Former Miss Rooftop Rodeo serving as state’s ProRodeo ambassador
ESTES PARK, Colo. – The road from Windsor, Colo., to Estes Park is 44 miles long and features many winding turns and tight corners.
Alex Hyland knows every bit of it. Six years ago, she was Miss Rooftop Rodeo, the rodeo queen enlisted to serve as ambassador to the event and to the town.
“I like to joke that I learned how to drive with a horse trailer when I was 15, because I would drive up Highway 34 to go to Rooftop Rodeo,” said Hyland, the reigning Miss Rodeo Colorado. “Now I’m a college graduate, so a lot has changed.”
She will return for all six performances of this year’s event, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 5-Tuesday, July 10, at Granny May Arena inside the Estes Park Fairgrounds.
“During that time in between, I tried out for Miss Rodeo Colorado three times,” she said. “Each time I tried out, I had my Rooftop Rodeo family in the audience. Not only were they helping me behind the scenes, but they were also there cheering me on.”
They will continue to be her support system as she makes her rounds across the state and the country. In December, Hyland will be one of the state royalty contestants vying for Miss Rodeo America during the pageant in Las Vegas.
“We are extremely proud of Alex and are excited to see her take this next step,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo. “We would love nothing more than to see her become the next Miss Rodeo America.”
In the history of the MRA pageant, which dates back to 1956, only five ladies from Colorado have earned the title. The last was Tara (Graham) Rowe in 2001.
“This is not only a dream come true, but it is the best job ever,” Hyland said of the Miss Rodeo Colorado title. “This is something I’ve wanted since I was 8 years old.
“I love traveling to different rodeos and meeting the people who love the sport as much as I do. I love meeting the people who are on the rodeo committees. This is their vacation hours they are putting into this rodeo. It is an incredible, humbling feeling.”
As the state’s ambassador, she will make her way to as many Colorado ProRodeos as her schedule allows. But she will always hold Rooftop Rodeo close to her heart.
“What makes that rodeo so great are the people who are there behind the scenes, the entire committee and the town of Estes Park,” she said. “Plus, there’s not a prettier place to watch a rodeo.
“The atmosphere at Rooftop Rodeo is just incredible. The energy you feel at the begging of that rodeo is just unreal.”
That’s just another reason she’s excited to return.