South Dakota’s Jordan Tierney to wear the crown |

South Dakota’s Jordan Tierney to wear the crown

Miss Rodeo America 2020, Jordan Tierney, takes her first lap around the Thomas and Mack Center’s arena as she sports her new banner and crown.
Morrow Photography

Jordan Tierney set her sights on becoming Miss Rodeo America and she achieved that goal. Her year will be busy, she’ll attend rodeos she’s not been to before, won’t have much free time — and she’s looking forward to it all.

She credits some of her confidence level from the year she was co-president of her high school student council. During that year, she had opportunity for public speaking and learned to talk with adults in authority.

Over the years Tierney has competed in pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, barrels and team roping. She honed her skills during 4-H, Little Britches, high school and college rodeos. She attended South Dakota State University, Brookings, for one year then transferred to Chadron State College in Nebraska from which she graduated with a degree in business administration and a minor in marketing. She also participated in SDRA.

Now comes the challenge for this independent young woman of having a scheduler for her interviews, travel arrangements and anything else related to her reign. The rodeo committee at each rodeo hires Miss Rodeo America for appearances. The committee is responsible for her accommodations, transportation and determining what her duties will be at each competition. They may have her visit schools, sign autographs and do speaking events in addition to her rodeo activities. Stock contractors always provide an AQHA horse for her to ride. Many of Jordan’s scheduled events are already on her cell phone and it’s a long list, mostly rodeos which MRA attends every year.

During her time as Miss Rodeo South Dakota Tierney and Miss Rodeo North Dakota 2019, Kara Bernston of Kulm, spent most of the month of July traveling together to rodeos. Eva Oliver, Merriman, Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2019 and Tierney also traveled together at various times. “A highlight of my year was hosting eight out-of-state queens at Rodeo Rapid City, a Sutton event. Getting to know the other queens and making lifelong friends is a huge perk,” Tierney said.

It is well known that the rodeo family exudes cooperation and helpfulness. Tierney asked Erin (Gephart) Retzer, 1994 Miss Rodeo South Dakota and first runner up to MRA to be her coach. Experienced in several facets, Retzer also coached her niece McKenzie (Haley) Vice to an MRA crown. In the case of queen contests, clothing loans from past and current contestants are common and they keep expenses down. A fashion show during the competition gives contestants the opportunity to strut their stuff. Tierney was named the appearance winner in the finals.

Within the contest’s 10 days there are informal interactions with the judges, such as breakfasts, formal horsemanship competitions on randomly supplied horses, including set patterns and rail work. A formal interview with the judges follows the horse competitions. The contest includes written tests with questions over the PRCA rule book, animal welfare and other rodeo related questions. The interview portion is conducted by contestants drawing a written question then responding to it. Contest days are long and Jordan’s started at 4 a.m. and went until midnight.

Bags for Bucks is the fundraiser for the scholarship foundation. Each contestant brings a bag of some type that she has decorated and filled; each one is auctioned for the foundation. Since 2019 was the year of ladies’ breakaway, Tierney brought a beaded rope can, decorated by Safari Girl Designs, Weatherford, Texas, and filled it with items a break-away roper needs: among them, two ropes, a Rope Like a Girl Breakaway Hondo, Beck’s sunglasses, T-shirts, string, knife and a notebook. “I worked to set myself apart, to be outstanding to the judges, which is not an easy task with such a group of competitors,” Tierney said. This year Tierney was awarded a $20,000 scholarship which she plans to use to earn a master’s in marketing.

Out of the many corporate sponsors, to a South Dakota queen wearing the crown created by Landstrom’s Original Black Hills Gold Creations, Rapid City, S.D., is a fine way to honor the state. The tradition started in 1965 and five former Miss Rodeo South Dakotas have been under the crown. They are: Pat (Koren) Sanmartin, 1965, Donna Keffeler, 1982, Leslie (Patten) White, 1985, and McKenzie (Haley) Vice in 2011. The original crown is on display at the PRCA Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. Landstrom’s headquarters features an open to the public queen display with a second crown, which is the backup to the one Tierney wears. Landstroms also gives a collection of Original Black Hills Gold to the queen upon her coronation. The company is currently designing a crown for future Miss Rodeo South Dakotas.

Tierney said, “I am excited that I will be able to attend rodeos I’ve not been to, like Houston. I won’t be home much and I expect many terrific adventures in 2020.” ❖


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