Miss Rodeo Logan County appears to be a role model for rural girls – Sterling Journal-Advocate
You wouldn’t know from seeing her now, but the first time Tobi-Beth Erickson sat on a horse she thought she was going to fall.
“I was scared,” she said with a smile. “But Shasta took care of me.”
This comment pretty much sums up the relationship new Miss Rodeo Logan County has with the mare she’s learned to ride. Shasta is 11 years older than the 16-year-old Merino High School riding her, and smart enough to literally undo her halter.
“We have to put three halter tops on her so she can’t go out,” Tobi-Beth said.
She is officially Tobi Elizabeth, but her parents, Heidi and Brian, realized that people could mistake her first name for a boy’s name, so they started calling her Tobi-Beth.
Originally from the Padroni area, the Ericksons bought and moved into a farm west of Atwood several years ago. A tenant cultivates the land for them, as they both work at Ryland Manufacturing in Atwood, making heavy-duty attachments for heavy equipment like bulldozers and graders.
Tobi-Beth plays basketball and runs for Merino High, and has been in 4-H since she was of enrollment age. She has served as secretary of the Logan County 4-H council, president of the Stir-Rups 4-H club, reporter for the Merino 4-H chapter, and has held several other positions in these organizations.
But her first love was horses, and her dream from childhood has been to be a rodeo queen. She started participating in pipe shows and gymkhanas when she was nine, and there’s a photo of first-year Tobi-Beth participating in the Merino Fall Festival parade disguised as – yes, a queen of rodeo.
To that end, she participated in the Little Miss segment of the Logan County Rodeo Royalty program and is the first Miss Rodeo Logan County to have been Little Miss, Rodeo Sweetheart, and Rodeo Queen.
“I’ve always admired rodeo queens,” she said. “Kelsey Bornhoft, Reagan Wheeler, I learned a lot from them.”
She also thanks her first instructor, Sarah Boon, and Kassie Roth for helping her gain confidence.
Tobi-Beth still admires the other rodeo queens, and when Miss Rodeo America Jordan Tierney was in Sterling for the Logan County Fair, Tobi-Beth was a star just like anyone else.
“She spent a lot of time with us, and at one point I was like, ‘Wow, she’s talking to me right now!’” She said. “I was so thrilled just to be with her.”
Tobi-Beth knows she has big boots to fill. Makayla Motzkus, one of her closest friends, has spent two years rejuvenating the rodeo’s royalty program, and Tobi-Beth wants to continue that work.
“My main goal is just to be a good role model and be part of a lot of awareness programs,” she said. “I was part of the suicide awareness program (September 11) and there is another one in May that I want to participate in.”
Meanwhile, she has a full schedule of scheduled appearances for the next 12 months. In just one weekend, she was scheduled to be at the For Peetz Sake parade, appearing at Sugarbeet Days and Sidney’s Oktoberfest, Neb.
“It’s going to be a busy year,” she said. “I am really looking forward to it.”