Minnesota native named Miss Rodeo South Dakota


Mikayla Sich becomes the 10th woman to represent South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University is now home to Miss Rodeo South Dakota 2016: Mikayla Sich.

Sich was crowned Miss Rodeo South Dakota on Jan. 9 and has begun her duties representing South Dakota. 

Although Sich’s hometown is Duluth, Minn., she moved to Custer State Park after high school and lived there for two years.

Sich started her secondary education at University of Minnesota but decided to return to South Dakota and further her education at SDSU after she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

Sich is the first young woman from Brookings to win Miss Rodeo South Dakota and is the 10th cowgirl to represent SDSU during the Miss Rodeo America pageant at the National Finals Rodeo. Having such inspirational women for guidance has helped her with her process, she said. 

“It is really like a sisterhood,” Sich said about the past holders of the Miss Rodeo South Dakota crown.

Her accomplishment of Miss Rodeo South Dakota was fueled by her love of horses from a young age. She was a member of the University of Minnesota-Crookston equestrian team and her passion has evolved into advocating for the importance and benefits of therapeutic horseback riding. 

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Organization helps nearly 62,000 children and adults around the world with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges through therapeutic horseriding activities each year.

“I was that crazy horse girl that never got out of that phase,” Sich said. 

However, her love of pageants and ambition for Miss Rodeo South Dakota didn’t start until her time at SDSU. 

Her first title she ran for was the SDSU Jackrabbit Stampede Ambassador. 

Sich recently attended her first event as Miss Rodeo South Dakota, the Denver National Western Stock Show. Her first host event will be the Black Hills Stock Show Jan. 9 to Jan. 27. Sich is excited to show the other state queens what South Dakota is all about, she said. 

Her events will be leading up to the Miss Rodeo America pageant, which will be in Las Vegas December 2016 at the National Rodeo Finals. Sich is also starting to make other preparations such as sketching out new ideas, practicing public speaking and studying anything and everything from the history of rodeos to American Quarter Horse Association rules and regulations.

According to the Miss Rodeo America Organization, the contestants for Miss Rodeo America will be judged on the major categories of personality, appearance, horsemanship, rodeo knowledge, presentation, demonstrating skills in public speaking, personal interviewing, general equine science, current event awareness, photogenic qualities, visual poise and overall professionalism.

As Miss Rodeo South Dakota, Sich promotes confidence and self-worth for girls as well as being fearless when it comes to being who you really are. Being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at a young age, she relates to the issue and hopes to guide others with her experience. 

“There’s so much history, passion and a reason why we do everything we do that I don’t think they [people] know a lot about,” she said.