ENID, Okla. — Around the dinner table
The sport of professional rodeo is, at its heart, a family sport. It’s one of camaraderie and good sportsmanship.
“I’ve been doing rodeo all my life,” Elise said, “but what’s kept me coming back is it’s the one place you can get a history lesson, honor God and celebrate our freedom, all in one arena, and I think that’s the most special thing about it.”
Just take a look around the arena. Boys waiting their turn to ride the bull all sit in rows along the scaffolding. Competitors hang out in the metal stands together in between events. Coordinators look after the young ones like part of their family.
“I can’t think of a better group of people around my kids,” Doug Wade said.
He and his daughter like to joke that while the dinner table is the focal point of the nuclear family, “our dinner table is a pizza box in the front of a truck.”
“It’s about the same thing. We get in the same pickup and eat pizza out of the same box,” he said.
“It’s close quarters,” Elise added.
Elise name-drops many former Miss Rodeo Americas, such as 2013’s Shenae Shiner, but only from a place of admiration.
“As big of role models as they were to me when I was 3, they still are, and I still look up to them,” she said.
And now that’s their cowboy boots she’s filling, as a role model to young girls.
For now, once she graduates from high school, Elise said she plans to attend Oklahoma State for broadcasting communications. During college, she will compete in the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Scholarship pageant. From there, should she win, it’s onward to vying for Miss Rodeo America.
“Whatever she wants to pursue, I think she’s gonna be prepared for it,” her father said.
After school and Miss Rodeo America, law school looks like the next step to becoming a news network legal consultant.
It’s a far cry — or neigh, rather — from rodeo riding. But that’s probably too far ahead to figure out just yet.
“I feel like if I stop and think about it for a minute, it’s gonna fly by before my eyes,” Elise said, a wide smile briefly breaking out over her face.