December 8, 2021 - 10:34 pm
Updated December 9, 2021 - 6:51 pm
For the past two years, Hailey Frederiksen was one of 31 state rodeo queens, an honor and a privilege on its own.
“When I won Miss Rodeo Colorado, I just wanted to represent Colorado well,” Frederiksen said.
On Sunday, at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, Frederiksen advanced to become one of 10.
“I made it to the top 10, and I thought, ‘All right, I’m good here,’” she said. “If they liked me enough for the top 10, that’s great. And if I didn’t go any further, well, God has bigger and better plans for me.”
Then Frederiksen advanced to the final five contestants.
“And I thought, ‘This is great!’”
But make no mistake, by that point, Frederiksen wanted God’s bigger and better plans to include that last step, the one in which the Miss Rodeo America crown is transferred from current title-holder Jordan Tierney to the head of this rodeo queen from Wellington, Colo.
“To be among the top five amongst these 31 girls is just unreal. I couldn’t believe it,” Frederiksen said. “But I’ve wanted this title since I was 12. I’d worked my tail end off for this.”
By the end of the day Sunday, that work paid off. Hailey Frederiksen is the 2022 Miss Rodeo America.
“It was a humbling moment and very satisfying. I knelt down crying. I couldn’t believe I’d just won the title. People have recognized the work I’ve put in,” she said. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget. I’m beyond humbled and grateful for this opportunity.”
Frederiksen’s main objective in 2022: to be the inspiration that Tierney and so many other Miss Rodeo Americas — now 66 in all, dating to 1956 — have been to her as she’s pursued her dream.
“I just want to be that inspiring light for other people. I wouldn’t have gotten into rodeo queening without being inspired by others,” Frederiksen said. “I love to talk, and I’m deeply passionate about what I represent. I’m excited to express that passion with everyone I meet.”
The Miss Rodeo America Pageant makes for a pressure-packed, stressful few days, to be certain. But like all of the champions who have come before her, Frederiksen noted the week has been full of light and memorable moments too. Her roommate was Miss Rodeo Hawaii Gabrielle Berce.
“She taught me how to say ‘good morning’ in Hawaiian: Aloha kakahiaka,” Frederiksen said. “I’m not fluent in Hawaiian, but I can say that now!”
Then there was the Sunday night victory dinner.
“I had an 8-ounce filet mignon. I told my parents, ‘I want a big, juicy steak,” Frederiksen said, while noting she didn’t get any more carried away than that. “No drinks, no drinks. I was starving, my parents asked me what I wanted, and I said I want steak. You know: Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.”
Off that quote alone, Frederiksen might just be hearing about sponsorship opportunities from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Along with dinner, Frederiksen said she just enjoyed being able to decompress and share the moment with those closest to her.
“It was great just being with my family. We don’t really get to be with them all eight days,” she said. “I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying this: I’ll wear the crown and sash, but it’s just as much my family’s crown as it is mine. They are the reason why I’m here.”
Going forward, Frederiksen just hopes to carry the mantle as well as her predecessor and good friend Tierney.
“I got to spend two years with Jordan,” Frederiksen said, noting the unusual circumstance of Tierney holding the Miss Rodeo America title and Frederiksen the Miss Rodeo Colorado crown the past 24 months because of the pandemic canceling the 2021 pageant. “Jordan did make me cry this week. She gave an incredible speech to all the girls. I couldn’t be more honored to follow someone like her. I’m truly honored to carry this tradition on after her.”
Tierney, gracious as ever, is confident that Frederiksen will do the rodeo world proud these next 12 months.
“She’s gonna do a great job. I’ve traveled with her a lot the last two years and have really gotten to know her. She’s amazing,” Tierney said. “I’m also a little partial to her because we’ve got a similar sense of humor. She’s really funny!”
With that sense of humor and passion for the rodeo world, Frederiksen can’t wait to charge into the coming 12 months.
“I’m ready for this next year. One year is gonna fly by.”