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Rodeo Queen lessons apply to classroom

December 29, 2022

On July 25, Callie Mueller was crowned Miss Days of ’76 Rodeo Queen. Her role as Rodeo Queen is not dissimilar to her role as a student teacher in the classroom.

“I have found that educators and rodeo queens have so much in common,” she said. “We have to be extremely adaptable, think quickly and efficiently while staying calm under pressure, and be positive role models. Additionally, we must be able to speak in front of groups of people, have leadership qualities, be willing to serve communities, and most importantly, be an educator.”

In Mueller’s role in the classroom, she teaches students to successfully comprehend the information she is sharing and apply that knowledge, helping students meet state standards. As Miss Days of ’76, it’s her job to explain the importance of the western way of life and share information about rodeo and agriculture.

The Days of ’76 Rodeo is a weeklong celebration in Deadwood, S.D., in remembrance of the gold rush in 1876. The rodeo, which had its 100th anniversary over the summer, consists of five rodeo performances, two historical parades, Native American songs and dances, and historical reenactments.

She explained that to be crowned queen, she had to fill out an application, submit a resume, and compete at the annual contest. The contests judged her through a written test, personal interview, modeling, horsemanship patterns, horsemanship interview, an impromptu speech, and impromptu questions, which could relate to rodeo, equines, the town of Deadwood, or current events.

Mueller’s interest in rodeo stems from a passion and love for the western way of life, and experience competing with equines at the local, state, and national level.

As a student teacher for second grade at Florence Elementary, Mueller shared that she was a rodeo queen with her students when the word queen was brought up during a lesson reviewing the different ways to spell the long sound with the letter ‘e.’

“Once I did that, they were so excited to learn what being a rodeo queen entails,” Mueller said.

She brought in her sash, belt buckle, crown, hat, and chaps, which led to one of her students trying out a new vocabulary word in conversation. She shared with the class that the scent of chaps is one of her favorite smells, which led to a student asking if the chaps were fragrant.

In addition to helping students realize the everyday usage of words like fragrant, Mueller has taught the students about the rodeo, reading them the book “Rodeo” by Roxie Munro, which explains the different events that take place during a rodeo.

Mueller is a senior elementary and special education major from Florence, S.D., with minors in K-12 reading, K-12 technology, and a kindergarten endorsement.

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