The Road to Rodeo Queen

AvaLyn Sexton and Joseph Udouj

     Southside students are consistently staying involved in their extracurricular activities. While some of these hobbies are taking place in the school walls, or at least on school turf, others are going on in the personal-lives of students. An interest worth mentioning is partaking in rodeos. Crowned the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Queen, senior Mary Vivian Ivey is the perfect person to ask about that. 

     “I have always had horses, but I really started rodeoing when I was 9 years old. When I was little, my dream was to just be a cowgirl. I didn’t care about anything else,” Ivey said.

     While being a cowgirl was at one point only a dream, Mary Vivian has made it a reality for herself. She has put in many hours of work and dedication to claim her title. Being a rodeo queen takes a work-ethic like no other, and the steps it has taken in order for Ivey to progress are proof of this. 

     “The preparation for the pageant was pretty intensive. I started preparing about 7 months before the competition. I had a lady who would send me about 15 questions every single day about rodeo, current events, the NLBRA rulebook, and personality questions. I also took many horsemanship lessons and rode as many different horses as possible. I had tons of interviews, modeling, and public speaking practice throughout these months,” she said.

     One of the reasons that Ivey’s participation in the NLBRA is so significant, would have to be that the National Little Britches Association is all about service and community. 

     “As the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Queen, I get to travel around the country doing many different things to represent the NLBRA. Some of these things include visiting rodeos, attending other pageants, such as the Miss Rodeo America pageant, visiting our sponsors and thanking them for all they do, and finding new sponsors for the NLBRA. I also do a lot of volunteer work and make appearances locally,” she said.

     The NLBRA is known for not only service and community, but kindness as well. Many enjoy rodeoing, and the NLBRA maintains a positive atmosphere that Ivey loves and wants to share with others. 

     “In 2021, while I was at the National Little Britches Finals rodeo, my Bebe (grandmother) suddenly passed away. My mom and I went and watched the royalty competition to distract ourselves. That sparked an interest in me, but I thought nothing of it. Later, I realized that from the amount of love and support that the NLBRA showed me, I wanted to represent the best youth rodeo association in the world and be able to show other people the love that comes along with the NLBRA,” she said.

     Ivey’s work that she has put towards claiming her crown and the title of 2023 National Little Britches Queen is a proud accomplishment for her and her family. Not only is she making the most out of her rodeo experience, but she is shining light on others, too.

     “I love everything that comes with being the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Queen, but my most favorite part is having the platform to be able to make changes for the better, whether it’s in a little kid’s life, or helping to make the NLBRA and my community a better place,” she said.

     Southside students that use their interests to make a difference and pursue their dreams are one of the school’s greatest aspects. Mary Vivian Ivey is the 2023 National Little Britches Rodeo Association Queen, and students and staff are excited to see just how far she goes.