SAN ANTONIO - What a difference a year makes.
Last year, Lisa Lageschaar was in the stands with a group of children at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.
In 2017, Lageschaar is a nightly fixture at the rodeo.
She performs, makes appearances, signs autographs and is an all-around ambassador for the rodeo.
After winning Miss Rodeo Texas, Lageschaar was crowned Miss Rodeo America during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
"It was really exciting. It was just a wonderful moment," Lageschaar said about the crowning moment.
Lageschaar's life has been an interesting ride.
She is a first-generation American whose parents moved to Texas from Holland in 1990.
Her father grew up working on a dairy and pig farm in Holland and dreamed one day of owning his own dairy farm. But the dream would prove difficult to realize because land in the Netherlands is scarce and expensive.
So Lageschaar's parents decided to move to America.
"He decided he was going to move. And it was either Australia, New Zealand or the United States," she said. "My mom put her foot down and said that the United States was far enough, and Texas was it."
Her parents bought a farm in East Texas near the small town of Pickton, where Lageschaar was born and raised.
She got her first pony when she was 5 years old.
Lageschaar got her first horse when she was 7 years old, which was ironic because her father was not a fan of horses. He was a horse trader once.
"As much as my dad got bucked off, bit and kicked, he decided all horses are horrible," she said. "Thankfully, he realized they are not that bad."
Her father's attitude about horses eventually softened, which was a good thing because much of Lageschaar's life centered around horses.
Lageschaar can rope and ride. She was a barrel racer, which helped her become Miss Rodeo America.
"On a horse is where I feel at home," she said.
Lageschaar has a bachelor's degree in agricultural education and a master's degree in secondary education.
She was first runner-up for Miss Rodeo Texas in 2015, so she decided to put her education to good use and became a high school teacher.
"Then the thought of, 'what if I didn't give Miss Rodeo Texas one more shot' wouldn't leave my mind, and I caved in and I competed for Miss Rodeo Texas and Miss Rodeo America," Lageschaar said.
She leads the rodeo event winners on a victory lap at the rodeo arena at the AT&T Center every night.
"As much as I like being around people and being in the entire atmosphere, the rodeo is definitely the highlight of the whole event," Lageschaar said.
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