Her boots were made for walking, and that’s just what Lisa Lageschaar ’14 will do. While reigning as the 2017 Miss Rodeo America, she will travel approximately 100,000 miles for more than 300 days.
“While Lisa’s schedule is always changing, she will travel from coast to coast,” said Rhianna Russell, office director for Miss Rodeo America. “Each year, unique opportunities are presented to Miss Rodeo America that range from walking the red carpet at the Academy of Country Music Awards to representing rodeo in the U.S. and abroad.”
Lageschaar’s role involves much more than signing autographs and posing for photos. The title of Miss Rodeo America carries with it a duty to serve as an ambassador to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and represent the Western industry.
“Lisa truly wants to give back to the industry she is passionate about,” Russell said. “Her humility gives her the ability to relate to everyone she meets, and her passion for agriculture and rodeo inspires.”
A cowgirl at heart
Raised on a 600-acre dairy farm, it’s easy to see where Lageschaar’s love for rodeo and Western culture was born.
“My parents moved to the United States from the Netherlands to be dairy farmers,” Lageschaar said. “Ever since he was little, that’s all my dad wanted to do. In the Netherlands, affording farmland is difficult, so he decided to make the move to America.”
In 1990, her parents purchased a dairy farm and moved to Pickton, Texas. Growing up on the farm, Lageschaar developed a “can-do attitude” and strong work ethic. She did everything from milking and nursing sick cows to vaccinating cattle.
Every cowgirl needs a horse, and at 5 years old, Lageschaar got her first pony, Johnny. “I was bitten by the horse bug as a baby,” Lageschaar said. “From the time I could talk to when I got my first horse, all I did was talk about horses.”
With a passion for rodeo, Lageschaar’s love for the sport grew during high school as she competed locally.
After obtaining a bachelor's degree in agricultural education, Lageschaar enrolled at SFA and received her master’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in agriculture.
“At SFA, Dr. [Kenneth] Austin was very influential and reminded me to stay open minded. In education, you have to be accepting of others. That’s helped me as a teacher and as a rodeo ambassador,” she said.
Austin, SFA associate professor of secondary education and educational leadership, remembers Lageschaar as taking pride in her work and pursuing excellence.
“Lisa had a marvelous impact on others because of her appreciation for the enriching value of learning in a diversified classroom,” Austin said. “She truly embraced the notion that her education not only contributed to her personal growth and development, but also to our communities and culture at large.”
Road to royalty
In December 2016, something Lageschaar thought was impossible became a reality — she was crowned Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas.
In order to win the national title, contestants must first win their state title. In 2014, Lageschaar was named Miss Rodeo Austin and then competed for Miss Rodeo Texas in 2015, but she was named runner up.
“I took the loss as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and decided I was done competing,” Lageschaar said. After hanging up her hat, she began teaching agriculture at New Boston High School, a position she held for a year until her desire to compete was rekindled.
“It started weighing heavily on my heart to compete for Miss Rodeo Texas,” Lageschaar said. “I thought it would go away.”
However, her desire to compete didn’t fade, and her students inspired her to try again.
“I told my students to work hard, have faith, take risks and go after something if they have a desire to do it, so I couldn’t back down,” Lageschaar said.
She finished her teaching contract in June 2016 and began preparing for the state pageant.
“I had peace in my decision. I believed if this didn’t work, another door would open,” Lageschaar said. “Throughout my childhood, my parents taught me that if I wanted to do something, I would find a way.”
The reward turned out to be worth the risk as Lageschaar won Miss Rodeo Texas in June 2016. Now, she could set her sights on Miss Rodeo America.
During the national pageant, judges score the state queens on their horsemanship skills, appearance and personality.
On coronation day, anticipation was high as Lageschaar was the final contestant named to the top 10. When her name was announced as Miss Rodeo America, she was overwhelmed. “It was an emotional moment,” Lageschaar said.
Since her crowning, she has traveled the country making appearances at rodeos and events, interacting with fans, presenting the American flag, and working with media personnel to promote events and the industry.
“Serving as Miss Rodeo America is a way for me to give back to the industries that have given me so much,” Lageschaar said. “It is my goal to pour love, inspiration and motivation into every person I meet and to help them develop a passion for the Western, rodeo and agriculture industries.”
No matter where life takes her, Lageschaar will be ready to put her best foot forward — boots and all.