Miss Rodeo South Dakota Morgan Erickson stands proudly with her family at her coronation January 7. Pictured left to right: brother Cole, father Jon, Queen Morgan, mother Shelli and sister Bailey.
By Charity Maness
HOT SPRINGS – Local Hot Springs resident Morgan Erickson was crowned Miss Rodeo Queen South Dakota this past Saturday evening, Jan. 7, at coronation ceremonies held at the Hot Springs American Legion.
“We are so very proud of her,” said Jon Erickson, Morgan’s father. “She has worked really hard for this.”
“I want to cry,” said Shelli Erickson, Morgan’s mother, as she shared her daughter’s commitment to her equine passion and her community. “She has loved rodeos for so long and is so proud to represent the Black Hills and Hot Springs.”
Morgan has loved horses since she was a young girl but is relatively new to rodeos and rodeo queen competitions as she began competing in such competitions in 2018 taking home her first title in 2019 as Miss Rodeo Aberdeen.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into when they placed the crown on top of my head for the first time,” she said. “But I was hooked from that moment on.”
Morgan grew up on a farm in Minnesota surrounded by horses.
“I was put onto a horse when I was three years old and rode consistently, but it wasn’t until I was around 10 that I started to enjoy riding more and I started competing in 4-H doing western and English pleasure. Horses have always been a big part of my life.”
But horses were not her only passion as she was active in volleyball, basketball, and track, as well as participating in the school musical, band, choir, speech, National Honor Society, FFA, and Math League.
Morgan attended South Dakota State University and graduated in May of 2020 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Animal and Agricultural Sciences with a minor in Equine Science.
It was at college when she first discovered competitions.
“I decided to start competing for rodeo queen titles when I saw a poster hanging up in the Animal Science building at SDSU and I ran for the Jackrabbit Stampede Ambassador contest and received first runner up. My first competitions were nerve wracking and intense.”
Her mother watched the transformation with pride.
“She worked hard,” said Shelli of the competitions, “but last year she was ready, she was poised, confident, and ready to be Queen.”
Now as Miss Rodeo South Dakota Morgan will represent South Dakota and her new hometown Hot Springs at many rodeos across the nation and will compete on the big stage at Miss Rodeo America during the national finals rodeo in December of 2023.
Yet as she has proven throughout her life, Morgan will not slow down with one focus in life.
“I hope to grow my equine Massage business, At Your Best Equine Massage Therapy, and continue to help horses feel and perform at their best,” she said.
She is also active coaching at Hot Springs High School.
Morgan is thankful for her many sponsors and supporters but holds a special place in her heart for her family.
“I would like to give the absolute biggest thank you to my family,” she said. “My mom and dad, Jon and Shelli for everything they have done for me throughout the years, and to my sister, Bailey, and brother, Cole, thank you for all the support you have given me.”
She also had a parting bit of advice for youth today.
“Always be wholeheartedly and authentically yourself. A quote I live my life by was written by William Shakespeare, and it is “To thine own self be true” and it rings true to this day.”