Miss Rodeo America 1999 is Shelly Williams, formerly Miss Rodeo Idaho. She was crowned Saturday afternoon, December 5, 1998 at the Flamingo Hilton Showroom by Mary Shaw, Miss Rodeo America 1998.
Miss Williams, a resident of Kuna, Idaho, is the forty-fourth young lady to earn this distinct honor. Before serving as Miss Rodeo Idaho, she attended Boise State University majoring in International Business and Public Relations. After her reign as Miss Rodeo America 1999, she would like to pursue a career in public relations.
The trail to becoming the "first lady of professional rodeo" is very competitive. It takes experience, training, perseverance, plus a little luck to compete successfully at the state and national levels and then to go on to win the coveted crown. These young ladies, ranging in ages 18 to 24, take to heart the job of representing America's number one sport. They are first cowgirls and athletes in their own right who have the knowledge of their sport and the gift of communication to educate the public and raise the awareness level about professional rodeo and its related industries such as agriculture, western apparel and entertainment.
Shelly Williams has been preparing for the job of Miss Rodeo America since she won her first local queen contest in the Idaho Girls Rodeo Association at age 16. In July 1997, Miss Williams earned the title Miss Rodeo Idaho during the Snake River Stampede. It was this state title that earned her a spot in the 1999 Miss Rodeo America Pageant, in which she swept the categories of speech, horsemanship, personality and appearance.
"It's hard to believe that it's real," said Williams. "What finally make it real to me was hearing Bob Tallman introduce me as the new Miss Rodeo America during the Saturday night performance of the NFR. Seeing the cowboys cheering really meant a lot to me. Having the respect from my rodeo peers, all those famous cowboys from so many different disciplines, congratulate me was wonderful."
Williams, a striking blonde with a dazzling smile, conveyed that a strong belief in herself gave her the stamina, focus and confidence to perform well during the pageant. "I knew that no matter what the outcome I could do the job of Miss Rodeo America well," said Williams, "This belief in myself, plus the grace of God and the guidance of my parents really made the difference."
The title for Miss Rodeo America means Williams will spend 1999 traveling the continent as a representative of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Miss Rodeo America program. Many of her duties will be carried out on horseback at professional rodeos from coast to coast, while others will include public speaking at schools and civic functions plus media exposure.