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2024 MISS RODEO AMERICAN PAGEANT JUDGES

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The Miss Rodeo America Pageant is held annually in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reigning state rodeo queens vie for the coveted crown of Miss Rodeo America by competing in the areas of appearance, horsemanship, and personality.

The Miss Rodeo America Pageant offers young women the opportunity to garner one of the richest experiences of their lives, while at the same time create solid foundations for their future endeavors. Lifelong friendships are made and many doors are opened—to all competitors, as well as the young lady selected to wear the coveted crown. Miss Rodeo America becomes a part of a great legacy…and part of history…yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

This year Miss Rodeo America will be judged by these amazing leaders in the industry who will have one of the toughest jobs choosing our new 2024 Miss Rodeo America.

SHELLY BURMEISTER – MOWERY

Shelly Burmeister – Mowery was born in Des Moines, Iowa where she was crowned Miss Rodeo Iowa in 1977. Shelly competed in the Miss Rodeo America pageant in 1978 winning first runner-up to Miss Rodeo America. Today Shelly and her family own and operate a Cutting Horse Ranch in Weatherford, Texas.

Shelly was the original Miss Coors Rodeo from 1980- 1989, serving as a spokesperson for the Coors brand and promoting professional rodeos throughout the United States and Canada. As Miss Coors Rodeo, Shelly created the million-dollar Coors Chute-Out series of rodeos and advocated equal pay for women in professional rodeo. Recognized for her efforts in promoting the sport, Shelly was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2015.

Shelly is recognized as one of the top equine sports broadcasters. Her career of over 30 years in television has opened doors to feature films, TV shows, documentaries, and commercials. She has worked with and interviewed many country music stars and film legends such as Robert Mitchum, Wilford Brimley, and Slim Pickens.

An avid cutting horse competitor, she was named NCHA Celebrity Cutting Champion twice and has won many cutting horse events throughout the United States. As a respected AQHA horse breeder, Shelly’s foundation bloodlines from her mare, Some Kinda Playgirl, have produced many winners including NCHA Open Futurity Champion, Some Kinda Memories. To date, Mowery has bred and raised over three hundred American Quarter Horses. In 2021 Shelly was inducted into the National Cutting Horse Members Hall of Fame.

Her new adventure includes “Western Lifestyles TV” sharing lifestyle tips and ways to live healthy and age gracefully. Shelly is active in her community where she supports many charities and nonprofits and attends several speaking engagements throughout the year where she provides encouragement and mentoring to young people.


CRAIG HAYTHORN

Craig Haythorn was four years old when he went on his first cattle drive and 13 when he was put in charge of the hay crew. Today, the rancher leads the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of the storied Haythorn Land and Cattle Co in Arthur County, Nebraska. They still take the wagon out for one week in the spring, rope and drag calves to the fire and sleep in tepees. 

Craig is the fourth generation of Haythorns to own and operate Haythorn Land and Cattle Co. after his great-grandfather immigrated from England as a 16-year-old stowaway on a ship headed to America. His grandfather had the first registered American Quarter Horse Association stud in Nebraska, and the Haythorns were awarded the first-ever AQHA Remuda Award in 1992. Their company is one of the larger and most respected breeders of American Quarter Horses in America.

Horses sporting the Haythorn Figure Four brand have appeared in thousands of professional, collegiate, high school, and amateur rodeos across the country, many ridden by Haythorns. With a deep respect for Western traditions and cowboy values, Craig earned the 2008 Western Horseman Award and was presented the 2019 Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman’s Award of Honor by the Haley Memorial Library and History Center in Midland, Texas. He has received numerous rodeo honors, including the 1979 World Champion Amateur Team Roper, two Nebraska Calf Roping Championships, Six Heeling Championships, many state and national rodeo championships, and most recently the National Golden Spur Award.

Craig and his wife, Jody, enjoy seeing their family carry on the old ways and traditions. He says his greatest pleasures come from cowboying and family. His biggest worries after weather include the current direction of our country and the questionable direction of American agriculture and the loss of the old cowboy ways. But, his hope is in his family and seeing them fulfill their dreams.


LORI BUCHOLZ

American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee Member, Lori Bucholz of Waterloo, Nebraska, is an AQHA life member. She has been an AQHA director since 2008 and was elevated to director-at-large in 2020. Lori has served as the chairperson of the AQHA International Committee and Animal Welfare Commission. She has served on the AQHFoundation Committee and Council, the Nominations and Credentials Committee, the Affiliate Advisory Board and Hall of Fame Selection and Animal Welfare Grievance committees.

Bucholz is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has shown horses for over fifty years and is an AQHA Amateur Champion, multiple AQHA world champion, year-end high-point winner and AQHA 10-year breeder. Lori also currently serves on the Colorado State University Ag Industry Leadership Council, Equine Sciences Advisory Board and the Temple Grandin Equine Center Steering Committee. She is also a member of the Texas A & M Equine Initiative Advisory Committee, National Snaffle Bit Association Board of Directors, the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Advisory Committee, the Omaha Equestrian Foundation Board of Directors, the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association Board of Directors, and is the current president of the Nebraska State Association of Parliamentarians. She also serves on the Carl and Caroline Swanson Foundation Board of Trustees and Plastilite Corporation Board of Directors.

Lori and her husband, Frederick “Rick” have three children, Marca Bucholz, Britta Ruoff and spouse, Chad, and Frederick “Buck” Bucholz; and five grandchildren, Sophia Bucholz and Cayson, Bristol, Lily and Cooper Ruoff. When she’s not in the saddle or spending time with family, Lori can be found playing with their Jack Russell terriers. Lori is an active runner who has completed multiple full marathons and half-marathons. She is a certified scuba diver and also enjoys reading, gardening and needlepoint. Lori believes in the western life-style and preserving the ranching heritage. 


LARRY LARSON

From the ranch country of North Central South Dakota along the Missouri River breaks near Mobridge, he was exposed at an early age to ranching, rodeo and the horse show arena. Early years were spent on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation with his family later. He is also an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Larry showed professionally on the AQHA Show Circuit for others. His one broodmare produced many winners including Parsuasive – earning AQHA Superiors in Halter & Western Pleasure, she became an AQHA Champion and also a Canadian National Champion. After 10 years managing a veterinary practice in Mobridge, a move west to Rapid City in 1984 continued his showing, offering riding lessons, training youth riders and managing a new facility. A chance meeting led to a career at the new Black Hills Regional Eye Institute – December 2023 begins his 40th year with the past 23 years on the surgery floor.

After a week under the guidance of well-known equine photographer Don Shugart in Texas in 1991, he established Larry Larson Photography, Inc. offering equine photography, graphic ads and website design and hosts annual equine photography clinics with his 27th annual clinic scheduled for 2024. During treatments for Lymphoma in 2007, he continued to photograph arena events and sale consignments, design advertising and produce 2 sale catalogs.

Elected an AQHA National Director in 2000, he was elevated to AQHA Director At Large in 2015, is an AQHA Foundation Ambassador and a member of their Heritage Society while serving on the Marketing and Membership, International and AQHA Hall Of Fame Selection Committees. Honors include: 2016 South Dakota Horseman Of The Year; 2019 Black Hills Stock Show Horseman Of The Year; 2017 AQHA Region 2 Don Brunner Grit & Perseverance Award and 2023 South Dakota Quarter Horse Association Show Legacy Honoree.

COURTESY OF MISS RODEO AMERICA.

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