2013 is Finally Here!

I am so honored to 
have the amazing opportunity to represent our state this year as Miss Rodeo 
California 2013.  For those whom I have 
not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Dakota Skellenger and I am a 20
 year old student at Bakersfield College where I am majoring in Agriculture 
Business .  I was born and raised in the
 city of Bakersfield, Buck Owen’s Town, by my parents Scott and Lisa.  I wasn’t brought up alone, however.  My twin sister Rori has always been by my
 side and is truly my best friend! I love my family and I am so thankful to have 
their never-ending support.

I started riding horses when I was 
five… and that was quite a feat considering I was riding a very “spirited” five 
year old mare!  Two five year olds riding
 as a team never ceased to make for some interesting stories! Nevertheless, I 
fell absolutely in love with horses.  At
 the age of nine I joined my local 4-H club where I started showing in Western
and English pleasure and equitation. 
Having competed in some jumping classes at these  4-H shows, I really began to gain interest in 
hunter jumping.  I soon bought a
Thoroughbred named D’Artagnon  and began 
showing my hunter jumper.  Being a 
typical Thoroughbred, D’Artagnon taught me many lessons about learning to 
master the art of riding a hot blooded horse! 
I know that my experiences with the English discipline have helped me achieve 
an all-around perspective on the horse industry.  In addition to this, I began riding on a drill 
team where I started to really become involved with rodeo.

I entered my first queen pageant at 
the age of 15.  I was so fortunate to win 
the title of 2008 Jr. Miss Rodeo Glennville and begin my unforgettable journey deep 
into the rodeo industry.  After my year 
of representing Glennville and the PRCA, there was one title in particular that 
I had been longing to hold.  Bakersfield
 is my hometown and representing the Stampede Days Rodeo as 2011 Miss Rodeo
Bakersfield was a dream come true.  It
gave me chills to run around the arena as a hometown girl at a rodeo I had been 
attending since I was a child.  A year 
after I had been crowned, I proudly took my Bakersfield title to the Miss Rodeo
 California pageant.  After a remarkable 
week with seven other excellent and worthy title holders, on October 4th 
I was crowned Miss Rodeo California 2013. 
I know my year will be extraordinary with all that I will experience and
 with all of the people I will meet.  I 
want to thank all of my sponsors and the rodeo committees who have helped me 
along the way.  I truly believe that with 
everyone you meet, you can always learn something.  I am forever thankful for these people who
have me supported me with everything from monetary donations to simple yet 
powerful words of advice. Thank you.

I dedicate a huge 
part of my life to rodeo and becoming the most effective ambassador for the
 PRCA that I can be.  When I do have a
little spare time I enjoy being with my friends, practicing Jujitsu, watching
 80’s movies, ice skating, listening to classic rock and of course spending time 
with my horses.

Now that you know 
more about me, I would like to tell you about something very exciting that Miss
Rodeo California Inc. added to the pageant this last October.  For the very first time, we had a competition 
for the title of Teen Miss Rodeo California! 
Out of five young ladies, Bridgette LaHaye from Valley Center captured 
the title!  Bridgette is a wonderful
 young lady who is very knowledgeable and passionate about promoting rodeo.  She will excel this year and create huge
 shoes to fill for the next girl. Now that you are updated on the addition to
 our pageant, I would like to tell you about what I have been up to!

The day after I was crowned Bridgette 
and I went to visit the many incredible sponsors who make the Miss Rodeo
California Pageant possible.  It was so
 great to talk to these generous people and thank them personally! The next
morning I had the opportunity to ride in the Pioneer Day Parade. We had
 beautiful weather in Paso Robles and I was able to ride on an amazing stage
coach (technically a wagonette) by Harris Stage Lines! I want to thank Tom and
 Debby Harris for having Bridgette and me accompany them.  You two were such wonderful company!

My next adventure was to Las Vegas 
for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant to watch Mackenzie compete. She did an
amazing job and did our state very proud. While in Vegas I was able to meet the 
ladies-in waiting (2013 state queens). While at the pageant we sold raffle
 tickets together, attended the queen clinic and made some lasting memories! I
 can’t wait to travel with these girls this year! I also had a very nice time 
attending the pageant with Donna Riva and Frankie Engel and I am so 
appreciative that they allowed me to stay with them during the pageant.  Furthermore, I was so glad to have these two 
ladies introducing me to so many people! Last but not least I even had an
autograph signing session with our generous sponsor Platinum Performance.  When I arrived to the session, who else but 
Trevor Brazile was signing autographs!  I 
was beyond honored to meet him and congratulate him on his 10th All
 Around World Championship.

I am so excited to say that I will 
be heading to Denver for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo this month.  I look forward to all of the
 experiences I will have there (and I’m sure a blonde moment or two)!   Until then I’d like to leave you with one of
 my favorite quotes.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people
 will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.-Maya Angelou