By Carole Grosh, Reporter
A year ago, Katie McDougald, a sophomore at Fresno State, was crowned Miss Clovis Rodeo Queen, winning both the Horsemanship & Poise and Personality elements of the contest. This was her second title; in 2014, she was crowned Miss Coarsegold.
Now a junior majoring in Animal Science, McDougald grew up on a cattle ranch in O’Neals, California, and competed in barrel racing, then joined the college rodeo team at Fresno State.
As her reign is coming to a close, the Roundup caught up with her to get her thoughts on the past year.
How did winning the Clovis Rodeo Queen contest change your life? What were some of your obligations as queen?
Being crowned Miss Clovis Rodeo 2016 was a dream come true! All of the hard work, practice, and studying paid off last April. Representing the Clovis Rodeo Queen has given me so many amazing opportunities to serve as an ambassador of the Clovis Rodeo as well as to promote the western way of life, rodeo traditions, and the Clovis community. It has been so exciting traveling to 15 PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and CCPRA (California Cowboys Pro Rodeo Association) rodeos around the state and riding in their grand entries representing the Clovis Rodeo over the past year. I have also participated in many local community and school events where I have been able to advocate and educate about the sport of rodeo and the western way of life.
I have also met so many wonderful Clovis Rodeo Association and Clovis community members who have helped me on this journey and I have learned so much from them.
How did your family react to your new role?
My family was thrilled when I was crowned Miss Clovis Rodeo 2016! I am so lucky to have parents who fully support me in all of my endeavors as Miss Clovis Rodeo, from helping me prepare for the contest to traveling to rodeos throughout the state of California. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of the love and support I’ve received from my family and friends throughout this year serving as Clovis Rodeo Queen.
Can you give examples of things you learned directly related to this experience? Are there any humorous anecdotes you’d like to share?
I learned so much from everything I did this year as Miss Clovis Rodeo. I witnessed firsthand all that the Clovis Rodeo Association does for the community and how involved they are throughout the Valley.
The Clovis Rodeo is held in such high regard throughout the professional rodeo association and I’ve been so lucky to be one of their representatives. The networking I’ve been able to do with this queen title is tremendous and I wouldn’t be as successful without them. The Clovis Rodeo Association members have been so welcoming and have made me feel like I am a part of this wonderful organization. I am looking forward to continuing those connections and staying involved with this rodeo that means so much to me.
All kinds of funny things happen at rodeos when you combine horses, flags, blaring music, screaming crowds, and cowboys, cowgirls, and rodeo queens running their horses around arenas during grand entries. It’s all very exciting and every rodeo has its own personality. It has been so much fun going to 15 different rodeos.
What were some of the challenges you’ve faced? How did you solve them?
Probably the biggest challenge I faced this past year was just scheduling my Clovis Rodeo Queen appearances around all of my other obligations as a college student, college rodeo athlete, riding my horses, and working on the family cattle ranch. Having events almost every weekend meant a lot of time on the road, long days at rodeos, then traveling back home to get school and ranch work done. Thankfully, I was able to successfully schedule rodeo appearances and community events around classes and college rodeos, and my family was willing to accommodate all of my obligations. I wouldn’t trade the always busy and exciting schedule for anything!
How did you promote the Clovis Rodeo? Did it involve a lot of community activities and travel?
Over the course of my reign as Miss Clovis Rodeo 2016, I traveled over 3,500 miles to 15 rodeos, both professional and amateur, across the state of California and Nevada. Attending the major rodeos like the Reno Rodeo to the California Rodeo Salinas to the California PRCA Circuit Finals in Lancaster and a number of other rodeos in between, I was able to represent the prestigious Clovis Rodeo. I also represented the Clovis Rodeo at many community and school events throughout the year.
Are your career goals still the same? What are your future plans?
My career goals of working in and supporting the beef cattle industry and ranching have just been fortified by my experience as Miss Clovis Rodeo. Working with the Clovis Rodeo has definitely helped expand my network within the industry. I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for rodeo and ranching throughout whatever my future career path may be. I plan to graduate from Fresno State in 2018 with a degree in animal science and am excited about the future opportunities to work in some capacity within the cattle industry.
Do you have any advice for future queen contestants?
My advice for future rodeo queen contestants is just to have fun, learn as much as you can about the Clovis Rodeo and Clovis community, and be the best version of yourself for the queen contest. The contest is truly an exciting experience and I encourage everyone to enjoy the journey. The goal is to represent Clovis Rodeo in the best way possible! This title has been such an amazing part of my life and something I will cherish forever. I sincerely thank the Clovis Rodeo Association for allowing me this opportunity and making my dream of being a Clovis Rodeo Queen come true.