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Miss Rodeo USA loves horses, chasing dreams
Annual Kiwanis Rodeo set for Friday, Saturday
Miss Rodeo 2022 Jessie Lynn Nichols greets McKeithen True Value Hardware owner Thomas McKeithen while making the rounds to thank Kiwanis Rodeo sponsors on Monday, April 18.
Miss Rodeo 2022 Jessie Lynn Nichols greets McKeithen True Value Hardware owner Thomas McKeithen while making the rounds to thank Kiwanis Rodeo sponsors on Monday, April 18. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Between rodeos, performing as a country music artist, seeking a doctorate and running three businesses, Jessie Lynn Nichols is taking time out to enjoy being a rodeo queen.  

The Prattville, Alabama, native, who is in Statesboro this week for the Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo, was crowned Miss Rodeo USA 2022 at the 52nd annual International Finals Rodeo (IFR52) in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in January. She had to carve out some time in her busy schedule to compete for the crown, but she said God nudged her into it. 

The 11th annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo is set for Friday and Saturday evenings, with shows at 7 p.m. each night. The rodeo will be held at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex for the second year in a row.

Tickets are available online at www.statesborokiwanisrodeo.com, and limited tickets will be sold in person at McKeithen’s Hardware off Fair Road. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for children ages 4–13. Children 3 and younger are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

A graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture communications and a Master of Science in agri-science education, Nichols, 26, also was accepted into Auburn University’s College of Education Career and Technical Education Ph.D. program. But, along with taking classes and riding her three horses in rodeos and horse shows, she said she finds time to perform and write country music. 

She was first placed on a horse at 3 months old “and won my first lead line Costume class at nine months,” she said. Nichols comes from a long line of equine professionals. Her family has raised American Quarter Horses for years, her mother was a rodeo queen, and her grandfather owned “War Time, the only American Quarter Horse ever featured in Thoroughbred magazine,” she said. 

Nichols’ horses are Jessie’s Dark Knight, aka “Jet,” a black quarter horse gelding; a bay roan mare named A Star In The Rodeo, “Star”; and a dun paint mare, Dun Chromed Out Rain, “Rain.”

Nichols competes in barrel racing, goat tying, pole bending and breakaway roping — all rodeo events — but also shows horses in Western and English Pleasure, halter and huntseat equitation. 

“People ask me what I do in my spare time,” she told the Statesboro Herald on Sunday night as she relaxed in her hotel room. “I sleep and watch movies.” 

 

Chasing dreams

Looking forward to a rare treat — a scheduled massage — while she is in Statesboro this week, Nichols also said she is excited to appear at several local businesses sponsoring the Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo. Also, she is scheduled to speak at civic club and government meetings, as well as local elementary schools.

“My platform is ‘Be a Dreamcatcher,’” she said.

People of all ages have dreams, and one of her main concerns is that so many are told their dreams are unattainable.

“I want to delete the stigma” about chasing dreams, she said. “Your dreams are not stupid.” 

If Nichols had not pursued her dreams, she would not own Dirt to Diva Productions LLC, Dirt to Diva Publications LLC, and Alabama Equine Extreme Productions, nor would she have 16 projects going on in the music world. Her work can be found at jessielynn.com and on Spotify, Amazon and other venues. 

“I am billed as America’s Singing Cowgirl,” she said.

The singer/songwriter is a member of The Grammys, the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. 

She started singing at age 3, then began training as a Classical 1st Soprano Broadway singer at age 6. However, country music is her love, she said. Among her influences are Dolly Parton, Gretchen Wilson, Loretta Lynn and The Judds. 

Having been in several rodeo pageants as a child, Nichols had been out of the competition for years when she decided to give it another whirl. She represented the Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo (Athens, Alabama) and was chosen as Miss Rodeo USA 2022 out of 15 rodeo queen contestants vying for the title. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and the daughter of native Oklahomans Bryan and Sherri Nichols. 

 

Miss Rodeo USA

The Miss Rodeo USA pageant lasted a week. When it was over and Nichols won the crown, she said she was overwhelmed.

“Being crowned Miss Rodeo USA is truly one of the highest honors of my life,” she said. “I look forward to a fun-filled year with multiple opportunities to represent the sport of rodeo, to give back to the sport that has given me a firm foundation, life experiences, and much success, and to inspire others to get involved and follow their dreams." 

The Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo, brought by Hedrick Rodeo Company out of Tennessee, is an International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) sanctioned event, and Nichols tours the country attending rodeos such as this as a representative of the association. 

“Having the opportunity to serve as the official ambassador for the International Professional Rodeo Association will allow me the opportunity to give back to the sport of rodeo, its patrons, contestants, sponsors, and those who love the western way of life,” she said. 

The rodeo brings championship professional competition, with riders from all over the world competing in bull riding, bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing and more. The family-oriented rodeo will also include some kids’ events, as well.

For more information on the rodeo, visit www.statesborokiwanisrodeo.com or follow the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro on Facebook.

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 243-7815. 

 

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