Catching up with Miss Rodeo Tennessee 2014: Morgan Blackhurst

As the holiday season comes into full play, the world champions are beginning to be crowned for the horse show world and the rodeo world. So what does that mean for the western fashion world? The biggest and the best outfits come out. Though world titles are not crowned solely on the outfits, it’s “western fashion week”. The fashion trends for the coming year, “who wore it best”, and “hot or not” items emerge.

For the rodeo world, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, December 4-13, 2014 offers up its own share of fashionistas and shopping venues for every taste and style. In conjunction with the NFR is the culmination event for state rodeo queens, the Miss Rodeo America pageant. I recently caught up with my former roommate, lifelong friend and current Miss Rodeo Tennessee, Morgan Blackhurst to get her take on the changing styles for rodeo queens, the western world and get her take on the upcoming Miss Rodeo America competition.

I’ve seen the term “NashVegas” popping up on your social media accounts. Can you tell me more about that?

To anyone who has never been to Nashville, you are missing out on a culture that is all its own. Some lovingly refer to it as “NashVegas”. Because rodeo has such close ties to Las Vegas, I’ve decided to carry the NashVegas theme into a lot of my wardrobe for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. The whole theme really fits into my town, Las Vegas’s relationship with rodeo, and my personality.

Aside from rodeo, both your brother and step-father are avid musicians. This explains your ties to Nashville and to Las Vegas. How has the association with musicians specifically those family “rock stars” affected the way dress?

Growing up in a world of rodeos and rockstars has definitely affected the way I dress, with my Miss Rodeo Tennessee crown and without it. I’ve always been proud to be a cowgirl, but my style rarely just says cowgirl. My favorite thing about fashion is mixing styles that represent me – western, classic, boho and rocker. When I began my rodeo queen journey, it was hard to find a way to look the part while staying true to myself. Over the years I’ve found ways to represent the greatest sponsors in the world, including Wrangler and Justin, while putting my own twist on each and every outfit. 

Ah, a twist! Can you elaborate a little more on that?

With the Miss Rodeo America pageant only a few weeks away, I’ve been busy going over every last minute detail of each outfit with my mom who also happens to design and sew almost all of my rodeo queen clothes. During the planning process I wanted to make sure that every single outfit I put together was chosen for a specific reason. My chap design was inspired by the music my grandparents shared with me while I was growing up that has shaped me into the person I am today.  I have always loved the retro western look. It’s still very prevalent in Nashville, especially on the Grand Ole Opry stage. I put together a “Throwback Thursday” outfit with vintage Lady Wrangler bell-bottoms. 

Sounds like a great combination. I mentioned earlier that the NFR is rodeo’s fashion week, the format of the Miss Rodeo American Fashion Show has changed considerably. What can we expect from the show and from your wardrobe?

A few years ago the Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show changed their format from the traditional rodeo queen leather dress to fashion forward party attire. When we started planning my fashion forward outfit I wanted to make sure it was something that I would wear outside of a pageant or rodeo queen event. More often than not when I go to an event, concert or dinner with friends or family I am in some type of black leather and cowboy boots, so it was only natural that I stuck with that look for the fashion show. My outfit mixes together my love of western culture with my love for rock. I’d like to think of my fashion forward outfit as Aerosmith meets Miss Rodeo America. 

Why do you feel that the change from the traditional leather dress format is important?

One of the important things I do as Miss Rodeo Tennessee and a potential Miss Rodeo America is showcase western fashions that all women should be interested in, not just those who are rodeo queens. When I get dressed before an event, I’m always asking myself if a rodeo fan will see the Wrangler jeans I’m wearing or the Montana Silversmiths bracelet and think that they should have the same item in their wardrobe. 

Since you were kind enough to bring up wardrobes, what are some trends that you love and think should be incorporated into everyday wear?

Denim!
I personally own a ridiculous amount of denim shirts. They can be dressed up or down. My favorite pairing is my Wrangler Rock 47 pearl snap denim shirt with leopard print leggings.

Fringe
I don’t know if there is such a thing as too much fringe! Several of my outfits for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant have fringe, including my fashion show outfit! It combines the rockstar look I love with my western background.

Native American Inspired Looks
My newest fascination is serape. I love the Pendleton look and I can’t wait to show off my serape jeans in Vegas! I also love turquoise jewelry and anything beaded. You can never go wrong with a pair of moccasins either!

Classic Bling
As a rodeo queen, I feel obligated to say that you can never have too much bling! I have an outfit for the pageant that revolves around some Nashville themed boots that are covered in rhinestones with a matching Bailey hat!

Classic Red Lip
It’s pretty rare for me to go to an event in anything but red lipstick! Nothing makes me feel more like a strong woman with something important to say than a great outfit and red lips. Red lipstick commands attention and will automatically make any day a little bit better. 

To see what “Western Fashion Week” has to offer and to follow state queens like Morgan be sure to add Miss Rodeo America to your social media accounts. As always share your thoughts in a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

-Paige Morgan

StyleMatthew Kimes