story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
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Meet the Member Lesley Henderson
story by Lindsay King
Lesley Henderson’s bright smile lights up the room when she talks about her time as 2017 Miss ACRA. “I have met amazing people and grown closer to the association. They are like my own family now, they have helped me so much and been so kind.” She loves to travel, making it no surprise that she has made 23 appearances at ACRA rodeos so far this year. “I try to put myself out there and help the association any way that I can. I am very blessed to be their queen.”
Rodeo is and has been Lesley’s entire life, growing up breeding and training rodeo horses with her family. “My parents took me to 4-H with my horse Jewels when I was little. I fell in love with rodeo right then and there.” Lesley started in barrels, poles, goats and breakaway roping but now mainly focuses on barrels and breakaway. “Sometimes I will team rope with my friends at the house but that is just for fun.” Butch and Lil Henderson, her parents, rodeoed growing up. “My dad has always pushed me in the breakaway, he says you cannot win if you catch at the end of the arena so to start swinging in the box. I have only been doing rodeo queen contests for a little bit but my mom has always been a big supporter of it.”
In January, Lesley will compete for the 2018 Miss Rodeo USA title at the IFR in Oklahoma City. “I have a few months to prepare so I am going to study as much as I can but also keep up with my school work.” The week-long contest will put all of Lesley’s queen skills to the test. “If I do not win in January then I will begin preparing to compete for Miss Rodeo Oklahoma in July.” It was 2014 Miss Rodeo Oklahoma who influenced Lesley the most during her first pageant at the 101 Wild West Show in Ponca City. “She told me that I had a good personality and that I should run for 2015 Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Teen. It was a big shocker but a great experience. I took a year off after that to focus on school.” The year afterward Lesley was approached by the ACRA to run for queen and the rest is history.
A graduate of Green Country School of Dental Assisting, Lesley is pursuing her dental hygienist degree at Connors State College. She plans to also get a degree in agribusiness. “Next semester I will start taking agribusiness classes so I can eventually take over the family businesses: Henderson Farms and American Maintenance Solutions, LLC.”
Lesley rodeoed in college her first semester but decided she needed to focus on school and her title. “Overall, it was great but really tough. My horse had a hard time going from little to big pens. He was more of an indoor runner.” Last October Lesley had to put her good barrel horse down. “That was a tough loss, I have not rodeoed much this year because of it. My 7-year-old Dash for Cash mare is my queen horse for the moment.”
Lesley is excited to help with the ACRA queen contest this year as they ramp up the intensity. “Thursday is usually the speech, modeling and interview portions followed by the contestant banquet. This year we are going to have the girls come up and introduce themselves and answer some judged impromptu questions.” Horsemanship will follow the next morning and then they will continue to be judged at each performance with the queen crowned on Sunday. “I would just encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try. It has been a great experience for me and I have fallen more and more in love with rodeo because of it.” For more information about the queen contest or the ACRA, please visit: acrarodeo.com or ACRA Rodeo Queen on Facebook.