Miss Rodeo America 2023

by Siri Stevens

Kicking up Kindness

“To me it’s a family legacy.” explains the 22-year-old, Queen Creek, Arizona native, Kennadee Riggs, about her platform. “My grandmother in the 90s didn’t like how negative the news headlines were, so she started writing a column for a local paper on kind deeds and she had people write back with their own stories of kindness. We now have a whole book of kindness stories and I get to do the exact same thing – hoping to bring more positivity to the media.”
“Kennadee exudes kindness,” said Hailey Frederickson, the outgoing Miss Rodeo America. “She is genuine in every way and I have no doubt that whoever comes across her during her year as Miss Rodeo America will leave with a warm heart.”
Kennadee will have the entire year to share stories of kindness as she crosses the globe representing rodeo as the 2023 Miss Rodeo America. “I dipped my toes in all the waters,” said Kennadee about her childhood in Arizona. “I performed on an equestrian drill team with the women in my family – Cowgirls Historical Foundation – which started with my grandmother – and included many different women across Arizona. My life was split between the loud environment of rodeo and the quiet lifestyle of showing horses. My great great grandfather, Harry Frost, started Frost Quarter Horses over 75 years ago. That bloodline is still going today.”
Harry Frost was the 1963 Reno Rodeo President. After the grandstands burned down, Harry was said to have saved the rodeo when by a miracle he was able to bring in temporary stands just in time.
Kennadee’s great grandmother was the Reno Rodeo queen, and all the women in the family have followed in that. Kennadee had always wanted to pursue Miss Rodeo Arizona and Miss Rodeo America to carry on the family legacy, but hadn’t known if that was the Lord’s will for her. Her plan after high school was actually to cheer in college. “Then one specific day, I felt strongly that I needed to go on a mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I knew that would change the course of my life being that it was 18 months away from home, dedicating my time and money to serving others.” Teaching horse lessons to fund the mission herself, the mission trip took her to Brazil and Oklahoma, before returning home. “I came away a completely different person – thankful of Heavenly Father’s awareness of us – I was always meant to be where I was – I also came back with a new appreciation for air conditioning and carpet.” The experience helped her see and focus on what matters the most – and that her deeper sense of purpose is who she can help.”
She felt called to try out for Miss Rodeo Arizona and won that competition. “It’s something she’s always wanted to do,” said her mother, Shanda. “I was Gilbert Days Rodeo Queen, and my sisters were all rodeo queens, Taryn Brady Hale (Miss Rodeo Arizona 2009), Kelsee Brady Bradshaw (Miss Rodeo USA 1st runner-up) and Marjon Brady Brown (Miss Rodeo USA 2000). We were all part of Gilbert Days Royalty and ran at the national level so she was familiar with that lifestyle.” Her first time running in a pageant was Miss Rodeo Arizona.
When she won the title in December as Miss Rodeo America, she knew it was God’s calling for her life. “When my name was called, that was more of a testament to me that this is Heavenly Father’s will, it wasn’t just by chance that I won. I knew it was because of my prayers. That’s the biggest sense of emotion that I got when they called my name — gratitude — for another mission experience that I was really hoping and praying for.” Her first stop is the National Western Stock Show, where she will present the flag for 20 performances. “In a nutshell, I hope to always be kind so people might recognize a light in me that comes from something beyond our comprehension. I will get to meet people all across the country and hopefully continue to do what I was able to do as Miss Rodeo Arizona, which is promote this heritage and lifestyle that is so special to me,” she said. “At the same time, in everything I do, I will try to be an example of Jesus Christ as someone who loves Him and show that in everything I do.”

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