Glenwood Springs High School grad named Miss Rodeo Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Ever since she was 4 years old, Audra Dobbs wanted to be Miss Rodeo Colorado. Her dream came true on June 28 when she was crowned at the annual Greeley Stampede rodeo.
Dobbs is the first woman from the Western Slope to win the title in more than 40 years.The Greeley Stampede was started in 1922 to celebrate Colorado’s western heritage and the country’s independence. It was held this year from June 25 to July 6 and is billed as the “World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo & Western Celebration.”After four days of competition at the festival, Dobbs was officially named Miss Rodeo Colorado for 2009.”I was extremely surprised and honored,” Dobbs said. “There was so much emotion, it’s hard to explain.”Dobbs, 24, is a native of Glenwood Springs and graduated as a valedictorian from Glenwood Springs High School in 2002 and then with honors from Mesa State College in 2006. She is currently an elementary school teacher in Grand Junction.
“She’s wanted this ever since she was little, little and learned to ride on a Shetland pony,” said her mother, Ann Martin of Glenwood Springs and a longtime nurse at Valley View Hospital. “In fact, she learned to ride on the same pony I had when I was a kid.”The Shetland pony, named “Christmas,” was a Christmas gift to Martin from her own parents and lived to be about 33 years old. Martin still had the pony when she taught Audra how to ride in the same way her father had taught her.”My dad was a very traditional man, and he would not let me learn to ride with a saddle,” Martin said. “He always said you learn to ride with your legs, not your arms. When you’re a good rider, you can have a saddle. That’s how I taught Audra to ride, and that’s why she has such incredible balance on a horse.”Horses have been a part of the family’s life through the generations, as Martin’s grandparents raised black Missouri mules.”We always had horses around,” Martin recalled. “We grew up with them. Everyone had one.”Martin, Dobbs and her sister, Ayla, have always gone to rodeos around the region, including the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo, the National Western Stock Show in Denver and Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo.
And through the years, Dobbs has dreamed of being crowned Miss Rodeo Colorado. She was named first runner-up to the 2007 Miss Rodeo Colorado and is a former Garfield County Fair and Rodeo Queen. She is also a member of the Frontier Belles Sidesaddle Club.In the Miss Rodeo Colorado competition, the women are judged on not only their horsemanship, but areas such as personality, appearance, congeniality and how well they present themselves. And while Dobbs won the categories of both personality and appearance, the competition is far more difficult than that.”They have to have knowledge of current events and be well-versed in politics and the oil and gas industry,” Martin said. “They have to know things like who their senators and congresspeople are and what bills are passing. It’s extremely difficult and requires months of studying.”It also requires an intricate knowledge of the rodeo circuit and the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) and who the top competitors are in events such as team roping, bullriding and barrel racing.”Audra has been doing an incredible amount of studying – you have no idea,” Martin said. “They have to know all about rodeo and the parts of a horse, and (the judges) also look at their past high school and college records. It’s incredibly intense.”
The preliminary competition involved 15 women, of which eight were chosen as finalists.With her crowning, Dobbs receives a 2009 truck of her choice from Colorado Chevy, a horse trailer from Show Country Trailers, a saddle from Brighton Feed & Saddlery and other prizes provided by sponsors.Dobbs is now what is called a “lady-in-waiting” before she officially becomes the queen in January during the National Western Stock Show to begin her one-year reign as queen.”I’ll travel all over the state and the country as a representative for the PRCA and Colorado’s and western heritage,” Dobbs said. “I’m going to make a lot of appearances at the elementary schools. I’m honored and blessed to have this opportunity, and I’m really excited to represent rodeo and the wonderful state of Colorado.”However, she is still in need of financial sponsors to help her pay for clothing and travel expenses to her various appearances.Following her one-year reign as Miss Rodeo Colorado, she is then eligible to compete for Miss Rodeo America.
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