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Northern New Mexico brought home titles during the Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant June 5-7.
The contest was in Clovis for a weekend event that had girls vying to be Miss Rodeo and their chance to become Miss Rodeo America.
The current Miss Rodeo New Mexico, Ashlee Rose Mills, of Eagle Nest, was on hand to offer advice to the girls in the court and find out who she can pass her crown to in 2014. Alexandra Tapia, of Santa Fe, will take over for Mills in January.
The court was rounded out by MRNM Teen, Larissa Padilla, of Santa Fe; MRNM Princess Deanne Guthrie, of Clovis and Little Miss Rodeo, Mireya Martinez, of Santa Cruz.
“I am always available to encourage the younger girls to compete and think of this as an adventure,” Mills said.
“Rodeo related pageants represent the community and the sport, Tapia said. “These develop skills that can help them grow in real life.”
The girls competed in category such as horsemanship, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo knowledge and public speaking and are judged by a panel of rodeo experts.
Mills has spent eight years competing in Miss Rodeo pageants. Her younger sister also competes. She said she has guidance from her family and coach as she has trained for each pageant.
All the years she has competed, Mills, 23 said she has heightened her public speaking skills, which has led her to pursue a law degree. She currently works for the Legislature in Santa Fe. She is a senior at University of New Mexico.
Mills will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a minor in psychology. She plans to attend law school, focusing on criminal law, and aims to one day become the Attorney General for the State of New Mexico.
This goal is rooted in her desire to make a positive difference for victims of domestic violence, with emphasis on children and young adults.
Tapia, 23, recently graduated from New Mexico State University and studied history and government. The pageants have also sharpened her public speaking skills and her self esteem.
She first tried out for pageants when she was 15 years old, winning Miss Rodeo Princess alternative. She has spent nine years riding horses.
The crown of Little Miss Rodeo went to 12-year-old, Mireya Martinez.
Martinez, of Santa Cruz, is no stranger to horses. “I have a special place in my heart for my horses, Hunter and Felina, and I believe God put them in my life to help me become the girl I am today,” Martinez said. “I am an excellent example of a great horse person, because I treat my horses with the utmost respect, love and patience; knowing I’ll get it in return.”
She said she thoroughly enjoyed the horse show experience. “The pageant was a great educational and life learning process.”
Although she said it took hard work and a lot of dedication, Martinez would like to continue doing pageants in the future and aims to be Miss Rodeo New Mexico.
Martinez’s mother Ana stood by her daughter throughout the entire competetion.
“The girls were going from early morning until 10 p.m. during the competetion and for the Pioneer Days and everyday they were more excited than before,” she said.
Duties of Miss Rodeo New Mexico is to represent the state and their individual community across the United States at rodeos and community functions.