Okay friends. This was an experience I never in a million years thought I would get to experience. In case you don’t know, western life has my heart. If I had my choice, I would spend all my time on horseback surrounded by cows (aka the most beautiful animal in the world). At the end of last summer, I got a call from one of our awesome past brides (the always amazing Aya Reimer) saying that she had a friend needing help in LAS VEGAS during the 2018 National Finals Rodeo (say what?!).
If you’ve never been to the NFR, it would be impossible to write everything down in a single blog post. There are so many different sections and I barely scraped the surface with what I got to experience. I spent the majority of my time hanging out with some of the most heartfelt people in the business. Total transparency for y’all, I was SUPER nervous about being there. First, I had never met anyone who I was meeting up with. Can use say ultimate stress? What was gonna happen when I got there? But as soon as I landed all that stress washed away. Within 45 minutes of landing I was standing with the awesome Joelle Souza (aka…thealohacowgirl) -- aka my go to boss babe and best friend in Vegas -- listening to the always amazing Aaron Watson!!
The next 8 days felt like they both flew by and drug on at the same time. It was absolutely nothing like I expected. It’s funny to watch people when they first arrive, because all of us are so excited to be in the middle of it all. Pretty soon though everyone gets tired and worn out. Honestly by about day 3 all I wanted to do was to sleep for a solid 12 hours and eat a very large steak (oh p.s. food in Vegas is extra expensive). Halfway through my time there, I got to see a new set of people coming in. I know that’s exactly what I looked like on my first day, and in that moment I had a brand new level of respect for the athletes and business owners who are there for a solid month. Watching as these rodeo people turn Las Vegas into their home for 4 weeks is amazing. I don’t think I would be able to do it...I love my bed and my Texas way too much!!
But enough about how exhausted it made me. The main thing that I will look back on this past December and remember are all the awesome people that I was able to meet during my time there, and all the cool things that we got to experience together. I absolutely love adventure, but I don’t get to travel as much anymore as I would like, so having this opportunity so soon after I graduated was a great experience (and yes I realize that I have said that so many times, but guys...this was seriously a dream come true!!). We spent a couple days walking around the expo centers picking out items to be in the fashion show and the photo shoots we were working on. The other days were actually spent on PHOTO SHOOTS!!! I seriously love styled shoots, and the fact that we got to do these on location in the Nevada desert….just W O W!!
So the main event that I was there for was beyond insane. I was up at 5 that morning working until about 6 that night. I so wish I could have gotten more pictures, but I barely touched my phone that entire day. Just know that getting to be back in that room while all our models were throwing on and off outfit after outfit was an insane adrenaline rush. I hope to have that experience again in the near future!
I knew this was going to be an experience to remember, but never could have imagined everything that I got out of it. Not only did I get to help create a western fashion show with a great western magazine, I also got to make some amazing friends along the way. I was able to work with some pretty great influencers in the western world, and see the heart behind what they do. The western industry is full of people who just want you to be 100% yourself and who are so encouraging toward one another. I will always be thankful for how they have all encouraged and continue to encourage me in who I am.
Here’s to hoping for another year at the biggest rodeo and western runway of the year! Enjoy all my candid snapshots from the best 8 days of my life!!