Kayla Seaman grew up in the Flathead Valley and currently has an apartment in Bozeman, where she attended Montana State University. But when you ask the 25-year-old woman what her current address is, she’ll wryly respond, “My license plate.”
Since January, Seaman has been crisscrossing the state in her new role as Miss Rodeo Montana. Seaman, who became the Northwest Montana Rodeo Queen in 2017, is the first Miss Rodeo Montana to come from the Flathead Valley in 17 years and the first Kalispell native in nearly 30 years. Needless to say, Seaman has been busy.
“It’s been full steam ahead since day one,” she said.
The duty of Miss Rodeo Montana is to promote the sport of rodeo, agriculture and traditional western values. The pageant dates back to the 1950s.
Seaman said she “adored” meeting rodeo queens when she was young while attending the Northwest Montana Fair. She also spent a fair amount of time riding horses, a passion that endures today.
“When I was young, I would squeal whenever I saw a horse, and I wouldn’t stop until my mother would take me over to see it,” she said. “My parents put me on a horse when I was about 3 years old, and I haven’t gotten off one since.”
Seaman is an accomplished rider and has competed at the Event at Rebecca Farm, one of the equestrian world’s premier competitions. It was during a different equestrian event in Bozeman back in 2017 when a fellow rider suggested that Seaman try to become a rodeo queen. Seaman thought about it and immediately decided she would.
While others might have more pause about such a suggestion, Seaman said she’s been more open to trying new things ever since she was in a plane crash in Kalispell in 2012. Seaman was flying in a small, single-engine plane with her father when it began to lose power soon after takeoff from the Kalispell City Airport. The plane ended up crashing into a home. Seaman suffered a few bruises and a traumatic brain injury in the crash, but in the years since has fully recovered.
“After that I felt like I was living on borrowed time, so I became a yes woman,” she said. “I want to seize every opportunity given to me.”
In 2017, Seaman won the Northwest Montana Rodeo Queen pageant. In that role, she toured the state promoting the Northwest Montana Fair. Seaman enjoyed the work so much that she decided she wanted to go even further and compete for Miss Rodeo Montana in January in Great Falls. The multi-day pageant has a number of categories, including multiple interviews and horsemanship. The latter is particularly important. Miss Rodeo Montana is required to ride horses at various fairs and parades, and being comfortable atop an animal they just met is a must.
Seaman has a busy year ahead. In addition to her duties as Miss Rodeo Montana, which require her to attend dozens of events in the coming months, she’s also finishing her Master of Business Administration online and preparing for the Miss Rodeo America competition in Las Vegas in December. The competition lasts 10 days and no one from Montana has ever won it.
“I want to be the first one,” she said.
Being Miss Rodeo Montana is almost a full time job — Seaman said she would likely put more than 55,000 miles on her truck in the coming months — and she needs to raise money to help with expenses. She’s looking for sponsors to help her on her mission and is also holding a fundraiser at the Flathead County Fairgrounds on May 18. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/missrodeomontana.