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BHSU education student fulfills longtime dream of Miss Rodeo Nebraska title

 
 Black Hills State University student Gina Jespersen, elementary education major from Hemingford, Neb., was recently crowned Miss Rodeo Nebraska.
Black Hills State University student Gina Jespersen was recently crowned Miss Rodeo in her home state of Nebraska, a title she has coveted since she was a young girl.

Jespersen was crowned the 2014 Miss Rodeo Nebraska last week during the Nebraskaland Days Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte, Neb. She was a finalist for the honor during last summer’s event.

“I am truly overjoyed to be the next Miss Rodeo Nebraska,” said the Hemingford, Neb., native.  “I had been dreaming of this title for as long as I can remember.” Jespersen saw her first Miss Rodeo Nebraska at the Old West Trials Rodeo in Crawford when she was only four and has wanted to wear the crown since.

“After competing last year and not walking away with the title, this year was truly bittersweet. I now know that God really does have a plan for everything, and I am so thankful that this was my year,” she said. “I cannot wait to promote my amazing birthplace of Nebraska and the greatest professional sport - rodeo.”

This is the second rodeo honor for the elementary education major in the past six months. In February, Jespersen was crowned Miss Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo Queen.

Jespersen, a fifth generation rancher, will officially begin her reign as Miss Rodeo Nebraska in January and make her first appearance during the National Western Stock Show in Denver followed by the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS) in Rapid City.

As Miss Rodeo Nebraska, Jespersen will promote the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), and showcase the qualities of Nebraska including the state’s rodeo legacy. She will travel throughout the country attending all major PRCA events and make appearances at Nebraska PRCA rodeos, functions for her sponsors and at schools throughout the state. She ends her reign in December 2014 traveling to Las Vegas, Nev., to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo America.

“As the fifth generation on our family’s farm and ranch, I have always taken great pride in the western heritage I have grown up with and the strong values this way of life has instilled in me,” Jespersen said. “Through my exciting travels this next year, I hope to show residents from other parts of the country how truly amazing this way of life is.”

Because she does not officially take over as Miss Rodeo Nebraska until January, Jespersen is able to fulfill her responsibilities as the BHSS Queen.

“I am excited because I will be attending the Black Hills Roundup Rodeo in Belle Fourche over the Fourth of July along with portions of the Miss Rodeo South Dakota pageant, so I still get to spend a portion of my time in the lovely Black Hills,” Jespersen said.

Along with her commitments as Miss Rodeo Nebraska and BHSS Rodeo Queen, Jespersen will be completing her student teaching this fall and graduate in December. She hopes to earn her master’s degree and teach in a rural Nebraska community.

Jespersen has spent her life showing horses as a member of the 4-H and the American Quarter Horse Association, and decided to compete at the collegiate level. She was recruited as a member of the South Dakota State University Division I Equestrian team and competed as a western rider in the horsemanship event.

Jespersen transferred to BHSU for its elementary education program.

She was previously crowned the 2009 Old West Trials Rodeo Queen in Crawford, Neb., and the 2011 Miss Rodeo Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Neb.

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