THE MISS RODEO NEBRASKA PAGEANT IS CANCELLED FOR 2020 DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020
Joeli Walrath is Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020. Joeli grew up in Ashton, Nebraska and is the daughter of Jamie and Jaci Walrath. Joeli’s small-town roots and involvement on the family farm instilled her love for agriculture. She began her rodeo career young competing in junior rodeos in barrels and poles and even a little steer riding. She was raised in the 4-H program , FFA and was a member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association.
Joeli is a 2016 graduate of Loup City High School. She went on to attend college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she was a member of the Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln Equestrian Team and Horse Judging Team as well as the rodeo club. While at the University of Nebraska, she studied animal science with an equine emphasis. Joeli graduated from UNL in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.
When not traveling and attending rodeos, Joeli enjoys spending time at home with her family, friends, and of course, her horses. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, cooking and baking. Joeli’s slogan for the year is “Be True. Be You.” She believes that being genuine and apologetically yourself is the key to what is most important – happiness. Joeli hopes not only to live by her motto everyday, but also to inspire others to be true to themselves. (Photo courtesy of KC Creations Photography)
Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska 2019
Brylee Thompson, of Hershey, is Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska 2019.
Brylee was crowned in North Platte in June after winning the horsemanship, appearance, personality, congeniality and photogenic categories of the MTRN Pageant.
A student at Hershey High School, Brylee participates in basketball, one-act plays, quiz bowl and volleyball and is a member of the student council. Her activities outside of school include: 4-H Council, horse 4-H, Lonestar Cowboy Church youth group and rodeo Bible camp participant and counselor.
After graduation, Brylee plans to attend Colby Community College and eventually become a registered nurse. Her goal is to work in a large hospital setting – specifically an emergency room. While at Colby, Brylee also plans to compete as part of the college’s equestrian team.
Brylee’s life goal is to always spread kindness and lift others up. She wants to be a person who focuses on the positive in every aspect of her life and to be known as someone who is compassionate and kind to everyone. Her parents are Lucas Anderson and Hanna McConnell. (Photo courtesy of Suzanna Klaasmeyer Photography)
To provide an opportunity for young women of high moral and ethical
character to promote Nebraska and the sport of rodeo.
The concept of Miss Rodeo America was developed in 1955 by a group of gentlemen under the name of International Rodeo Management (IRM).
The same year, the town of Burwell, Neb. selected its first Miss Rodeo Nebraska: Dallas Hunt George of Lincoln, who held the MRN title in 1955 and 1956.
She won the regional title in Omaha at the AK-SAR-BEN Rodeo in 1956 and went on to compete and win the Miss Rodeo America title in 1957.
Laura (Lolly) Cameron Klug won the MRN title in 1957. She also won the Regional title at AR-SAR-BEN and competed at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. In 1959, she was named as the Buffalo Bill Rodeo Queen and given the title of Miss Rodeo Northwest. She then competed again at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, where she was second runner-up.
The MRN Pageant has continued every year since its humble beginnings. The goal of it is to select a young lady with the desire and enthusiasm to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the sport of rodeo and the state of Nebraska.
In 1991, after Burwell had hosted the pageant for 36 years, the pageant was moved to North Platte so it could be presented in conjunction with Nebraska’s official state celebration, NEBRASKAland DAYS and the PRCA Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
Also in 1991, NEBRASKAland DAYS started a tradition of presenting a $1,000 scholarship to newly crowned MRNs. The MRNA Scholarship Program has continued to grow and now awards more than $5,000 in scholarship money.
In 2000, the pageant schedule was changed from three days to four days. In 2006 the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association, Inc. expanded its program to include the Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska Pageant.
Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association calls off pageant
Joeli Walrath, Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020 (Courtesy of KC Creations Photography)
The Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association will not have a pageant this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was not made lightly – it came after months of consideration and monitoring of safety recommendations by state and local health officials.
The MRNA tried to come up with alternatives, even pushing the pageant back from June to August, while still keeping the welfare of contestants and attendees as its top priority. Ultimately, it was determined that cancelling the pageant was in the best interest of everyone.
The reigns of Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020 Joeli Walrath and Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska 2019 Brylee Thompson will be extended into next year.
“The safety of those involved with the pageant and the public was the committee’s foremost concern, thus making the decision for us to cancel the pageant,” said Cindy Petersen, chair of the pageant committee. “We are grateful to our current titleholders who are willing to carry their titles into the next year and are looking forward to a successful pageant in 2021.”
Miss Rodeo America, Inc. made the same announcement – putting off its pageant until December of 2021. Current MRA, Jordan Tierney, will continue her reign until that time.
(CLINIC PARTICIPANTS: Please note that in the box on the entry form where it asks,”Why would you like to be Miss Rodeo Nebraska?” you can just answer why you want to be a rodeo queen in general.)
The Royalty Scrapbook
(Photo courtesy of KC Creations Photography)
Their reigns may be over, but our former Miss Rodeo Nebraskas and Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraskas will never be forgotten. Click on the links below to see photos of previous leading ladies.