ProFile: Talsma Performance Horses
story by Madison Clark Ty Talsma is a fifth generation South Dakota rancher, who also fills the role of cowboy and horse trainer at Talsma […]
Lerin Thomas, 21, has her eyes set on the bright lights of Las Vegas to sing the National Anthem during the National Finals Rodeo set for Dec. 1 through Dec. 10.
Growing up in Newkirk, Okla., Lerin started singing when she was 9 years old and learned by listening to others. The young talent never took singing lessons but knew she wanted to learn the National Anthem.
“I would listen to it over and over and I got to where I could add my own flair to it after many hours of practice,” she said.
While Lerin did not rodeo much herself, she said her dad, Jim Thomas, is the one who got her interested in the sport. She attended her first rodeo with her dad at 6 weeks old and has loved it ever since.
The NFR’s National Anthem contest consists of an open category and a youth category. The first round of voting was Sept. 1-14. The contest committee then announced the top six contestants, with the next round of voting set for Sept. 26 through Oct. 6.
“The contest isn’t something a lot of people know about unless you follow the NFR Facebook page or you are involved in rodeo personally and I would like to change that,” Lerin said. “It is an amazing opportunity and I would love to get more people involved each year.”
This is Lerin’s second time to go through the contest process. In 2015, she made it to the top ten but came up short in the next round of voting to continue on.
This year is a different story. She is packing her bags and preparing to sing on rodeo’s biggest stage.
There are three winners of the open category out of 130 total entries and one youth.
“I have always wanted to sing at the NFR, it has been my goal since I started singing at 9 years old so when I got that call saying I had won, I was overwhelmed with excitement,” Lerin said.
She will sing in front of thousands at the Thomas and Mack Center but that does not seem to bother her nerves. She has sung for different professional events numerous times and loves the feeling it brings to her.
“We are all so different as people but for those 2 minutes of the National Anthem, we share a connection and I love that feeling,” she said.
Aside from singing, she is an Oklahoma State University strategic communications senior.
“OSU has been the best time of my life,” she said. “I’ve made so many friends and I’ve been introduced to many new things. Being apart of the OSU cowboy family means a lot to me.”
She said she would like to work for the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association doing social media work and public relations.
Recently Lerin has had the opportunity to be apart of the backstage crews that help put on a rodeo. She is the social media director and founder for the 101 Wild West PRCA rodeo board. With that, She put together her first social media team for the 2016 Woodward Elks rodeo and plans to continue that each year.
With her spare time she likes to volunteer for the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Pageant. “I’m passionate about rodeo and being a small part of something people love so much makes it all worth while,” she said.
She would like to thank all of her friends and family that have supported this dream and for those who voted for her.
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