Coalville queen named Miss Rodeo Utah
Cassidy Black used to have the same reoccurring dream when she was younger: a man would slowly announce her name over a microphone and then the crowd would erupt as she was crowned Miss Rodeo Utah.
Black, a Coalville resident, grew up around the competition because her mom, Gena, wore the crown in 1981 and served as the director for several years. It sparked a life-long pursuit of the crown that Black was recently able to bring to fruition.
"I’ve seen the highs of the highs and the lows of lows, but I have always wanted to be Miss Rodeo Utah since I was about 2 or 3 years old," the 20-year-old said in an interview with The Park Record. "I was finally able to realize my dream this year and it has been a really great ride."
On Jan. 1, Black officially began her year-long reign as the state’s rodeo and western lifestyle representative. Miss Rodeo Utah, which celebrated the competition’s 60-year anniversary in 2015, is an affiliate of the Miss Rodeo America. Black will eventually compete in the Miss Rodeo America pageant.
Black will travel around the state and country attending different rodeos and related events. Last week she met with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to kick-off her term and will be traveling to Florida next week.
"It’s very incredible and a very humbling experience for someone who grew up in Coalville," Black said.
"I told my mom the other day at the governor’s, I was like, ‘Mom I am a really small fish in a big pond,’ and she looked at me and she said, ‘You worked your whole life for this.’ And just to meet these amazing men who not only represent our state, but meeting many influential people in the rodeo world who have done so much for the lifestyle is amazing," she added.
Black won her title on July 24 after a week-long competition and pageant that coincides with the Ogden Pioneer Days celebration. Contestants endure three rounds of horsemanship, a fashion show, speeches and interviews. Electronics and social media are restricted and each woman has a chaperone.
"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Black said. "We wake up and start at 5 in the morning and don’t get to bed until 11. You are running on hairspray fumes and rhinestones."
Eight women competed to be named Miss Rodeo Utah 2016 and when Black won, she said she was in shock.
"I looked at the girl next to me and she was like ‘Cassidy you did it,’" Black said. "After it kind of sunk in all I wanted to do was hug my mom and my dad. I may have done the contest myself, but I wasn’t alone.
"Rodeo is such a family sport and even if you are competing for yourself you have so many people supporting you especially in your community," Black said. "I just can’t put it to words. I still get the butterflies in my stomach."
Suzie Kendell, assistant director of the competition, said judges seek a contestant that has strong values and is capable of serving as the ambassador for the state. A "well-rounded young lady," Kendell said.
"Cassidy has been around rodeo her whole life and she knows a lot about it," Kendell said. "She is also a very confident young lady, so kind and fun to be around. We watched her in social situations and people are very drawn to her. We are excited."
Black began participating in rodeo events at a young age, eventually competing every weekend with the Utah High School Rodeo Association while a student North Summit High School. She was named Miss Rodeo Ogden in 2015 and will relinquish that title on April 30.
She is currently a junior at Weber State University majoring in professional sales, with a minor in fashion. The Black family owns the Black Mink Ranch across from the Summit County Fairgrounds and when she is not in school or representing rodeo she works on the ranch. Her 25-year-old brother is a professional bulldogger and their dad is his teammate.
"We are a very close family and I think that has a lot to do with the rodeo and being able to travel. When we do, our parents tell their stories and in the future we will be able to do the same thing," Black said.
Black said she has learned "so many life lessons" through the competition and would encourage every young rodeo queen to strive for the state title.
"Never be afraid to work hard and go after your dreams," Black said. "Nothing is ever easy, but everything is worthwhile. This whole year will be filled with amazing opportunities to meet people from around the state and country. Doing this from such a young age I have learned how to be able to talk to people and just learned so much to take into the next chapter of my life."
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