Miss Rodeo New Mexico Jamee Middagh carries the American flag into the arena before the PRCA rodeo at the Socorro County Fair.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Miss Rodeo New Mexico Jamee Middagh’s appearance at the Socorro County Fair and PRCA Rodeo is much more than galloping into the arena bearing the American Flag; she does most of her work “behind the scenes” promoting her favorite sport.

Middagh attends New Mexico State University, majoring in animal science, and plans to become an equine chiropractor.

“I want to be a horse chiropractor, and I hope to one day open my rehabilitation place,” Middagh said. “Probably because I like horses a little bit more than I do people.”

Before she heads off into a professional career, Middagh feels she has unfinished business in promoting the sport of rodeo, including her acting as a beacon to younger ladies also hoping to one day wear a rodeo crown.

“I always tell the girls it is important just to be yourself. I mean, you have got to start somewhere, and the local titles are an amazing place to start,” Middagh said. “You can start at any age. I started at 18, but any age is good, and be true to yourself and keep practicing and study, study and study.”

The young ladies representing Socorro in area parades and events went through a pair of contests to earn their titles. As ambassadors for the city, they must display the ability to answer impromptu questions and have an excellent knowledge of the SCFRA and Socorro County.

The goal for many young ladies is to one day wear the Miss Rodeo New Mexico crown, where they will continue the groundwork laid out by cowgirls like Middagh.

“My main role is just to educate the general public about the sport of rodeo,” Middagh said. “Letting them know this is tie-down roping and not calf roping, which brings people’s minds to little babies. These are big calves, and I help clear up any misconceptions.

Middagh’s rodeo career (barrels and breakaway roping) has taken a little bit of a back seat as she works her year as Miss Rodeo New Mexico, but it’s a sacrifice she is willing to make to promote the sport. She still hits every rodeo she can as a member of the NMSU team.

“My job is to connect rodeo to the general public, and I love it,” Middagh said.

With her sights set on winning the Miss Rodeo America title, Middagh has experience on the national stage with two appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2019 and 2021 as a sponsor flag bearer.