FIFTEEN years after first competing in the sport, Dakota Michaelis has been crowned Miss Rodeo Australia.
She first competed at the Peterborough Rodeo in South Australia at the age of five and represented Peterborough at last weekend’s judging in Warwick, Queensland.
Dakota said the excitement of being Miss Rodeo Australia hadn’t sunk in yet.
“It is exciting and cool to be Miss Rodeo Australia. I was surprised to win against tough competition,” she said.
Warwick Rodeo Queen Ashleigh Grant was runner-up and overall fundraiser while Taroom Rodeo Queen Tammie Conroy won the horsemanship section. Through Miss Rodeo Australia, each of the six entrants raised funds for a charity of their choice.
Dakota competes in 40 to 50 rodeos each year and that won’t change with her new role, she will just be much busier in fulfilling dual roles as a competitor and Miss Rodeo Australia.
“This is my rookie year and I am aiming to win the rookie barrel racing and all around cowgirl titles in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association,” she said.
“My role as Miss Rodeo Australia is to represent the APRA and help introduce new people to the sport. I will be stressing that we care for the animals even more than we care for ourselves; we treat our horses as best friends.
Dakota said two extra rodeos she planned to attend in her year as Miss Rodeo Australia were Bowen River and Nebo in Queensland.
“I have heard they are big, exciting rodeos which I haven’t been to in the past,” she said.
“I am looking forward to travelling to the Cheyenne Frontier Days in America at the end of July and the Canadian finals and the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas at the end of the year.”
Dakota and her parents are on the road most weekends to a rodeo. Her mother Candy has the APRA record for fastest time in breakaway roping and her father Kym competes in team roping.
She has played netball and basketball but rodeo has always been her main sport.
Dakota made the APRA junior finals in the barrel race in 2015 and last year was ranked 12th going into the Warwick Rodeo APRA National Finals in the barrel race.
She has no doubt her career high in barrel racing so far was winning at Narrandera (NSW) and Clare (SA) rodeo on successive weekends early in 2017.
Dakota was fifth in the average in barrel racing at last year’s Mt Isa Rodeo. She also competes in breakaway roping.
Her family is heavily involved in the Festival State Rodeo Circuit in SA.
She lives at Lewiston 40 minutes drive north of Adelaide and has competed in the Christmas Run of rodeos in Victoria, SA and NSW for seven of the past eight years.
In between work commitments in the meat industry and her sport of rodeo, Dakota instructs beginners in horse riding.
Dakota Michaelis (Peterborough) – Miss Rodeo Australia – Charity: The Epilepsy Centre
Ashleigh Grant (Warwick) – Runner Up and Overall Fundraiser – Charity: Blush Cancer Care
Tammie Conroy (Taroom Rodeo) – Horsemanship – Charity: Lockyer Valley Riding for the Disabled
Kate Taylor (Cloncurry) – Royal Flying Doctor Service
Nikea Coulson (Kooralbyn) – Aussie Helpers
Nicole Evans (Millmerran) – Black Dog Institute