Home USA News A Tri-Cities woman is competing for the title of Miss Rodeo America.

A Tri-Cities woman is competing for the title of Miss Rodeo America.

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Lexi Hibbs is fighting for the title

Lexi Hibbs competes for the title of Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas. The Richland woman spent most of last year as Miss Rodeo Washington. She is pictured here making her grand entrance at the Walla Walla Rodeo.

Lexie Hibbs boarded a plane this week to compete on the biggest stage a rodeo queen could hope for.

The Richland native and Miss Rodeo Washington will spend eight days competing to be the official spokeswoman Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

“I don’t know if excited or scared is the best term,” the 23-year-old told the Hibs Herald. “It is an honor and a privilege. … I’m so excited to show the judges why I think I can be a good Miss Rodeo America.”

An event brings together rodeo queens from 28 states west of the Mississippi River. They will be judged on appearance, ride and character.

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Miss Rodeo Washington Lexi Hibbs of Richland. Courtesy of Art of Aperture Photogr

She will have to pass a written test, demonstrate knowledge of current events in rodeo and interview the judges.

People can watch the event through the Wrangler network or move on Facebook or Instagram. The promotion will last until Sunday, December 4.

Hibbs’ journey as an advocate for rodeo and western life is rooted in her father’s work with cattle. She grew up understanding the importance of agriculture.

She also loved being around animals, and after some initial reluctance, she joined her twin sister for riding lessons when she was 7 years old. When she first sat on an American Quarter Horse, she was in love.

“They will work as long as you ask them to and never ask for anything in return,” she said. “Horses want so badly to please you. If you can help the horse, it’s a really magical moment. … It’s a really special bond that has helped me become the rider I am today.”

Her love of working with horses continued as she competed in 4-H, show jumping, dressage, jumping and rodeo queen.

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Lexi Hibbs of Richland is headed to Las Vegas to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo Washington. Courtesy of Rick Reil, Reallife Photography

Miss Horse Heaven Roundup

She began her quest to become a rodeo queen when a friend won the 2018 Horse Heaven Roundup Rodeo Queen. She realized that the skills she could learn from the program would be useful in other aspects of her life.

In her first year competing for the crown in 2019, she took first place. She was grateful for the ability to grow with her horse and improve her interviewing and public speaking skills.

She returned the following year and won the 2020 crown.

With the advent of COVID, this has created new challenges. She learned to connect with the community in a variety of ways, she said in a Benton-Franklin Fair and Rodeo video.

Through social media, she connected with community members in ways she didn’t expect, but said she’s grateful for the opportunity to do so.

“I had to participate in the blood drive and I volunteered at the 2nd harvest and I had to pack the flour,” she said. “Something I didn’t expect at all, but it’s a way of promoting the Queen in the community.”

Hibs’ reign as Queen of the Horse Sky continued for another year as pandemic-induced closures continued. As she worked to serve the Tri-Cities, she looked forward to taking the next stage and starting to promote cowboys and cowgirls throughout Washington.

She was named Miss Rodeo Washington 2022 in October 2021.

“The first time you wear your crown, it’s a magical experience,” she said. “There’s so much preparation, when it pays off, it’s one of the best moments.”

While serving as Horse Heaven Roundup Rodeo Queen, she earned a degree from WSU Tri-Cities in Viticulture and Oenology that was fully paid for through 10 different academic scholarships.

She knew she wanted to work in agriculture and discovered the size of the state’s wine industry.

She found a job at Gooseridge Estate Vineyard and Winery in Benton City, where she oversees the operation of the 2,000-acre farm.

The year of the rodeo

In her year as State Rodeo Queen, Hibbs attended every PRCA rodeo in the state and also attended rodeos in seven states — Colorado, California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Florida.

The experience gave her the opportunity to learn a lot about what she is capable of. She rode unfamiliar horses, performed in front of crowds, and traveled long distances to get to her next destination.

“I became a better rider. I just improved my interviewing skills. … Being a rodeo queen teaches you to be yourself, to be a strong person,” she said. “I came out of it a better person than when I started.”

Tony Zunker, director of the Benton-Franklin Fairgrounds Association, said Hibbs was a great rodeo representative.

“We’re very proud of her and happy for her,” Zunker said. “She doesn’t know a stranger. She was able to open doors and was just able to do a wonderful job representing the sport of rodeo.”

Whatever happens in Las Vegas, she wants the western heritage that rodeo celebrates to continue to be protected.

She noted that each of the eight rodeo events is based on an activity that continues to be practiced on livestock farms.

“I love the idea of ​​people on cattle farms and being in rural America,” she said. “There is nothing better than being in a field with cows or grapes on a horse.”

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. Studied communications at Washington State University.

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