Savannah Welborn, an early childhood education major at Eastern New Mexico University, recently represented the state as Miss Rodeo New Mexico at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity. We were judged on horsemanship, knowledge of the sport of rodeo, public speaking ability, appearance and personality," Savannah shared about the event, which took place in December.
To prepare for the competition, Savannah studied current events, rodeo history, rodeo rules and procedure. She also completed several mock interviews and practiced her extemporaneous speech.
"One of my most exciting moments at Miss Rodeo America was winning the Justin boot parade award with my New Mexico-themed boots! Each contestant was given a pair of Justin boots to design. Covered in Yuccas and Zia's, my boots were very New Mexico true," she explained.
Through Miss Rodeo New Mexico, Savannah has completed many school visits and has made several visits to retirement and assisted living facilities. Prior to college, she was active in 4-H and FFA. She showed her horses through the American Quarter Horse Association, the New Mexico Buckskin Association and New Mexico Ranch Horse Versatility. She has also received scholarships from the Miss Rodeo New Mexico and Miss Rodeo America organizations.
The Greyhound has a strong family connection to ENMU: her great aunt, aunt and mother all attended the University. "I have always had a love for the Eastern side of the state because my roots are here," she said.
Savannah also has family ties to her field of study; she will be the fourth generation of educators in her family.
"I have always loved children. I believe this passion is derived from my family roots," explained the junior, who plans to work with and teach young children. "I hope to continue my family's legacy of educating and positively impacting the lives of children."
Savannah was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in Tome, New Mexico, as an only child. Her mother has worked in many aspects of education, including being an instructional coach, a staff developer, a district resource teacher and a classroom teacher of grades K-8. Her father has worked for Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad for over 20 years.
What is Miss Rodeo New Mexico's favorite part of being a Greyhound? "Definitely the friendships I have made with my fellow Greyhounds through my classes and experiences at ENMU," she shared, and added that she "has had the pleasure of working with and learning from so many talented individuals during my experiences as a Greyhound."
Savannah, who plans to graduate in 2021, hopes to take over her family ranch outside of Melrose, New Mexico, and own a consignment shop one day. When time allows it, she helps her aunt run her consignment store, Deja Vu, in Albuquerque.
Her hobbies are working with her horses, working out, scuba diving, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.