Richardson crowned Jr. Miss Dixie National

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Makenzie Richardson, 17, of Brookhaven was recently crowned the 2016 Junior Miss Dixie National during the Dixie National Queen Pageant.

The pageant consisted of three phases — horsemanship, interview and modeling. Horsemanship shows the relationship between horse and rider while they complete a pattern with a series of moves that may include, spins, lead changes, stops and rollbacks.

The interview phase consisted of the contestants sitting down with the panel of judges and answering questions about societal issues, their personality, their horse and future plans, Richardson said. The modeling phase gave the contestants a chance to show off their outfits, she said.

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“At 10, I did my horsemanship pattern, and it was perfect,” Richardson said. “I nailed it. It was beautiful.”

Richardson said she was nervous for each phase of the pageant, but especially for the interview portion.

“When I walked in for my interview, I broke out in welts,” Richardson said. “I was wearing a white dress, so I’m sure they saw. I was so nervous about that, but it still went really well. I knew everything they asked me.”

Richardson said she had prepared for the pageant since October by practicing her horsemanship pattern and getting her rodeo outfits made.

“For months, I prepared for it,” Richardson said. “I knew that I really wanted this, and I really wanted to win.”

Studying for the pageant was the hardest part of preparing, Richardson said.

“I had about 300 note cards stacked up of stuff I studied, and you know that they did not ask me one thing that I studied, but it’s OK because I was prepared,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she has been riding horses her entire life so the horsemanship phase came naturally.

“Riding is something my family has always done,” Richardson said. “My parents both rode growing up, and so we were just born into it. I have competed in barrel racing, team roping, tie down roping, pole bending, ribbon roping, I think I covered everything. Pretty much anything a girl can do. Anything they’ll let a girl do, I’ve done it.”

Richardson won the horsemanship award, appearance award, most photogenic, Miss Congeniality and the 2016 Junior Miss Dixie National title.

“My favorite award, that meant the most to me, was Miss Congeniality,” Richardson said. “My competitors voted on that, which I thought that was really sweet. That meant a lot to me. Actually, a little girl had died — her name was Carmen. She died and her mom gave that award in her memory.”

Richardson said excitement and relief were the first emotions to cross her mind when they announced she won.

As Junior Miss Dixie National, Richardson will attend and ride in every performance of the Dixie National Rodeo. She will participate in the Dixie National parade, visit several schools and attend any luncheons set forth by the Miss Rodeo Mississippi Foundation.

“If the Dixie National Rodeo itself has something to prepare for, I’ll go to that and like next year’s pageant, I’ll be there for all that to crown the next queen,” Richardson said.

Currently, Richardson is a junior at Brookhaven Academy. She plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College for two years then go to the University of Mississippi to study elementary education.

“I definitely want to keep on this queen path — I love that, so I plan to do Miss Mississippi, maybe go to Miss Rodeo America,” Richardson said. “That’s my biggest thing is Miss Rodeo America. That’s something that I really want to do, and I don’t see why there would be a problem with it as long as I keep on the path that I’m on right now.”