Growing up on a farm in eastern Colorado, Tiffany McCaffrey found her role models in youth organizations and especially in the women crowned as rodeo queens.
So she takes her role as Miss Rodeo Kansas 2020 seriously.
“I have spent a lot of my years just watching and observing the other state queens and always looking up to them and having them be my inspiration of who I want to be,” she said. “And now I actually get to be that person. I want to be the best role model and best friend that I can be to anybody I encounter,” she said Wednesday afternoon in a phone interview.
McCaffrey was on her way to Burlington, Colo., to appear in Thursday morning’s parade for the National Western Stock Show.
On Saturday night in Hays, she will celebrate becoming Miss Rodeo Kansas with a coronation gala from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Ellis County Fairgrounds.
The evening will include entertainment from McCaffrey and rodeo royalty from Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado before dinner is served. Items for silent and live auctions will also be on display. After dinner, a polka band will offer entertainment.
All proceeds will help fund McCaffrey’s expenses as she travels as Miss Rodeo Kansas throughout the year.
“I am responsible for all the expenses, so when I go places, it’ll be the fuel, food, wardrobe essentials, hotel. All that is up to me. This being my biggest fundraiser of the year, the idea is to make the most of what I have,” she said.
Her year is already well planned out, she said, with summer being the busiest.
“As soon as summer hits, that’s when the rodeo season is in full swing,” she said. “I’m super excited to kick off the year. I will travel to a lot of the rodeos here in Kansas to represent not only our cowboys but also our stock contractors and rodeo committees."
She’ll also be appearing at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo., as well as rodeos across the country and making presentations in schools.
“I’m planning on anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 miles on the road all year long," she said. "I’m going to be spending a lot of time in my vehicle driving, but I signed up for this and I’m super excited to have this opportunity."
In addition to the appearances, she’ll also be preparing for the Miss Rodeo America competition during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.
“There’s a horsemanship pattern, there’s different type of interviews, there’s written tests. All the kind of stuff I’m doing throughout my year as Miss Rodeo Kansas prepares you for that, but there’s a lot of studying, knowing the rule books, knowing all kinds of rodeo knowledge and horse knowledge,” she said.
McCaffrey, who first competed for a rodeo queen title when she was a senior in high school in 2014, said the skills she has learned will provide benefits beyond the rodeo arena.
She graduated last year from Fort Hays State University with a degree in tourism and hospitality management and a certificate in leadership studies. She was named Miss Rodeo Fort Hays in 2018 and was a member of the Rodeo Club.
“I’m really passionate for service and leadership,” she said. “I really want to find something that not only advocates for agriculture, but maybe it’s an outdoor event.”
For the next year, though, she’s putting all her focus on representing the state as Miss Rodeo Kansas.
“I definitely want to advocate for the agriculture side of rodeo and telling people about 4-H and FFA and how those youth-run organizations really impacted me when I was younger,” she said.
Follow McCaffrey's travels through social media at facebook.com/missrodeokansas and Instagram.