“Rodeo is a great life – pass it on.”
That phrase is the foundation of Samantha Chytka’s platform during her reign as Miss Rodeo Nebraska and was portrayed larger than life with huge old family rodeo photographs as the backdrop on three walls of the event center at the fairgrounds in Hastings, Neb., where her coronation was held January 19. Also on display were her grandmother’s sidesaddle and her grandfather’s saddle and chaps.
Over 350 people turned out to support Samantha at the event which included a catered meal provided by Catering by Jill from Ericson, Neb., social hour with music provided by Roger McGooden, live and silent auctions, and a dance with music provided by the James Lee Band from the sandhills of Nebraska.
Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2012, Sierra Peterson, gave Samantha words of advice and encouragement before passing on the crown.
When Samantha presented her rodeo chaps to the crowd she said, “Many of my life experiences have been involved with family and my family name, Chytka, means little flower, so I’ve incorporated a rose into a lot of my wardrobe, because rodeo builds family. My dad comes from a family of seven children, seven is my lucky number, so I will have seven small red roses on the front. My chaps are modeled after my grandfather’s pair of shotgun chaps. They will be easy to ride and move around in.”
Samantha, from Broken Bow, Neb., said “The Chytka side of my family has been involved in rodeo for generations. My grandfather was a rodeo clown, my aunt was a local rodeo queen and my dad and four uncles competed in both rough stock and timed events in high school, college, amateur and pro rodeo.”
“I started rodeo by going to Jr. rodeos and the Ericson 4th of July rodeo. I didn’t really get serious about it until my freshman year of high school. I competed in pole bending, barrels, goat tying and every now and then I attempted breakaway roping.”
Samantha placed seventh at the Nebraska High School State Finals in poles and fifth in goat tying as a senior and was the 2007 Nebraska High School Rodeo Queen.
Her college rodeo career was spent representing Hastings College in the Great Plains Region. “I was one of the first three founding members of their rodeo team and the only freshman. I competed in barrels and my ‘cup of tea’ goat tying using the same horse and finished sixth in my region in goat tying my senior year. I’m proud to be the first four-year rodeo team member to graduate from Hastings.”
Ms. Chytka’s degree is in Human Services Administration with a minor in Psychology. She would like to continue her education and get a Master’s degree in psychology and be able to set up her own facility using animal assisted therapy to help troubled or disadvantaged youth.
Another aspect of Samantha’s platform is ROSE — standing for Rodeo Offers Self-Esteem.
“I’ve learned through rodeo that hard work and dedication builds character. I am a competitor and truly enjoy and love the sport. I know what it’s like to travel for 13 hours and still get out and take care of horses or deal with a flat tire. My experiences will help me convey the real side of rodeo. Even though you work hard, rodeo has its ups and downs; you don’t always win — just like in life.”
“The honest reason I compete in rodeo is because my family was involved in and around the arena and I wanted to be a part of it.”
“I’m really excited about this upcoming year as Miss Rodeo Nebraska. I believe it is the best rodeo internship a person could have. I’ll get to be in and around the arena with the best cowgirls and cowboys in the sport.”
“I would like to be able to get people to take away from rodeo the feeling like I had when I was a little girl sitting on the edge of my seat, not knowing what will happen, looking around at the people cheering for their favorite cowboy or girl. Without spectators rodeo wouldn’t be possible.”
Samantha’s parting comment: “As your Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2013, I want to invite you to Nebraska to see not just what we have to offer in our landscape, but also the atmosphere and community, we welcome you with open arms: rodeo is a great life — pass it on.” ❖