.

“We get people excited to be there and are the connection between rodeo and the fans,” Seckman said as she described the meet and greets before and after rodeos. “The competitors go so fast to try and make money that sometimes they don’t have time for that.”

Of course, being a rodeo queen means serving as a role model for young girls.

“That is why I am doing this,” Seckman said. “There is so much stuff in our world that aren’t the best for them to look up to — I want to be a good guide and have them say ‘that is what I want to be and how I want to act.’”

Seckman’s coronation will be held on Oct. 31 with a Halloween theme and fundraiser to help finance her year of traveling as Miss Rodeo Wyoming vying for Miss Rodeo America. The time and location have not yet been decided.

Seckman wasn’t sure how much she will need to raise, but estimated it will cost somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 with sponsors helping as well.

“That is a big part of it,” Seckman said, noting that she didn’t want to rely on just her family to help make it happen.


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