ROOSEVELT — It may be down a two-lane road on the outskirts of Roosevelt, but Chenae Shiner's house isn't hard to find.
The 22-year-old's first name, a crown and the words "Miss Rodeo America" are spray-painted on the road out front. Then, of course, there's the 18-foot-tall tin sign in the shape of a rodeo queen that her family and friends repainted and put up after Shiner's big win last week.
"I'm definitely very blessed to have such amazing support," said Shiner, who began competing in rodeo queen contests at the age of 8.
"From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to be Miss Rodeo America," she said. "It's a dream I've had since I was young, and one I've worked for my entire life. So to have it become a reality, it's still shocking."
Shiner, a former National High School Rodeo Association queen, won the Miss Rodeo Utah crown in July at Ogden Pioneer Days. She traveled to Las Vegas earlier this month to compete against 31 other state rodeo queens in categories such as rodeo knowledge, horsemanship, equine science, public speaking, personality and knowledge of current events.
After six days of competition, Shiner found herself standing onstage with only one other contestant: Miss Rodeo South Dakota Courtney Peterson. She was convinced Peterson had won the title, and was visibly stunned to hear her name called instead.
"To have them call your name as Miss Rodeo America is an indescribable feeling and one I will never forget," Shiner said.
The win makes Shiner only the sixth Utah woman to hold the title, and the first woman from the Beehive State to earn the crown in 14 years. It will also help her finish her degree at Weber State University, where she is studying radiologic sciences.
"I actually received a $22,000 scholarship that I'll be able to use after my reign," Shiner said, noting that scholarships from other rodeo queen contests have paid for her schooling to this point.
She'll have to take a year off from school, though, and from competing as a top-level barrel racer in the Women's Pro Rodeo Association, because her new crown comes with a serious travel requirement.
"You're expected to travel over 100,000 miles a year and go to over 200 rodeos across the country," Shiner said. "It's a good thing I love rodeos, because it's what I'll be doing a lot this next year."
The travel and time commitment are all worth it, according to Shiner, who called rodeo a sport that brings families closer together.
"It's the one sport where you see a cowboy go and make his competitive run, and then he'll turn around and hand his horse to his competition, who is also his best friend, his traveling partner and his family member," she said.
"The way it bonds families and ties our Western heritage all together, you don't get that in any other sport," Shiner said. "It's the reason I'm here today. It's what drove me to become Miss Rodeo America."
Shiner is scheduled to attend a welcome home celebration in her honor at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ogden Marriott, 247 24th St. She officially begins her reign as Miss Rodeo America on New Year's Day.
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