Boonville High School graduate Amee Riley is pursuing her dreams in rodeo.
Not long ago Riley was chosen to hold sponsor flags at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo competition in Las Vegas.
Ever since she was young Riley has been involved with equine. Some may also know that her grandmother, Bonnie, facilitates Riley Equine Center south of Boonville. In 2011 Riley was the Missouri High School Rodeo Queen. Each weekend, Riley is attending and competing in rodeos across the entire region.
At 21, Riley was finally able to sign up for certain contests she has had her sights on for years. Age limits require contestants to be older in certain competitions than others, prompting contestants to wait. Patience paid off.
After finding out about this distinctive competition on Facebook, Riley quickly gave it a try.
“I had to submit a video of my riding and horsemanship skills and a panel of judges viewed it. There were over 100 videos that girls submitted from all over the nation and the judges chose the top 10 to come to Vegas and compete to join the team of flag girls for the 2017 National Finals Rodeo in December,” Riley stated.
While Riley has competed in rodeos since she was young, this experience would be her pinnacle achievement thus far.
“It is the "super bowl" of rodeos and is 10 days long in the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas. It sells more than 19,000 tickets each night and is watched on television by many more people across the nation,” Riley stated.
Riley’s competed in the horsemanship pattern on horses that she had never ridden or seen before in her life.
“We had to do a few patterns carrying a flag while being judged. Then we had to do an interview with three judges and after all the interviews we had to go to a big stage in the Las Vegas Convention Center and the top three were chosen and I was chosen,” Riley stated.
From December 7-16 Riley carried sponsor flags at the rodeo event.
“When you carry a flag, everything has to be in perfect timing,” Riley stated. “They announce the flag so the sponsors get recognized.”
Riley enjoyed the experience in addition to learning important aspects of life.
“It was fun seeing everything in Las Vegas. It’s way different than what you see on television,” she added. “I learned just to be yourself. Do not try to be someone you’re not,”