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Katherine Merck, of Spokane, Washington, was selected as Miss Rodeo America 2016 after a week-long competition during the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“It is a privilege to represent the cowboys and cowgirls who carry on the great western lifestyle, values, and traditions that rodeo embodies. As Miss Rodeo America, I channel my motto, ‘live so enthusiastically you cannot fail,’ into successfully promoting professional rodeo, creating new fans everywhere I go, and ensuring rodeo’s legacy.”

Before winning the title of Miss Rodeo America, Katherine was in her final year of Law School at Gonzaga University School of Law. In the future she plans to run for a judicial position on the Washington State Supreme Court to promote ethical justice for land use, water rights, and agricultural estate planning. When time allows, Katherine enjoys hunting, target shooting, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, reading and knitting. She is a former rugby player for the University of Notre Dame.

Katherine believes it is her duty to actively serve in order to give back to the community that has given so much to her. She is a board member for Rotaract, an affiliate of Rotary. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors for PRODIGY Northwest (Providing Resources and Opportunities Designed to Inspire Gifted Youth), where she works with gifted students and their teachers. Her passion for fly-fishing led her to co-found Gonzaga Law School’s Rod and Gun Club with the goal of educating her peers on the technicalities of the sport while emphasizing the importance of stewardship of local waters.

“As a dedicated rodeo ambassador, I am honored to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport of professional rodeo and its athletes, both human and animal, with as many people as possible, and serve as a representative and role model by exemplifying rodeo’s virtues of fair play, sportsmanship and hard work.”

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