Ja'Dayia Kursh

In celebration of Black History Month, we have partnered with some astounding cowboys and cowgirls of color to share their impact on the industry.

Ja’Dayia Kursh, known as the Classy Black Cowgirl, is blazing trails as the first Black rodeo queen of Arkansas. Ever since she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to compete as a rodeo queen, but no girls looked like her with a crown on their hat. She did not know where to start. Equipped with her can-do attitude and deep love of horses, she decided to be that girl for other young ladies.

Since then, she has worked with notable brands like Wrangler, Boot Barn, and Adidas and featured in major news outlets such as The Today Show. Outside of the rodeo arena, this cowgirl plans to pursue Law School, and she advocates for children to get involved in the agriculture industry.

Ja'dayia in front of barn with horse Ja'dayia in front of barn with horse

What does Black History Month mean to you?

"Black history month is so important to me - growing up as a little black girl in a predominantly white state, I didn’t learn much about black history in school, so I never imagined being a part of it! Black history month reminds me how truly blessed I am to have been able to lead this life, and I’ll never forget the ones that came before me so that I could inspire the next generation of cowgirls."

What is your favorite part about the western lifestyle?

"My love for horses. Before I knew that there was an industry for me to compete in, I knew that I loved horses. I have a hoof print on my heart."

Ja'dayia outside with horse Ja'dayia outside with horse

What cowgirl values do you live by?

"One thing I always leave the kids I’ve had the pleasure of standing in front of or speaking to through zoom is, “never allow someone to mute you.”

I’m a black woman in an industry that I have to teach how to value me - this industry knows my name because I’ve made them pay attention to me. I’ve had to make people respect me!! I’m tough enough, cowgirl enough, and I’ll never allow anyone to mute me - I stand on truth and live by respect."

What is the legacy you hope to leave behind?

Ag For Kids - my nonprofit organization that’s my legacy; this all started when I was six years old when a woman introduced me to a horse. I always say that day she sat me in a saddle and handed me the reins to my freedom. I want to be that for someone else. I look at what she did for me back then and what I made out of that one horse encounter, and I can’t imagine the lives I’ll change. I’m always pleased to read the messages from the ones that already tell me that I have."

Want to learn more about Ja'Dayia?