Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2013, 9:05 pm

Miss Rodeo seeks to lasso support in fundraiser

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By Pam Berenger, pberenger@qconline.com

Photo: Prairie Photo Studio / Submitted
Cassandra Spivey, of Sherrard, recently was Named Miss Rodeo Illinois 2013 Lady- In-Waiting. She attends Black Hawk College and is majoring in business management. Her accomplishments include a 4-H leadership award; she served as the 4-H president, treasurer and secretary; an FFA leadership award and scholarship; various FFA livestock judging awards with equine, swine, cattle, sheep as well as plants, seeds and hay, and more. She is a member of the UBHA (United Barrel Horse Association), Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association, Loud Thunder Saddle Club and New Windsor Mounted Drill Team. She will begin her reign as Miss Rodeo Illinois on Jan. 1, and she will travel throughout the U.S. promoting professional rodeo and the state of Illinois as she prepares to compete in the Miss Rodeo America pageant in Las Vegas next December. For more information about the Miss Rodeo Illinois and Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois Pageants, or the Miss Rodeo Illinois Association, visit missrodeoillinois.com.
Boots or heels? Cassandra Spivey is comfortable in both.

Last month, the 22-year-old Sherrard woman was named Miss Rodeo Illinois and will go to Las Vegas in December to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo America during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's national finals rodeo at the MGM.

Her coronation as Miss Rodeo Illinois, and a fundraiser to help her get to Las Vegas, will be held from4 to 11 tonight at the Reynolds American Legion, 501 Main St.

There will be a spaghetti dinner, live and silent auctions, kids games and line dance lessons. Her coronation will be at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 at the door for the meal and dance, or $10 for the dance only.

Like any pageant, it will be broken into categories, including modeling, written tests and interviews. She'll be slipping on heels to go with formal handmade leather dresses she'll wear during the interviews and modeling portions of the contest.

But for the riding competition, boots will be the footwear of choice.Miss Spivey and the 31 other contestants will draw the name of the horse they will ride to show their horsemanship skills.

"These horses are not trained pleasure horses by any means," she said. "You never know what kind of horse you're going to get. I'll be spending a lot of time with other people's horses this year to prepare for that."

Miss Spivey has a lot of experience under her silver belt buckle already. It started when she was in third-grade, and her parents, Cheryle and Jerry Spivey, allowed her to take her pleasure pony into a barrel race.

"The children's class was over so I had to run against the adults," she said. "I placed, and I fell in love with speed events."

Ms. Spivey's past achievements include having the fastest horse in Mercer and Henry counties and having the 4-H high point speed horse from 2001-09, FFA grand champion all-around horse, champion speed horse, western pleasure horse, English pleasure horse and reserve halter horse and the 2011 barrel racing champion of the Kinsey Rodeo summer series.

She did all that while jockeying school, basketball, track, marching drill team, cross country, volleyball and choir.

She was 2007 Miss Muscatine County Saddle Club, 2007 Miss Henry County Equestrian Ambassador and 2009 Miss New Windsor Fair and Rodeo.

"I love rodeo," she said. "It's a family sport, a part of our heritage and culture. One of my goals is to bring a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeo back to Illinois."

Miss Rodeo America travels the country spreading the word about rodeo and horsemanship.

Ms. Spivey said it will cost her about $20,000 to get to the competition. Tonight's fundraiser will help offset the cost.

For more information, visit missrodeoillinois.com.