story by Claire Vincent Millie Frey is the 18 year old daughter of Winston and Cindy Frey from Mowata, Louisiana. She is a senior at […]
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Meet the Member Claire Vincent
courtesy of Claire Vincent
I’m Claire Vincent, the 17-year-old daughter of Carrie Hollingsworth and Joe Dekeyzer from Choupique, Louisiana. I’m a senior at Jeff Davis Homeschool. My rodeo events include breakaway roping and goat tying. My mom rode horses growing up and my dad rode bareback horses. I have two brothers, Clinton and Cody Busby. Clinton is a LHSRA alumni. He competed in steer wrestling and team roping. Cody did Little Britches and JR High School rodeos, then decided it was time to hang up his spurs and go hunting and fishing on the weekends. Myself, on the other hand, I just had to throw everyone for a loop. Sure, growing up my family got the cute little cowgirl with big dreams of becoming a breakaway roper, goat tier, and occasional barrel racer, but what they didn’t see coming was rodeo queen.
At ten years old, I was crowned the 2013-2014 National Little Britches Rodeo Princess. That year in Las Vegas, Nevada I met Miss Rodeo America 2014, Paige Nicholson Bergeron. Seeing firsthand the impact she was making on the sport of rodeo sparked my dream of becoming Miss Rodeo America one day.
I’ve been a member of the Louisiana High School Rodeo association since sixth grade. My eighth-grade year, my partner and I were the state ribbon roping champions and went on to compete at Nationals that summer. To say the least, this association has changed my life. My sophomore year, I was crowned the 2019 Louisiana High School Rodeo Queen. That year opened up so many once in a lifetime opportunities that I never would have dreamed of. I was able to represent Louisiana and educate others about rodeo in Wyoming, Las Vegas, Nevada, Angola State Penitentiary, numerous schools, hospitals, and rodeos all across the state.
State Finals came around again and I had one more chance to run for queen before I aged out, so of course I jumped on the opportunity as fast as I could. I was crowned the 2020 LHSRA Queen. I went to Oklahoma where I ended up second attendant at the NHSRA queen contest. It has been years since Louisiana has had anyone in the top five, so making it that far was a huge accomplishment in itself. I knew I wouldn’t be traveling as many places this year during my reign because of Covid -19, but I would still make the best out the situation and promote rodeo and the LHSRA through social media. In the meantime, it was time to rope!
Well, Louisiana had some plans of her own. Hurricane Laura made landfall August 27th. My family and I made the choice to stay home and ride the storm out. When the storm was over, we walked outside to find cities and towns across Southwest Louisiana completely destroyed and unrecognizable. Imagine seeing the house you grew up in, the business you built from the ground up, the arena you caught your first calf in, and the whole town in shambles. Most are still speechless.
My house isn’t livable. There are holes in the roof, water in the walls and floors, walls are cracking, and everything is covered in mold. Believe it or not, I’m actually one of the lucky ones. My family and I have a place to go and keep our animals until our house is torn down and rebuilt. Some people came home and couldn’t even tell they ever had a house. It just wasn’t there anymore, and some people have no place to go. We will be without power for at least a month, maybe longer. Some people still don’t have running water.
Strangers and lineman from various different states have come in to help clean up and try to restore power. They’ve brought food, water, tarps to cover roofs and so much more. It’s completely heart breaking, yet everyone is still thankful and counting their blessings for what little they have left. Houses and buildings can be replaced, people cannot. It’s truly a blessing to watch people from different states and parishes coming together as one to help a community in need.
Gratefully, Miss Louisiana High School Rodeo 2020,