Australian rodeo will be showcased abroad this month as Rodeo Queen of Australia Bessie Smits headed off on her overseas tour sampling the best North America has to offer.
Leaving last Wednesday, Ms Smits travelled to Canada for the Calgary Stampede, before heading to America Fort Worth Stock Show and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Ms Smits said travelling to America and Canada would be an incredibly exciting, but nervous experience.
“I have only travelled overseas once to New Zealand, so it will be exciting to meet my American and Canadian sash sisters (Rodeo Queens) and experience new countries, cultures, food and of course a new side to Rodeo,” she said.
It will be exciting to meet my American and Canadian sash sisters and experience new countries, cultures, food.Bessie Smits
“I am hoping to meet the majority of the Rodeo Queens Canada and America have to offer, as Calgary Stampede and Cheyenne Frontier Days are such large events, Rodeo Royalty travel from far and wide to attend.
“I know I will be meeting Miss Rodeo America, Miss Rodeo Canada and I've contacted a few of the state Queens including Miss Rodeo Montana, Miss Rodeo Iowa, and Miss Rodeo California.”
While overseas, Ms Smits will participate in grand entries, but not in the traditional sense.
After being thrown from her horse in February, Ms Smits suffered a stage four liver laceration and can no longer ride horses due to the threat of injuring herself further.
While striving to continue her rein as Queen, instead of riding in the grand entry at the Fort Worth Stock Show, Ms Smits will participate in a horse and carriage. And while Rodeo Queens are conducting the fly bys, she will be doing live media interviews.
Ms Smits said the best part about representing Australian rodeo is the people she meets.
“I've been fortunate enough to build relationships with the men and women who built the foundations of Rodeo in Australia. So I get to tell people on my tour about how Australian rodeo came about and its success today.
“The difference between Australian and American rodeo is, a lot of Australian rodeos are conjoined with a campdrafting events, while rodeo is very ingrained into American culture and a lot of people's sole source of income and way of life.”
When Ms Smits returns from her overseas tour, her final duties as Rodeo Queen of Australia will be the Australian Rodeo Queen Quest judging week in September, when she will hand over her crown.