SIDNEY - Since she was 3 months old, Rachel Johnson of Shenandoah has attended the Sidney Iowa Rodeo every year.
The now 22-year-old Johnson was able to celebrate a milestone in her life at the very place that has been near and dear to her heart.
Johnson was crowned as this year's Miss Sidney Iowa Rodeo Queen just before the 91st Annual Championship Rodeo performance Tuesday evening. When she was announced as this year's queen, she flashed a huge smile and began to shake and lose her breath while sitting on top of Pride, an 11-year-old bay mare.
"I'm very excited," she said while trying to catch her breath. "I've been watching the rodeo for a long time."
The rodeo queen gets the distinct honor of being one of the leaders of the grand entry of every rodeo performance this week, and will make a special appearance in the Rodeo Parade at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Johnson was one of three queen candidates. Jenna Kool, 19, of Adel, Iowa, and Alivia Braniff, 18, of Tekamah, Neb., were the other queen candidates. All three candidates were judged based on their horsemanship, appearance and speech. A Miss Congeniality award was also given to the candidate that the other candidates felt deserved it.
Johnson won the horsemanship portion and she was also awarded with Miss Congeniality. Kool won the appearance and speech competitions, and was the first runner-up for queen. Braniff was announced as the second runner-up for queen.
After the crowning ceremony, Johnson quickly exited the rodeo arena to get ready for the grand entry. She was bombarded with people congratulating her and rodeo officials getting her ready for her grand entry ride. Kool and Braniff gracefully congratulated Johnson after the competition.
A couple of Johnson's fans sitting in the grandstands were close friends of the family, Myron and Darlene Lintner of Sidney. The Lintners let Johnson use their horse, Pride, for the queen competition.
"Rachel is just like a granddaughter to us," Darlene Lintner said. "We was sitting there in grandstands cheerin' and hollerin' for her. We're real proud of her."
Sporting purple attire and her new crown, Johnson waved to the rodeo fans while riding Pride during the grand entry. It was a dream come true for her.
"I want to thank my mom and dad for putting in a lot of time and effort for me, and Myron and Darlene Lintner for letting me use their horse, Pride," she said. "I want to thank the rodeo committee for putting in all of their time and effort that they did. I also want to thank the judges, and my brother, T.J., for taking care of the horse."
Johnson is the daughter of Steven and Glenda Johnson of Shenandoah, and is a 2011 of Shenandoah High School. She graduated in May from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, Neb., where she majored in agribusiness management.
During college, she was active in the Business Club, Collegiate Future Farmer's of America and 4-H, the Farm Bureau Club, Women in Ag and the rodeo team. She was the vice president of the ranch horse team and competed in ranch horse competitions and clinics.
She trail rides, works with colts, trap shoots, hunts turkey, helps ranchers gather and move cattle, and helps with branding in her spare time. She's a Relay for Life supporter and volunteers for the Page County Cattlemen through Century Bank. She's also makes the third-generation to be involved with the Sidney Rodeo.
She works in the Ag Loan Analyst Department at Century Bank in Shenandoah and is training to become an ag loan officer.
Rodeo fans can see Johnson during the rodeo tonight and Saturday evening. The rodeo begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are: Reserved box sets, $25; sections I and E seating, $18; and general admission and ADA box seats are $15. The Jason Earl Band will be performing during the dance tonight in the arena after the rodeo and Envy will be performing Saturday night after the rodeo. For more information about the rodeo, go to