By Emily Williams, Assistant Features Editor
Each January, ladies from around the nation have the opportunity to compete for the sought-after title of Miss Rodeo USA at the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This year, Murray State’s very own Madison Moxley, junior from Paducah, Kentucky, competed for the title and represented Murray State in a significant way.
Moxley said she was first named Miss Rodeo Murray State University before going on to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to represent Murray State on a national level.
“What’s different about rodeo queen competitions is you have to know everything that a beauty pageant contestant has to know,” Moxley said. “We have to know our current events, know what’s going on in the news, be very well-spoken, but on top of that, we also have to have equine knowledge and rodeo event knowledge.”
Brittany Howard, a Murray State alumnus and winner of Miss Rodeo USA 2017, said the week of the competition is a very grueling and intense process consisting of speeches, a 12 page exam, impromptu questions, media interviews, modeling and horsemanship.
“It was a lot to prepare for,” Howard said.
Moxley said she won the People’s Choice Award along with Miss Congeniality while at the competition. She said she believes that she received the honor of Miss Congeniality because of her light-hearted attitude throughout a stressful week and her ability to crack jokes.
“As far as the People’s Choice Award, I got an insane amount of votes and I think that had a lot to do with the Murray community,” Moxley said. “I’m also a sister of Alpha Delta Pi, so that helped me out a lot, too. I was the first one in the pageant’s history to pass that 3k mark.”
Moxley said when she is older she would like to do professional rodeo as a career.
“A while back, I got the advice that if you want to be successful in something, you have to have people who want to be around you all the time,” Moxley said. “Before this pageant, I didn’t feel like I had a personality that people enjoyed.”
Moxley said that putting herself out there in a scary situation and learning that people recognize she is fun and can make people laugh really made her feel great.
Caeleigh Whitworth, sophomore from Paducah, Kentucky, and Moxley’s best friend, said she considers Moxley to be a great friend because she cares about people and will drop anything to help her friends. She said she believes one of Moxley’s strong suits is that she has a lot of self-confidence and isn’t afraid to be herself.
“She went to the pageant and she represented Murray State very, very well,” Whitworth said. “We should all be very proud of her.”