On a stage as glittering as the outfit she wore, MiQuel Holyoak, a tall, tanned, 21-year-old—who has attended Arizona State University—was crowned Miss Rodeo America 1997.
When she learned she had won the title, Holyoak—who never gave away the fact that she was standing on stage with a broken foot—was already wiping away tears from sweeping away other honors for speech, appearance, personality and horsemanship.
Wearing a two-piece fringed outfit of burgundy and silver, Holyoak had to bow down slightly to accept the crown from the outgoing Miss Rodeo America.
"This is the best feeling in the world," Holyoak said later, trying to control her trembling. In order to win the coveted title that makes her the First Lady and an official spokesperson for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Holyoak was selected from a group of 33 state titleholders.
Holyoak, of Mesa, Arizona, is currently a junior at Utah State University pursuing a Bachelors degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a double minor in Mathematics and Horse Training. Her interests include rodeo, horses, fishing, barrel racing, softball, volleyball, camping, skiing, country dancing, and promoting therapeutic horseback riding for disabled children as a 4-H leader.
"I'm a first-generation cowgirl, but hopefully not the last," she said, adding that her family has been in farming for generations. "I got my first horse when I was 16," she remembered, laughing. "I saddled him up, he took me for three laps around the backyard and then dumped me."
MiQuel's role as Miss Rodeo America will include a year of travel and public appearances on behalf of professional rodeo and the Miss Rodeo America program. "I look forward to an eventful year and consider it an honor to represent our sponsors and the PRCA as Miss Rodeo America."