When 2012 Miss Rodeo USA Trisha Smeenk came to Statesboro on Monday, she brought a rodeo atmosphere with her.
Dressed in a sparkly Western shirt with a cowboy hat and red, white and blue crown, Smeenk captivated students at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School as she told them what rodeo was all about.
One of Smeenk’s favorite things to do is have children act out riding a bull. She gets them ready and tells them the bull is kind of short and has them crouch even lower to the ground. She gets a kick out of hundreds of kids imitating a bull rider as they explode into action.
This week, she will visit several schools and businesses as she promotes the Second Annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo, held Friday and Saturday at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds on Ga. 67 in Statesboro.
She will travel more than 100,000 miles this year as Miss Rodeo USA, and enjoys visiting different parts of the country, but “The best part … is meeting the people at each of these rodeos,” she said.
At each event she attends this week, Smeenk will talk about what to expect at the International Professional Rodeo Association events being brought to Statesboro by Hedrick Rodeo Company, from Madisonville, Tenn.
She will enjoy lunch today at Moe’s Southwest Grille after an 11 a.m. visit to East Georgia Regional Medical Center. Sallie Zetterower Elementary students will see her at 3 p.m., and she will appear at Franklin Chevrolet at 4:30 p.m. and Manny’s Neighborhood Grille at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, Smeenk will visit Bulloch Academy at 9 a.m., with lunch at Chick-fil-A followed by a visit to Brooklet Elementary at 3 p.m. and a 5 p.m. visit to Anderson’s General Store and a later meeting at 7 p.m. at Locos Deli and Pub.
A breakfast meeting at 7 a.m. with the Statesboro Downtown Rotary Club at RJ’s Steaks and Seafood will start off Thursday’s list of events, followed by lunch at the Statesboro Kiwanis Club. After a visit to Mill Creek Elementary at 3 p.m., Smeenk will return to Anderson’s, where local cowboy Jason Wamba will also give a roping demonstration. A 7 p.m. appearance at Ruby Tuesday will end the day.
Smeenk will make other visits Friday as she prepares for the rodeo later that evening, Kiwanis rodeo chairman Don Poe said.
A National Guard staff sergeant, Smeenk is a broadcast journalism major seeking a master’s degree at South Dakota State University. She said she is especially excited about this rodeo because the Statesboro Kiwanis Club’s inaugural rodeo last year sold out.
“Where I’m from, there are rodeos all the time,” she said. “It’s fun to be part of a sell-out rodeo.”
A lifelong rider, Smeenk enjoys Western riding and has competed in collegiate events, including reining and horsemanship. She will make victory laps with event winners during the rodeo in Statesboro.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.