Summer Weldon, a Martin native and UTM sophomore, was named Miss Rodeo USA 2018, Jan. 21, during the national pageant’s final night of competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is only the second contestant from Tennessee to win the title since 1976.
Weldon is a Health and Human Performance major and participates in barrel racing as a member of the UTM rodeo team. Along with her title, she will also receive a $5,000 career advancement and a prize package of rodeo gear.
“Through being both a competitive rodeo contestant and an avid fan of rodeo, I have honed the skills required to become an ambassador for the sport that I love,” wrote Weldon in her competition biography. “Miss Rodeo USA is the voice of (the International Professional Rodeo Association), and to become that voice has been my dream for many years.”
Weldon competed in the Miss Rodeo USA pageant as Miss Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo 2017. She is a six-time qualifier for the National Junior High and National High School Rodeo finals and has held a rodeo queen title since the age of 11, for a total of 14 titles across five states.
“Summer is a bright and articulate individual who will be an outstanding national representative for rodeo, UT Martin and the state of Tennessee,” said Dr. Keith Carver, UTM chancellor. “The university’s rodeo team is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, and Summer’s accomplishment is an important highlight for our storied rodeo program.”
The Miss Rodeo USA 2018 pageant featured 12 finalists who competed in horsemanship, public speaking, personal interview and fashion.
Weldon’s court includes Heather Bundy, Miss Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo, first runner-up; Heather Morrison, Miss Leon Rodeo, second runner-up; Sara Weekes, Miss Idaho Girl’s Rodeo Association, third runner-up; and Jolye Durette, Miss Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association, fourth runner-up.
Bundy, from Lacey’s Springs, Alabama, is a student at Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, pursuing a degree in Business Management. Morrison, from Letts, Iowa, graduated from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with degrees in Beef and Swine Production and Agriculture Geospatial Technology.
Weekes, of Meridian, Idaho, earned a degree in Health Science with emphasis in Informatics and Information Management from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. Durette, of Alpine, Alabama, is a licensed practical nurse pursuing a degree as a registered nurse at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, Alabama.
(Photo Credit/ University Relations)