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"The Purpose of a Rodeo Queen is to Serve, Not to be Served"

Professor Bios for 2016

Katherine Merck - Miss Rodeo America 2016Katherine Merck – Miss Rodeo America 2016

Katherine Merck of Spokane, Washington, was selected as Miss Rodeo America 2016 after a week-long competition during the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“It is a privilege to represent the cowboys and cowgirls who carry on the great western lifestyle, values, and traditions that rodeo embodies. As Miss Rodeo America, I channel my motto, ‘live so enthusiastically you cannot fail,’ into successfully promoting professional rodeo, creating new fans everywhere I go, and ensuring rodeo’s legacy.”

Before winning the title of Miss Rodeo America, Katherine was in her final year of Law School at Gonzaga University School of Law. In the future she plans to run for a judicial position on the Washington State Supreme Court to promote ethical justice for land use, water rights, and agricultural estate planning. When time allows, Katherine enjoys hunting, target shooting, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, reading and knitting. She is a former rugby player for the University of Notre Dame.

Katherine believes it is her duty to actively serve in order to give back to the community that has given so much to her. She is a board member for Rotaract, an affiliate of Rotary. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors for PRODIGY Northwest (Providing Resources and Opportunities Designed to Inspire Gifted Youth), where she works with gifted students and their teachers. Her passion for fly-fishing led her to co-found Gonzaga Law School’s Rod and Gun Club with the goal of educating her peers on the technicalities of the sport while emphasizing the importance of stewardship of local waters.

“As a dedicated rodeo ambassador, I am honored to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport of professional rodeo and its athletes, both human and animal, with as many people as possible, and serve as a representative and role model by exemplifying rodeo’s virtues of fair play, sportsmanship and hard work.”

Paige Jerrett - Miss Rodeo NY, 2012 1st Runner Up, Miss Rodeo USA

Paige Jerrett – Miss Rodeo NY, 2012 1st Runner Up, Miss Rodeo USA

Paige Jerrett is a born and raised Central New York cowgirl who lives to serve the Lord and those around her. Raised on her father’s hobby horse farm, Paige was riding horses before she could walk on her own two feet. Throughout the past few years Paige has; graduated with her Bachelors in Technology Management at a State University of New York University, started the Miss Rodeo New York, Inc. organization back up after 16 years of inactivity, represented the state of New York as Miss Rodeo New York 2012 at the Miss Rodeo America 2013 Pageant -earning two prestigious scholarships, and represented Rawhide Rodeo Company at the Miss Rodeo USA 2016 Pageant where she earned First Runner Up winning horsemanship, photogenic and congeniality. Paige prides herself in her ‘gypsy living’ with her travels because she is living the life the Lord has planned for her and she has been able to meet amazing people all over the world.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future” – Proverbs 31:25

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans” – 10:17

“Faith is wanting something with all your heart. Faith is taking a chance on something before you are sure how everything will work out. Almost anything can be accomplished by the person who really wants to succeed. But no woman will ever believe she can move a mountain unless she really wants that mountain to move. Apply this definition of faith to your dreams.”

Harmony Latham - Miss Rodeo USA 2016Harmony Latham – Miss Rodeo USA 2016

Wrightwood, California

As the sun sets on the 50th Miss Rodeo USA pageant, Harmony Latham is honored to add her name to the list of other beautiful and inspirational women that have represented the Miss Rodeo USA Association and the International Professional Rodeo Association. Latham excitedly brings the crown home to Wrightwood, California and the Hesperia Wranglers.

Latham is a senior at Azusa Pacific University where she studies business marketing with a background in biology. She is the daughter of Blake and Kerri Latham and has one younger brother, Garrett, who is her biggest supporter, competitor and friend. Latham hopes to stay involved with rodeo and family as she pursues a career in the medical or rodeo industry after she graduates in May 2017.

As she grew up in a small community in Southern California, she competed in numerous sporting events, pageants and equestrian shows. However, it wasn’t until high school when she identified that you certainly can combine all areas of her passions into one. Latham dug into her family roots in order to follow her mother’s passion for cattle work and barrel racing and her father’s background in ranching to reach her own rodeo dreams. Rodeo is something that has always been important to her and she cannot thank the people that have always supported her endeavors enough.

During her year as Miss Rodeo USA 2016, Latham will be speaking on the program that she grew up participating in, called “Royalty Reading.” She is looking forward to talking with all types of people about the importance of literacy and education as our world progresses. By bringing books to children and inspiring people to put down the electronics and pick up literature, she is excited to bring the world of reading and imagination to others.

Becoming Miss Rodeo USA is not only a dream come true for Latham, but a wonderful accomplishment that she could not have reached alone. Through hard work, determination, learning and becoming involved in various activities, she is honored to represent the sport of professional rodeo and the western way of life. The greatest sport on dirt is one that has brought the ranching lifestyles of many to the public eye. Latham could not be more excited to represent the International Professional Rodeo Association cowboys and cowgirls as she travels throughout the year.

As the 100,000-mile journey progresses throughout the year, Miss Rodeo USA 2016, Harmony Latham, looks forward to meeting you on the rodeo road and creating memories to last a lifetime while promoting the sport we all hold near and dear.

Nicole Schrock - Miss Rodeo Oregon 2013, 2nd Runner Up, Miss Rodeo AmericaNicole Schrock – Miss Rodeo Oregon 2013, 2nd Runner Up, Miss Rodeo America

Nicole Schrock was the 2013 Miss Rodeo Oregon, and 2nd Runner Up at the 2014 Miss Rodeo America Pageant.  She also served as the 2010 Miss Northwest Professional Rodeo Association and held several local titles in her rodeo queen career.  A long time advocate of rodeo, she stays involved as a member of the Benton County Rodeo Committee and rodeo volunteer.  Her equestrian background is both varied and diverse: from saddleseat and english to gymkhana and working cow horses.  She worked as a horse trainer for 6 years with a focus on cutting and working cow horses.  She currently enjoys pursuing a variety of hobbies and activities with her horses including cutting, ranch riding, mounted shooting and team roping.

As a 9 year member of 4-H, she began a path towards strengthening her public speaking, communication and leadership skills which she has continued to develop within her college studies and personal goals.  In 2015, Nicole and her sister launched their company Becoming Royal, a business dedicated to inspiring and empowering women in the agriculture industry.  She has carried her passion for rodeo and agriculture to new settings as a high fashion runway model, and uses her experiences to bring modern styles back to rodeo queen wardrobes.  She has appeared in both Cosmopolitan and American Cowboy Magazines promoting rodeo queens, rodeo and agricultural values.

Nicole has earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Animal Technology: Horse Management, and will graduate from Oregon State University this spring with her Bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Science and BioResource Research: Applied Genetics and Bioenergy.  She plans to pursue her Master’s degree in Agriculture Education after she finishes her undergraduate research.  Drive, desire, and belief can carry you enormous distances if you stay true to who you are and never loose sight of what is really important to you.