Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Miss Rodeo Florida 2020: An Interview with McKenna Andris

Miss Rodeo Florida 2020: An Interview with McKenna Andris
by Gina McKnight
Archived from the May 2020 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.

McKenna Andris knows horses. Besides holding the title of Miss Rodeo Florida 2020, McKenna is an award-winning horsewoman. Whether she is having a Zoom meeting with her fellow State rodeo queens, supporting one another during the COVID-19 quarantine, or riding her AQHA gelding Pork Chop, McKenna inspires cowgirls around the world.

Welcome, McKenna!

GM: When was your first encounter with a horse?
MA: When I was 5 years old I had a cowgirl themed birthday party at a ranch and from that day on, I was in love with horses. At that ranch, they had group lessons scheduled for every Saturday morning, which my parents started taking me to. They figured it was just a phase and that I’d grow out of it, but I never did.

GM: Congratulations on your success! You have many accolades, including, MRF Horsemanship Award, Speech Award, Photogenic Award, Appearance Award, Personality Award, and Test Award! How did you prepare for Miss Florida Rodeo competition?
MA: Thank you! I spent A LOT of time studying the PRCA rule book, media guide, and the ProRodeo Sports News magazines. I also had an amazing group of past Miss Rodeo Florida’s to help me study. Sheila Shirah Kitaif MRF 2015, was the written test winner at the Miss Rodeo America pageant the year she competed. She was my go-to when it came to rodeo knowledge. She would send me about 5 questions a day leading up to the pageant. Kelly Steinruck MRF 2016, helped me articulate my thoughts accurately for when I would public speak. She also acted as my stylist when it came to getting my wardrobe ready for the pageant. When it came to speech, I knew I wanted to think outside of the box and incorporate my dream of being a prosecutor. Once I had written my speech, I made a recording of me reading it and I would play it until I had it memorized.   

When it came to horsemanship, I rode with Matt Goodman from Goodman Performance Horses. He is a reiner based out of South Florida, who I have been riding with since I was 12 years old. The summer before pageant he put me on anything with four legs. I rode green broke two-year-olds to high performance reining horses. I had a goal of getting on as many different horses as possible to make me the best rider I can be. I am still riding with him and learning new things every day!

GM: As a rodeo rider, you've competed in a lot of events. What is your favorite rodeo event?  
MA: Growing up I’ve competed in barrel racing, goat tying, pole bending, and breakaway roping. Even though I was best at goat tying, my favorite event is barrel racing. There is no better feeling than going through the alley knowing your horse is about to give his heart and soul to you.

GM: Take us through a day in your life...
MA: (Before quarantine) I would start my day by waking up at 8am to let my dog Shiloh outside and then to feed him. After eating breakfast myself, I would get dressed and ready to go to the gym. After my workout, I would typically grab a smoothie from Smoothie King and then go out to the barn to see my horse. I would do my chores and either ride or just groom him. I would then go home and shower. After I am all clean, I would sit down and do my school work. The past 3 semesters for school, I have done online classes so I could have a more flexible schedule. Once my school work is completed I would watch some Netflix and scroll through the PRCA’s app on my phone to stay updated with what is happening in the rodeo world. I would probably watch two episodes before I would start making dinner. I then would eat, feed Shiloh, and hangout with my roommates until I would go to bed.  

GM: For those of us who are armchair beauty queens/horse lovers, what advice do you have for health and happiness?
MA: I would tell them to never stop doing what makes them happy, and always stay humble. A few years ago, when I first went away to college, I lost sight of why I love horses so much. The pressure of competing got in the way and I just did not enjoy it anymore. I took a step back and thought about how disappointed 7-year-old me would be. I am blessed enough to have my own horse and the opportunity to love on him whenever I want. The few months following that, I would go out to the barn to just hang out with him, go on a trail ride, or read a book. For me, it is key to remember why you started and to continue to remind yourself how blessed you are. 

GM: What horse(s) do you currently stable?  
MA: I currently only own one horse at the moment. His name is Docs Six Pac (barn name Pork Chop) and he is registered as an Appendix through AQHA. He was trained as a barrel horse where I competed at NBHAs, jackpots, and ProRodeos. He is a 16h sorrel, with a blaze.

GM: In your opinion, what qualities make the best rodeo horse?
MA: I find that it is really important to have a good mind and heart in a horse. Some people believe that papers are what make a horse, but even grade horses could be amazing athletes. If you have a good mind and heart, then they will never stop trying to please you. They will love the sport as much as you do and will do as much as possible to get their job done.

