Cowgirl follows in mother’s footsteps as Miss Rodeo K-State

A pretty pink belt buckle started it all for Jamie Nemechek.

It was, as a youngster, when she walked through a western store with her parents and siblings that she spotted the buckle, as part of an ad for a rodeo queen contest.

She asked her mom what she needed to do to get that buckle, and her mom, a former rodeo queen herself, told her.

Now, 10 years later, she’s got her own buckle, as the 2019 Miss Rodeo Kansas State University queen.

Nemechek of Goodland will be a junior this fall at K-State. An animal science major with a pre-veterinary option, she was crowned in February. After her undergraduate schooling, she plans on attending veterinary school and someday working in a mixed practice.

In high school at Goodland High, she was involved in Science Olympiad, played volleyball and basketball, was in the marching band and pep band, and was a 4-H member for twelve years.

She competes in the barrel racing at local events and as a member of the National Barrel Horse Association. In her youth, she was a competitor in the Young Guns youth series in Dodge City.

Nemechek follows in her mother’s footsteps as rodeo queen. Her mother, Penny Garrett Nemechek, served as the 1990 Miss Rodeo K-State queen. Her mom never pushed her, but when she showed an interest in rodeo queen pageants, was there to help her.

“She let me find it on my own,” Jamie said. “She encouraged my passion when I showed an interest in it, and she let me do my own thing. Once I got to K-State, I was excited that it could be a possibility for me. I thought it would be cool that both me and my mom had won it.”

Jamie has held several rodeo queen titles throughout her career. Her first one, the contest that won her the pink buckle, was for the Thomas County Junior Princess in 2009. She’s been the princess and the queen for the Sheridan County contest, both princess and queen for Ellis County, and the Miss Jayhawker Rodeo Queen for Hill City.

Being a rodeo queen is not all glamour and rhinestones, her mother said. It takes a lot of time and energy.

“It requires a huge commitment of time, and some days it’s blood, sweat and tears.”

She recounts a day when Jamie had to haul a horse to a contest. The morning she was supposed to load the horse and leave, the jack on the trailer was frozen to the ground. When she loosened it, it bent, and wouldn’t work, making her late to her appointment. The adversity was a lesson.

“I was proud of her, for what she was able to overcome. (Being a rodeo queen) teaches life skills,” Penny said. “Things don’t always go your way, so you make the best of it.”

Jamie will travel across the state to represent Kansas State this year, including making appearances at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene July 31-August 3. She will read to children at the Abilene Library on July 30, be in the Central Kansas Free Fair parade on August 1, and help with the rodeo.

And the pink buckle that she wanted? It’s still at her house. As one of the first buckles she earned, it’s special. “It’s pretty cool,” she said.

Jamie’s dad is Jerry Nemechek. Jerry and Penny have four other children: Garrett, Parker, Matthew, and Sarah.

The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo runs July 31-August 3 and begins at 7:30 pm each night. Tickets range in price from $8 to $14 and can be purchased online at www.ckff.net, at the fairgrounds, and at area retailers.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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