North Platte Post - Ruth Nicholaus
NORTH PLATTE, Neb - Some pretty special horses carry special ladies during the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, which kicks off Nebraska's official State Celebration, NEBRASKAland DAYS in less than a month. The visiting state rodeo queens, including Miss Rodeo Nebraska and Miss Rodeo America, get to ride on horses, hand-picked from herds owned by Marvin and Janet Mueller, Sutherland, and Tim and Celie Vaughn, Hershey.
The Muellers and Vaughns bring anywhere from six to twelve head of horses to North Platte, specifically for the visiting rodeo queens to ride during the grand entry each night of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, which is held June 14-17.
Visiting rodeo queens often fly in or drive from a distance, and are unable to bring their own mounts, which makes it necessary to provide a horse for them while they are at the rodeo.
It takes a special horse for the queens; one that is not only well-broke, but one that is seasoned: accustomed to the sights and sounds of a rodeo arena: flags, loud music, stagecoaches and wagons, crowds, and other distractions.
Both Muellers and Vaughns rodeo on their horses: Marvin and daughter BoDell in regional associations like the Mid-States Rodeo Association, and Tim and Celie’s daughters, Shayda, when she was in high school, and Ali, who is still a high school rodeo contestant.
Both family’s horses are known to be reliable, good mounts.
The Mueller’s horses “are broke,” Janet said. The horses “are hauled (to rodeos), so flags don’t bother them. We want to make sure everybody is safe. They’ve been to enough rodeos, that by the time a rodeo queen steps into the stirrup, they could care less about a flag or a wagon coming in amongst them.”
The Mueller family is well-known for having horses that kids and beginners can ride; often at brandings, someone will ask Marvin for a well-broke horse to ride, for kids or an inexperienced rider. “Everybody expects that we have horses like that,” Janet said. “We take pride in that.”
Marvin is pleased that kids and beginners ask to ride his horses.
“He is happy as a lark when he can fulfill somebody’s dream of roping at the branding pen, or they come to our house to ride,” Janet said. “We let them learn of the love we have for our horses, and share that with other people as well.” Both Marvin and Janet used to train horses, but back injuries have prevented Janet from training and riding the past few years.
“I’m very proud of my husband’s horse training abilities,” she said.
The Vaughns’ horses have been around the rodeo block as well.
“Our girls do pole bending, team roping, breakaway roping and barrels” on their horses,” Tim said. “Our kids high school rodeo so the horses that we haul have been around. They’ve seen the flags and the crowds and they’ve heard the music.”
The Muellers and Vaughns warm up the horses for the queens, because the women are busy with autograph signings and don’t have the time to ride the horses before the grand entry.
The rodeo is often a must-stop destination for Miss Rodeo state queens from around the area, including Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, and even as far away as Florida and Idaho. They come in on Monday of rodeo week for the Miss Rodeo Nebraska coronation activities and usually stay through the selection of the state queen, held at the rodeo on June 14.
Miss Rodeo America Kennadee Riggs will also be on hand at the rodeo this year.
This year’s Buffalo Bill Rodeo is June 14-17 in North Platte. Performances begin nightly at 8 pm. Tickets range in price from $11-$24 and can be purchased online at NebraskalandDays.com, at the NebraskalandDays office, and at the gate.
For more information and a complete schedule of NebraskalandDays events, visit the website or call the office at 308.532.7939.