GM: Will you advance to Miss Rodeo America? What is the process and when is the contest?
MA: Yes, I will get to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo America. The pageant is a week-long competition made up of horsemanship, multiple interviews, on-stage questions, modeling, a speech, and a written test. It is November 29th - December 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

GM: We will certainly be cheering for you! Best wishes as you continue your journey! One last question I ask all the great people I interview. What does horsemanship mean to you?
MA: I feel as if horsemanship is one of the most important parts of being a Rodeo Queen. As Miss Rodeo Florida, I will never use my own horse at a rodeo, parade, or any event. Rodeo Queens are expected to hop on anything and be able to ride it. While competing for Miss Teen Rodeo Florida and Miss Rodeo Florida, other than wanting those titles, I was determined to win the Horsemanship Award. I won the Speech Award and Horsemanship Award along with the main titles at both of those pageants.

Honestly, receiving the Horsemanship Award meant so much more. I believe that it meant more because horseback riding is what got me into being a Rodeo Queen. Everything I do comes back to my passion for horseback riding. It is hard to explain, but my life has been revolved around horses since I was five years old. I have worked with different trainers, asked for advice, and more to continue bettering myself as a horsewoman. To have those awards, shows me to be proud of myself and that all my hard work has paid off.

Connect with McKenna…

McKenna Andris, Miss Rodeo Florida 2020
Photo by David Rosenfield

Monday, June 1, 2020

Study for Life Success: 7 Effective Study Steps to Excellence by FAIZ IBRAHIM


Are you looking to improve yourself in study whether you are in school or college?
Are you willing to be one of the recognized students?
Are you searching for a study book to help you to reach the excellence?
Are you looking for great and interesting book in the same time to help you?
Do you want to know the secrets of successful people in life?!
If you want that, this is the book which you are looking for...
This book contains very essential skills for us as students, to be better and get high marks and to be recognized. This book will help you to improve yourself and your life in general. This study book contains a lot of advices which came after a long journey of experience. The other thing, it is supported by many studies by experts which will help you to improve. It is written in a very simple and interesting way and full of stories which will make you enjoy reading until the last page.
If you want to know more and learn these secrets grab your copy now and reach to excellence.

Available in Kindle here!

Read more from the blog here!

Milliron Monday: Curtains 6 1 2020

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Above: From the Smith family archives, a photo from an old slide, circa 1960s. 
Dr. Smith (center), his wife, Jody (right), and daughter, Jessica (left).

In every house, when the curtains are drawn, there's a story going on, and you never get to hear...  Peter Jackson

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Last Friday, my farrier, Bryan Farcus, came to the barn to trim mare, Zubedia, and guest gelding, Crusoe. The horses were long in the hoof - the pandemic officials considered my farrier a "non-essential" business and, like hairdressers, it was all considered cosmetic. Now, the lockdown lifted, the horses have nice pedicures and are back in action (thank you, Bryan!). 

While Bryan was trimming, Jody (Smith) stopped by. We had planned a get-together at the barn - a visit with the horses and to catch up as we have been social distancing like everyone else. It was great to see Jody after being in lockdown. Jody and Bryan, have been friends for a long time (since the time Dr. Smith and Jody were the first on the local Hocking College Equine Advisory Board, where Bryan was a farrier school professor). A happy reunion for all, and smiles under every mask. 

But, the focus of today's Milliron Monday is curtains (I thought you would like to know the inside story). Curtains. After Bryan left, Jody and I viewed old slides from the 1960s, when the family lived in Colorado. The above photo is the Smith family in their living room, sitting in front of their window, curtains drawn. Jody, the forever horse-loving woman, hung horse print fabric for curtains. 

Jody remembers, "My mother, Virginia, was a very good seamstress. I picked the fabric and she sewed the curtains. I love the horse print. I still have the curtains. They're a little faded now. They still hang in my house." 

The photo made from an old slide, like the curtains, has faded. As we talk about the photo, Jody's eyes twinkle with memories. Good memories.

Special thanks to Jessica (Smith) for sharing the slides. 

Have a great week ahead!

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

MONDAY BOOKLIST - Book Promotion

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

DSBU - Dark Side of Business: Modern Literature Project

“We are modern writers. Dark is not evil, it’s simply not visible.”

DSBU – Dark Side of Business, a modern literature project about life, business, relations from another side. From angle of view, not popular to talk about. Enjoy!

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Friday, May 29, 2020

JESKA: Stories from the Plantation Book WA 1 by Lady Dre


Stories from the Plantation Book WA 1

By Lady Dre

There is a storm coming to Egypt, and one woman has the power to dictate where it goes and who it breaks.

