Due to her superb horsemanship and knowledge of the sport, 23-year-old Stephanie Kaepel of Conway will be officially crowned Miss Rodeo Arkansas at her coronation Feb. 14.
She won the pageant in August.
She said she didn’t begin competing in rodeos until she was about 12 years old and she is relatively new to the sport compared to others.
"I’m different from most girls because I didn’t come from a rodeo or horse family," she said. "I was just that little girl who always had the horse dream. I always wanted a horse and I just never grew out of it. Finally, my family moved here, they bought some land and we got a couple of horses."
She said she met a woman in Greenbrier who helped her perfect her riding. Once she began riding and competing in rodeos, she joined the Arkansas High School Rodeo Association and saw her first rodeo queen. She said she wanted to be in her shoes.
Kaepel said the pageant is much more than just looking pretty.
"For Miss Rodeo Arkansas, you have to do a lot of in-depth studying about the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association … history, knowing about events, different rodeo terms, and current event stuff," she said.
She said along with participating in the pageant and showing horsemanship to the judges, the contestants have to give a two-minute speech, answer impromptu questions and participate in three interviews, one of which is a media interview.
As Miss Rodeo Arkansas, Kaepel said she will be an ambassador of the sport and the state.
"I just really represent the state of Arkansas and in December I will go and compete for Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas with the Wranglers National Finals Rodeo," she said. "That’s pretty much the Super bowl of rodeo, so that’s pretty cool. I go to different rodeos throughout the state and throughout the country and just represent the sport I love."
For her talent during the pageant in August, she rode her horse bridle-less in different types of patterns and showing her horsemanship in that manner.
Kaepel said that the coronation will also be a fund-raiser and that she was extremely happy when she won the title of Miss Rodeo Arkansas.
"I was really excited because I had ran before and I had gotten runner up," she said. "I was really happy that I had put that extra work in and it really paid off this time. It’s really an honor to be Miss Rodeo Arkansas and represent the sport of rodeo, so I’m really excited for my year and all the traveling and rodeos I’ll get to go to."
She will hold the title until August, when the next Miss Rodeo Arkansas pageant will take place. The winner will lay in waiting until January or February, when they are officially crowned miss Rodeo Arkansas.