The Bend woman is ready to reign – with reins – as Miss Rodeo Oregon 2022

(Update: Added video, interview)

A Bend native with a state title, preparing for Miss Rodeo America

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Whether it’s his red hair or his racing skills, Avalon Irvin stands out. She is the first woman from Bend to be crowned Miss Rodeo Oregon.

The Bend High graduate started riding at the age of 13 at Sunriver stables. Although a few years behind her peers, Irwin fell in love with horseback riding.

“I bought my first horse when I was 16 — so I couldn’t get a car, I got a horse instead!” she told NewsChannel 21 on Friday.

Proving that you don’t have to grow up in a rural area to excel in the equine industry, Irwin earned the title of Miss Rodeo Oregon 2022.

“At different stages, I still have moments where I’m like, ‘Fuck, that’s me!'” Irwin said.

Rodeo queening is different from typical pageantry. Speeches, tests, horsemanship and knowledge of Western industry all play a role in the crowning achievement. Instead of earning trophies and tiaras, rodeo queens are awarded saddles, hats and belt buckles.

Irwin explains what it’s like to break a saddle: “If you’ve ever bought a pair of leather shoes — imagine that, but it affects your whole body.”

But it’s the work she does outside of the arena that matters most: training with her horse and campaigning across the state for a cause she believes in.

For Irwin, she sticks to her central Oregon roots, showing you can break down barriers in Western industry.

“I wanted to try to break down some barriers and learn more about the fact that this is kind of what sport is – this is what Western industry is,” she said. . “Because when you stop and think about it, you know, there’s a lot of things that are influenced by western industry.”

“Especially now in high fashion, you see it a lot and anything to do with food is usually from agriculture, which is a Western industry.”

It also raises awareness of drought-related issues in the region.

In December, she will take part in the Miss Rodeo America Contest in Las Vegas.

Regardless of the outcome, Irwin wants to continue teaching in central Oregon. She currently coaches the equestrian team at Bend High.

“It’s really important to me to be with these students and give back to them what was given to me,” Irwin said.

She hopes to create a program for urban children to learn about the horse industry and the importance of agriculture. Breaking down barriers, one rodeo at a time.

On Saturday there is a coronation for Irwin at the Five Pines Lodge in Sisters. It’s a fundraiser for his campaign, complete with dinner and live music.

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