Riding to a Crown

Two life changing events have been crashing down upon Kristin Kohmetscher for the past year.

She was about to begin her fourth, and final, year as a veterinary medicine student at Iowa State University. The fourth year can be all consuming as students work long hours in clinical rotations in both the small and large animal hospitals in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

This was also her final opportunity to realize a life-long goal of becoming Miss Rodeo Nebraska, a crown she has been prepping for since she was 12.

“I didn’t want to have to choose,” Kohmetscher said. “I wanted to find a way to do both – and to succeed in both. I knew it was going to be hard but I spoke with my professors and the officials with Miss Rodeo Nebraska and they all said ‘just go for it.’”

Go for it, she did and earlier this summer the Nebraska native made good on the first half of the goal when she was named Miss Rodeo Nebraska. Now she’s back in Ames continuing her clinical rotations in the hospitals.

“I don’t plan on taking any time off. I have a goal of graduating with my class next May,” she said.

Kohmetscher has been juggling her academic responsibilities with her participation in rodeo pageants since she was a young girl. She begged her parents to let her have a horse and competed in her first pageant at age 12 “as an excuse just to ride my horse.”

She unexpectedly won her very first competition and hasn’t looked back. Miss Rodeo Nebraska was her 11th title. Among her other titles is Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska, making her the first individual to earn both crowns.

While each competition may be slightly different, all focus on many of the same contests including speech, personality, written competitions, appearance and horsemanship. At the Miss Rodeo Nebraska competition, she won all five of these contests. Kohmetscher used her time as a vet student at Iowa State to craft her speech on “living outside of Nebraska.”

And she earned the crown even though her own horse, “Willie,” came down with Choke, a condition in which the esophagus is blocked. She “borrowed” a neighbor’s horse and rode “Howard” to the title.

“Willie is the best horse for a vet student,” Kohmetscher said. “He got his feed caught in his esophagus and I couldn’t ride him but my family keeps calling me to tell them how to treat him.”

Changing horses at the last minute wasn’t the only stressful activity Kohmetscher faced over the last few months. She said she prepped for over a year for the competition all the while continuing her vet med studies.

“When I’m here (Ames), I’m focusing on my studies and when I’m back home I’m preparing for the competition,” she said. “I admit I may be stressed more than the average fourth year vet student.”

Winning the Miss Rodeo Nebraska competition is just the beginning of Kohmetscher’s duties. Beginning in January 2018, she will travel Nebraska and the country, appearing at professional rodeos.

“It’s like I have two jobs,” she said. “This (vet school) is a job and Miss Rodeo Nebraska is a job. I have this giant wall calendar in my place to tell me what I need to do and where I need to be.

“My calendar is my best friend.”

Don’t feel sorry for Kohmetscher. This is exactly what she wants to do.

“I’m still on Cloud 9,” she said a couple of weeks following her win. “I don’t think it has hit me that all of my hard work has paid off.

“This was my last competition,” Kohmetscher continued. “That’s kind of sad, but if it has to end, I’m glad to end it on a high note.”