Photos by Kirstie Marie Photography
Lisa Lageschaar started riding horses long before she entered her first rodeo queen pageant.
“I started riding consistently at the age of five. I sat on my first horse when I was two and then I relentlessly begged my parents for my own horse and they finally gave in and bought me my first pony, Johnny for my fifth birthday,” she said. “I haven't looked back since! My parents say I said the word “horse” before I could even say ‘mama’ or ‘papa’”.
Johnny was a two-eye blind Welsh pony that taught Lisa everything knew she knew about horses as a little girl
“Johnny did everything I wanted him to… track cattle, barrel race, pull a sled in the winter, pull a cart down around my parents dairy farm and down our county roads, and more. He even taught two of my best friends how to ride. He would do anything for me, but if he didn't trust a person that climbed onto his back (being unable to see) he would just spin in circles,” she said.
Lisa was given her first American Quarter Horse at the age of seven when she was ready to step up to a bigger mount.
“Lucky was a bay gelding who eventually ended up being my first barrel horse and probably still my best barrel horse to date,” she said. “He definitely did not fit the description of ‘kid safe’, but he made me one fearless little girl after all the times he attempted to dump me.”
She competed for her first rodeo queen title in Winnsboro, Texas, eleven miles for her home in Pickton, Texas.
“I competed in my first rodeo queen contest ten years before I competed for the title of Miss Rodeo Texas and then Miss Rodeo America,” she said. “I find that hard to believe because I feel like I was fourteen years old and decided to run for Winnsboro Rodeo Association Junior Queen just yesterday!”
Lisa has had a strong support system over the years, spearheaded by her parents.
“My love for horses, rodeo, and the western and agricultural industries as well as my competitive nature (this probably came from my dad) have been the driving force behind my goal to become Miss Rodeo America. My parents never recommended I do something or made me do anything, but if I chose to do something I was not allowed to quit no matter how much I didn't like it,” she said.
“They are also very realistic and frugal. I didn't even realize becoming Miss Rodeo America was a possibility until I was twenty-two years old and I had quite the workload cut out for me before I got there! My parents are very supportive emotionally, but have also been the ones to
keep me realistic, humble and focused,” she said.
Lisa and her family placed an emphasis on schoolwork, and she finished her Master’s Degree before running for Miss Rodeo Texas.
“School is very important to my family, and I'm so thankful I was able to plan my path to becoming Miss Rodeo America with the maturity, knowledge and experience I gained while in college,” she said.
Lisa served as Miss Rodeo Texas for five months before competing for Miss Rodeo America.
“I loved representing my home state, and in between appearances every week the Miss Rodeo Texas organization worked really hard to help me prepare for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant,” she said. “One of my favorite moments actually came in February when I attended the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo after I had already been crowned Miss Rodeo America because I was able to reconnect with all of my Miss Rodeo Texas family and be a part of the twelve time PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year!”
When getting ready for the Miss Rodeo America pageant, Lisa worshiped one word: preparation.
“Preparation for Miss Rodeo America consisted of studying rodeo rules, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women's Professional Rodeo Association records and history, equine science, and current events every chance I got, practicing extemporaneous speeches multiple times a week, riding as many horses as possible, and planning and perfecting my wardrobe,” she said. “The preparation honestly began in late 2013 when I decided to run for Miss Rodeo Austin in 2014, and then Miss Rodeo Texas, and just continued on. It's been strange to not open my Study Blue app every chance I get this year!”
When it was time for competition in Las Vegas, Lisa was prepared.
“The Miss Rodeo America Pageant is a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity,” she said. “I did feel pretty defeated midway through the week because I received news that my grandma passed, and I couldn't be with my family, but I prayed continually and on Thursday afternoon I felt like I was reenergized and ready for whatever the last three days of competition brought.”
The other contestants were supportive, and Lisa enjoyed spending time with her friends.
“By the time coronation day arrived I felt like I had done well enough to place top five, but wasn't sure I would win. When the emcees announced the top ten in random order, they had called out nine names and my name had not been called,” she said.
“At that point my heart sank and I thought I hadn't even placed, but fortunately my name was called tenth out of ten! I was then called out third in the top five and shuffled back stage with the rest of the top five contestants to prepare for the final question that each top five contestant gets.”
“I didn't give the best answer to the question and thought I had blown it; so, I was beyond excited when it was time to call out category winners and placings and crown the new Miss Rodeo America!”
Lisa has traveled across the country promoting rodeo and the western way of life. However, she can’t pick a standout favorite with her extensive lineup.
“It’s hard to say exactly which event this year has been my favorite because I've been to some neat places: Cheyenne, WY, Cody, WY and Yellowstone, Estes Park, CO and the Rocky Mountain National Park, Eagle, CO, North Carolina to the Biltmore House in Appalachian Mountains while visiting the Wrangler headquarters, Montana, California, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the list goes on, but nothing beats Texas.”
“I loved getting to come back ‘home’ to Rodeo Austin in March,” she said. “I served as Miss Rodeo Austin in 2014 and Miss Rodeo America never attends Rodeo Austin, but they booked me to come and the Miss Rodeo America office manager was able to make it work that I attend for four days!”
The rodeo family has been supportive of Lisa on her once-in-a-lifetime journey this year.
“What makes every appearance so special are all of the people I've met and worked with this year,” she said. “We have some amazing individuals in the rodeo industry and I'm blessed to have grown my rodeo family immensely this year!”
As a part of her Miss Rodeo America prize package, Lisa also receives a scholarship to pursue her higher education.
“I have both my bachelors degree in agricultural education and my masters degree in secondary education, and will begin my doctoral work in August of 2019 in agricultural education through the Joint Doctor of Education in Agricultural Education Doc@Distance program offered through Texas Tech and Texas A&M,” she said. “The scholarship I received from Miss Rodeo America should allow me to graduate completely debt free!
Lisa has grand plans for her post-Miss Rodeo America life, including attending the NFR in another capacity.
“Outside of obtaining my doctorate degree and going back to teaching high school agriculture and being an FFA advisor, I will be looking for and hopefully buying a new barrel horse soon with the goal to not just run down the alley way of the Thomas and Mack on a black flag horse, but on my barrel horse! I also plan to continue team roping and hopefully enter some All Girl ropings,” she said. “Ultimately I want to do whatever the good Lord above has planned for me because I know it's going to be amazing!"