A True Cowgirl

Summerfield native Keri Elizabeth Sheffield, the 2017 Miss Rodeo Florida, will compete in the Miss Rodeo America pageant December 3-10 in Las Vegas.

When Keri Elizabeth Sheffield began competing in rodeos at age 6, her mother thought it was just a phase her daughter was going through. Well, 18 years and counting later, Sheffield is still riding, roping and barrel racing. And beyond that, Sheffield is a bona fide rodeo queen.

In fact, Sheffield, who has competed in goat-tying, pole bending, breakaway roping and barrel racing, is a three-time rodeo queen. She was the 2005-2006 Southern Junior Rodeo Association and the 2010-2011 Florida High School Rodeo Association queens. Currently, she is the reigning Miss Rodeo Florida and will vie for the ultimate title of Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas from December 3-10. The pageant coincides with the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s National Finals Rodeo (Dec. 7-16).

“I’m the only one in my immediate family who does rodeo,” says Sheffield, 24. “My mother thought I would outgrow the whole horses and rodeo thing. I think when I kept competing through high school, she realized it wasn’t just a phase. My mother and my whole family have always been my biggest supporters.”

And even while earning her bachelor of science in nursing at Rome, Georgia-based Berry College, Sheffield continued to rodeo. It’s that commitment and devotion to the sport of her choice that makes Sheffield a perfect rodeo queen.

“To become a rodeo queen, you go through a strenuous competition of horsemanship, interviews and public speaking,” says Sheffield, who is an intensive care nurse at West Marion Community Hospital. “Rodeo queens are the ambassadors for the sport of rodeo, as well as promoting the Western lifestyle.”

As Miss Rodeo Florida, Sheffield travels extensively with the other state rodeo queens to PRCA events across the country. In addition to their rodeo duties, such as riding in the Grand Entry to kick off the competition, rodeo queens participate in various community events.

“I love meeting people, especially kids, as a rodeo queen and PRCA ambassador,” says Sheffield, who owns Chickbo, a now 17-year-old Quarter horse mare she’s had since eighth grade. “My official Miss Rodeo Florida platform is ‘Life is best lived when serving others.’”

Looking beyond her rodeo queen days, Sheffield wants to become a nurse anesthetist and a medical missionary. But rodeo will always have a special place in her heart.

“Along with my family, my rodeo family helped shape me into the person I am today,” she says. “And rodeo will always be a part of my life.”

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