Roundy lost her father Curt when he died during her freshman year of high school. Not long after, she and her 27-year-old sister Candice, helped her mother Daria fight a battle with cancer.
Through it all, Roundy has learned one pretty strong message … Do the work. To paraphrase, she’s learned there are no shortcuts to get to good times. Her life experiences helped her in recent months to prepare for the Miss Reno Rodeo contest, an event she won last weekend.
Roundy will take over as Miss Reno Rodeo at the conclusion of the 2011 event and serve through the next year, capping her run with next summer’s annual week-long Reno Rodeo.
“I’ve always wanted to try it,” Roundy said. “I just never really had the guts to do it. It’s a lot of hard work. There’s a lot you put into it, more than one would think. I had always seen the girls and thought they were great role models. I love rodeo and what it’s done for my life. I finally decided to try it out.”
And try she did. Roundy did the work and there was plenty of it if she wanted any real chance at winning the Miss Reno Rodeo title.
The actual pageant contest was spread out over three days last week, but Roundy put in a lot of time before the pageant getting herself ready for what she expected to be a rigorous few days.
“I started preparing for this months and months ago,” Roundy said. “It’s a lot of studying. You have to know everything from anatomy to history of rodeo. I started planning outfits, submitted my application and went from there.
“Then there was the actual pageant, where we got judged the entire time. It was so long. It was exhausting. But I met a great group of girls. That part was awesome. I made some friends that I’ll have forever.”
Miss Reno Rodeo contestants are judged on six categories: speech, personality, horsemanship, appearance, written exam and photogenic qualities. Apparently, Roundy was a shoe-in for the crown. She won five of six categories.
“Horsemanship is worth the most since you’re going to be rodeo queen,” Roundy said. “Whoever gets the most points gets the title. I won five of six categories, all except photogenic. It was a shocker.”
Roundy has not even started her reign as Miss Reno Rodeo. She’s serving as the Lady in Waiting during the current event. But the 2006 Spanish Springs High School graduate said the experience she’s gained in recent months has been invaluable.
“My hard work definitely paid off,” Roundy said. “I put my life on hold for this. I devoted every minute to it. To know my hard work paid off feels good. I’m really excited. If you put hard work into anything, you’ll be rewarded for it.”
Roundy probably didn’t feel like rewards were coming her way during her family’s struggles while she was a teenager. In fact, she probably felt like she was being punished. Who wouldn’t? But Roundy said her love for horses and being outside helped get her through.
“My dad got me my first horse. He loved it as much as I did,” Roundy said. “When he passed, it was something I could go out and do. We created a bond with that horse and it helped me through hard times. It was therapeutic and helped me deal with some things. I don’t know how I’d have dealt with that otherwise.
“And then when my mom had cancer, it was just nice to get outside and be around the horses, even cleaning stalls. It gave me some breathing room in tough moments.”
Roundy gives her work with horses and rodeo a lot of credit in who she is. She said riding is one area she’s most comfortable and she’s hoping her work over the next year as Miss Reno Rodeo can inspire others to get involved in the sport.
“Throughout this process, I’ve met amazing people, people I’ll have in my life forever,” she said. “I hope I can inspire anyone interested to take a look at rodeo even if it’s something new. It’s where I’ve been the happiest.”