Australia’s new rodeo queen wants to keep using her platform to inspire other women, mothers and young families to get involved in the sport and community of rodeo.

Key points:

  • Rodeo champion Lana Jones is encouraging women to get involved in the sport
  • The majority of this year’s national contest was run online due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • Ms Jones will open two major rodeo events in Canada and America next year

Mother-of-three Lana Jones, who hails from Wauchope on the New South Wales Mid North Coast, decided to join the Australian Rodeo Queen Quest in March last year.

“I was sitting in a hospital bed after I had my youngest bub and saw a Facebook post asking people to sign up for the competition,” she said.

“I didn’t want to regret missing the opportunity and it’s my last year to give it a shot.”

Lana Jones, wearing red checkered top and cowgirl hat smiling.

Ms Jones said it has been quite a journey winning the crown amid COVID-19 restrictions.(Supplied: Lana Jones)

The not-for-profit contest was created almost 30 years ago to promote and encourage young women from all over Australia into the heritage sport of rodeo.

Ms Jones said the year in which she competed was unlike any other.

“I joined right when COVID-19 flared up,” she said.

“We have to do a fundraising leg [of the competition] … which I had to do mostly over social media.”

Two multi coloured horses stand next to each other, one ridden by Lana, the other her mother.

Ms Jones and her mother, competing at a show in Grafton a few years ago. (Supplied: Lana Jones)

Ms Jones said finalists ordinarily spend a week in Queensland, where judging takes place to choose the next queen. But even that event had to be held online.

“We had to video ourselves doing everything that we would have done during that judging week and send it in for the judges,” she said.

Juggling kids, work and a national comp

Ms Jones said while doing the online competition was challenging, she found it helped balance competing and being a working mum.

“Being online has been my godsend I think because I do have three kids under six, so it’s full-on,” she said.

Lana smiling from the front seat of a car with her three kids in booster seats in the back.

Ms Jones found it easier to juggle working and raising her family when the competition was moved online. (Supplied: Lana Jones)

Ms Jones said after she had kids, she took a step back from rodeo to be with her family.

When she was ready to get back into it, she found the transition was not easy.

“Trying to get back in the industry has been a bit tricky; you’re more cautious because you have got kids and you don’t want to get hurt,” she said

“I want to promote young families to give it a go and don’t let anything stop you because you think you can’t do it.”

Horsemanship is in her blood

Ms Jones grew up on a farm at Rollands Plains with parents who were heavily involved in the show circuit.

“My dad rode bulls and broncs and my mum evented and did pony clubs when she was younger,” she said.

Young girl with pigtails and a cowgirl hat sits on small brown horse.

Ms Jones has been riding horses from a young age. (Supplied: Lana Jones)

Ms Jones said her mum was a big inspiration to her growing up.

“I think rodeo is a bit more dominated by males because it’s a rough sport, but there are plenty of amazing women that compete and are involved,” she said.

“My parents encouraged me to get into it and I’ve showed horses pretty much my entire life.”

Ms Jones will head overseas next year to attend the Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Canada and Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in the US.

Hold on — our new rodeo queen wants to empower rural women
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