Brooklyn Hazel

Brooklyn Hazel takes part in the barrell races at the Edwards County Fair last July.

From the time she was two years old, Brooklyn Hazel had begun to embrace the Rodeo Way of Life.

It began with horseback rides on her mother’s lap, and eventually developed into a passion for FFA and 4–H. Now, the Albion native has culminated her love of all things rodeo after winning the title of Miss Rodeo Illinois.

“I was super excited,” Hazel remembered of her victory. “The Rodeo Way of Life is just like a big family.

“It’s a welcoming community that is so fun to represent.”

And represent the community she will. As Miss Rodeo Illinois, Hazel will promote the sport of rodeo through travel to rodeos, school and nursing homes; parades; social media; and traditional media outlets

“Basically, whoever wins is the person that promotes professional rodeo throughout…the state and country,” said Hazel of the responsibilities that come with the title of Miss Rodeo. “

the 19-year-old Southeastern Illinois College enrollee noted that she didn’t go into the pageant with supreme confidence.

“I was super nervous,” Hazel admitted. “I didn’t know how it was going to be.”

Once the pageant began, however, she gradually found her comfort level rising.

“The more I was getting myself prepared for this pageant, the more I was getting overwhelmed,” Hazel explained. “But as the pageant went on…towards the end I was more laid back and less stressed.“

The rodeo pageant included a speech competition, a horsemanship competition which involved a ride and a flag run, interviews and taking part in community activities.

“At Palestine, we went and helped with the Miss Labor Day Pageant and interacted with the community,” recalled Hazel, “kind of like an FFA organization would, to compare it to.

“And we gave speeches in front of the crowd, and we did our pageant in front of them.”

The Edwards County native attributed both her love of the rodeo/western style of living and her success in the pageant to her involvement in a pair of local organizations during her school days.

For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.