Dakota Michaelis has been crowned Miss Rodeo Australia 2018 at a ceremony at the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre in Warwick in January. The 20 year old, representing Peterborough Rodeo and a barrel racing and breakaway roping competitor in her Rookie Year, said she looks forward to sharing the sport of rodeo throughout Australia and overseas. “I get to promote the sport I’ve lived and breathed,” she said.

Dakota, who ironically rode a horse called Dakota in her horsemanship section, has been riding since she could walk and on the rodeo trail since the age of five. In her role, Dakota will proudly wear a new crown featuring elements of Australia’s flora and fauna, the Southern Cross and Australian opals, made and donated by Montana Silversmiths through Just Country. She was overwhelmed by the win, but in accepting the title, Dakota thanked her fellow competitors.

“Everyone has shown such incredible passion and drive to professionally represent the western way of life and I encourage you to continue being an advocate for the sport of professional rodeo and the Miss Rodeo Australia quest,” she said. Judge Natalie Brownlie of Toowoomba’s Tarlie B Designs, said that it was a difficult decision to select just one young woman.

“They each had so much to offer the role and getting to meet these gorgeous girls and hear their stories made for an amazing weekend,” Natalie said. “Miss Rodeo Australia needs to have warmth and charm and be able to work with the media, work with sponsors and create new relationships that will continue to grow and sustain the Miss Rodeo Australia organisation into the future and we believe Dakota is well skilled to do this.”

Warwick Rodeo Queen Ashleigh Grant was named runner-up and took out the inaugural Fundraiser title. The 25 year old paralegal raised funds for Blush Cancer Care Inc, after her own family received support whilst her mother was undergoing treatment. As Miss Rodeo Australia and the public relations face of the Australian Professional Rodeo Association, Dakota will travel extensively in Australia and internationally, appearing at events to educate the public about the sport of rodeo. Her role includes trips to the Canadian National Finals Rodeo and crowning of Miss Rodeo Canada, as well as the American National Finals Rodeo and Miss Rodeo America Pageant to continue to forge the professional bond and friendships between the sister organisations and key rodeo organisations.

Readers also enjoyed the socials from Women’s Day Soiree.