Kennadee Riggs, is a fourth-generation rodeo queen with rich roots in rodeo queening. The secret? Kindness. Kennadee's journey started long before she was crowned Miss Rodeo America. Her family's ties to the rodeo and the Western lifestyle date back to a time when the West was still being won. From her great-grandmother's reign as the Reno Rodeo Queen in 1950 to her own inspiring journey, Kennedee's story is one of family heritage, passion, and unwavering commitment to her late Nana's legacy.
Raised near a family ranch in Nevada, Kennadee felt a deep connection to her cowgirl bloodlines. Her family's roots in the horse world instilled in her a profound understanding of what it means to be rich, not in material wealth, but in heritage and values. This full family heritage is her greatest blessing, a legacy she carries with pride and purpose.
Kennadee is the oldest granddaughter and shares a unique bond with her Nana, who, more than a grandmother, was like a second mother to her. Nana had always nurtured Kennadee's dreams of becoming a rodeo queen, filling her young mind with visions of the beautiful outfits they would design together.
However, fate took an unexpected turn when Kennadee's Nana, Julee Brady, passed away suddenly. It left her questioning whether she could go through with the dream they had nurtured together. The grief weighed heavily, but Kennadee felt as if her Nana was gently nudging her to pursue the path they had planned. With a sense of her Nana's presence and guidance, Kennadee mustered the courage to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo Arizona. To her astonishment, she emerged victorious, a testament to her determination and the spirit of her Nana. Throughout her reign, she devoted herself to a platform close to her Nana's heart: "Kicking Up Kindness."
After representing Arizona for a year, she competed in a long, extensive competition showcasing her ability to become the next spokesperson for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and was judged by a set of judges in categories such as appearance, personality, public speaking and extemporaneous speaking, horsemanship, photogenics, and others, at the 2023 Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada in December of 2022.
Many contestants seek coaches and invest significant time in studying for written tests and interviews. Kennedee did this as well. However, Kennedee found herself in a unique position. With her mother and aunts having their own rodeo queen titles, she had a wealth of experienced mentors within her family. They rallied together, setting aside their busy schedules to help her prepare.
Using video chats and mock interview nights, her family provided the guidance and support she needed. Their kind and constructive feedback not only boosted her confidence but also helped her feel well-prepared for the Miss Rodeo America pageant.
As Miss Rodeo America, the extensive wardrobe needed is a huge factor. The clothes must not only look sharp but also be functional for rodeo events. Kennadee was fortunate to have a treasure trove of rodeo attire passed down through generations. She wears outfits worn by her aunts, mother, grandmother, and even great-grandmother. These family heirlooms formed a part of her special Miss Rodeo America wardrobe.
Also, as Miss Rodeo America, she has the opportunity to work with designers and sponsors to create special outfits. She is particularly excited about designing a "Kicking Up Kindness" outfit, a tribute to her Nana's legacy, with the help of her friends and family.
Kennadee's life as Miss Rodeo America is anything but ordinary. Her schedule is constantly on the move, and she spends most of her time on the road, promoting professional rodeo at PRCA rodeos, visiting schools, giving talks about agriculture and rodeo, appearing on radio shows, podcasts, and television, and making sponsor visits. However, her favorite moments come when she gets to interact with rodeo fans, old and new, and share her passion for the Western way of life.
To maintain balance and strength, she emphasizes the importance of her mornings and evenings. Her mornings often begin with faith-based activities, such as reading scriptures or listening to spiritual podcasts. For her, this sets a positive tone for the day. Similarly, her evenings are marked by prayer, a moment of reflection and gratitude for the day's efforts.
In addition to her routines, Kennadee takes vitamins to stay healthy during her constant travels.
Meeting people from diverse backgrounds is one of the most rewarding aspects of Kennadee's role as Miss Rodeo America. From fellow travelers at the airport to aspiring rodeo enthusiasts, she cherishes every connection made on the road. These encounters, conversations, and shared stories enrich her journey and instill a sense of purpose.
Kennadee offers valuable advice to aspiring rodeo queens and those looking to join the Western industry. She emphasizes the importance of self-development, service to others, and the power of connections. Her journey is a testament to the impact of values, faith, and a commitment to kindness in the rodeo world. She invites others to bring their talents and gifts to the Western industry and be a part of a community that upholds good, wholesome values. With her Nana's presence guiding her every step, Kennadee continues to shine as a beacon of Western values and be a role model for rodeo enthusiasts everywhere.
One of the special moments that stands out in Kennadee's mind from her year this year was meeting a young rodeo queen at an event. The girl recognized Kennadee as someone her Nana had met years ago during the NFR. The meeting filled Kennadee's heart with warmth and a connection to her Nana's legacy, making it a truly heartwarming experience.