The Great Bend Farm Ranch and Ranch Expo will have a celebrity guest this year, Miss Rodeo America, Lauren Heaton, from Alva, Okla.
Miss Rodeo America will be making an appearance at the opening ceremony Wednesday morning, April 8th, at 9 a.m. in Expo 3. Following the ceremony she will be signing autographs at the American Hat Company booth, the Great Bend Coop booth and the KSN booth until 2 pm.
Miss Rodeo America travels some 100,000 miles during the year of her reign, appearing at nearly 100 rodeo performances, as well as appearances at schools, civic groups and other special events, educating the public and creating awareness about the sport of rodeo, its sponsors, and its opportunities.
Lauren Heaton was first chosen as Miss Rodeo Oklahoma and went on to win the Miss Rodeo America title. She is a 2013 graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts, Strategic Communications dual degree in Public Relations and Advertising. She plans to continue on with her education by pursuing her Masters of Business Administration and go on to a career with an advertising and public relations agency.
When time allows, Lauren enjoys traveling, reading, working out and running, team roping, hunting, skeet shooting, and baking.
She also enjoys participating with “Lil’ Cowgirl’s Club” an organization she developed and implemented for young girls to learn about rodeo and to show how queens can benefit the sport, with all proceeds donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.
She volunteers as a member of Omega Phi Alpha, a national service sorority whose mission is to provide opportunities for leadership through participation in service activities, with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of America, Food Bank of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.
“The purpose of life is to be useful, honorable and compassionate. By making a difference, you will have lived fully and well. As someone in the first decade of my adult life, I already know that service to others makes me feel authentic and rewarded,” Lauren says.
"As part of a fifth-generation family with roots in farming, ranching and rodeo, I have a passion for America’s unique Western heritage and its character traits and positive habits that have been fundamental to our nation’s past and keys to its future," she said. "Younger generations, whether associated with rodeo or not, can catch onto the responsibility, independence, initiative and self-reliance embraced through professional rodeo. The excitement of meeting an upstanding, outgoing, proud representative is sometimes the first way rodeo fans are born. As Miss Rodeo America, I would love to be able to achieve these goals and help the bright future of rodeo and its longevity.”