Jeska was a girl who just wanted to learn how to be a healer and make her family proud. An encounter with royalty doesn't change that, but it certainly complicates things. She is swept away into the glittering world of the royals, it is a beautiful world that hides the betrayal she will soon receive with a pretty facade. She fell in love quickly with Hotep, a kind boy who saw past the glitter of the court and tried to help her do the same.

But the facade, as all facades do, soon fell apart.

Jeska is a woman who has lost everything, her love, her husband and two of her children, she is bent but not broken and she has her mind fixed on revenge. When an old friend asks her to dive straight into the war, she doesn't hesitate, and this time, she is not alone, Hotep, now a great warrior will be working with her. Together, they will uncover secrets, fight battles, and rekindle a love they thought was long gone, still, will her actions be enough to stop destruction from raining down on Egypt?


Available in eBook and Paperback here!

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Website: www.amillionideas.com




alqata was the most beautiful palace Jeska had ever set her eyes on. Never mind that, in all her five years, it was the only palace she had ever set her eyes on. Father never let her go too far without him because he never wanted her to go missing.

"Stay close to me, Jeska." She picked up her pace to keep up with her father who slowed down to let her catch up to him and the palace servant that was leading them down the twisting hallways. She knew that if she lost sight of them for just a second, she could go missing for days and mother would be sad.

"This place is beautiful, father. Can we live here?” She saw a smile ghost the lips of the servant but she continued. People always talked about how bold she was; she did not mind one bit. “You and mother can ask Pharaoh. He will agree, don't you think?"

She could not stop her eyes from wandering over the paintings on the walls with depictions of flowers and elaborate animals. As they passed a column painted to look like lilies, she traced her fingers over it and almost stumbled into a servant hurrying down the corridor. The palace was bustling with activity and there were servants buzzing through the hallways. It reminded Jeska of the impossibly large bees humming around in the garden they passed a while ago. This was not the first time she would accompany her father to heal someone. She had been her father's apprentice since she was old enough to follow him around which was also the time she was old enough to understand what he was doing.

They were going to heal Pharaoh's only daughter, Hatshepsut. For the past two years, since she was three, Jeska had been actively following her father around and today he was taking her with him to heal royalty. She was excited when he told her about the job – at least until he told her he was not planning on taking her with him. She begged and sulked for days, promising that she would be on her best behavior.

"Father, I promise. Please just take me with you. I'll be good and I'll wear makeup, mother." She directed the last part at her mother who was always trying to get her to wear makeup and jewelry, all of which Jeska despised; especially under the scalding sun. They finally agreed after some compromise and here they were in the palace.

The servant led them down a hallway that seemed more prestigious than the others, if the relatively well-dressed servants were anything to go by. Here, there were fewer servants and they looked healthier than the ones Jeska had seen earlier. They stopped in front of a door that reminded Jeska of the vines that had climbed and wrapped themselves around the outer walls of her home. Somehow, an artist had painted the vines with clarity. It was nothing short of beautiful. The servant knocked once and opened the door for them, letting them enter first as was expected of him. Jeska was a direct descendant of Peseshet, the first female doctor in all of Egypt. Her father, Akhethetep, was Peseshet's son and he learned from her. Jeska's family was not a royal one but they were not peasants either; they were upper class members of the society.

The servant motioned for them to follow him as he walked past Jeska’s father into a little room, at the end of which was a door. Jeska assumed that it was the princess’ private viewing chamber. She followed her father to take a seat on one of the many wooden chairs cushioned with fine cotton as the servant walked towards the door. The servant gently pushed the door open and stepped inside.

“Father, why don’t we just go in with the servant?” Jeska whispered immediately the servant disappeared behind the door, her small body turned towards her father.

“The princess has to give us permission to see her. That’s how it works, Jeska.” Her father replied with a smile on his face.

“I don’t understand. Doesn’t she want to get healed? We came to heal her but we still have to wait for her permission?” Her tone laced with confusion and distaste, Jeska’s face morphed into a frown as she thought about the absurdity of it all. “I don’t think I want to live in the palace anymore, father.” That elicited a laugh from Jeska’s father.

“Hush now, Jeska.” Her father scolded her but he was smiling so she knew he was not being too serious about it. Just then, the door opened and the servant stepped out. He bowed at them with his arms behind his back. “The princess has given you leave to see her.”

Jeska walked into the princess’ bedroom with her father’s hand on her bare shoulder guiding her. The room was decorated all around with paintings of beautiful animals. To Jeska's left was a painting of two lions poised to attack. The wall directly in front of her was covered in a painting of a crocodile with its jaws wide open to capture prey. It sent a thrill through her chest; she had always loved animals. Jeska barely managed to drag her eyes away from the paintings to look at the occupants of the room.  Seated by the bedside of the girl Jeska assumed was the princess, was a little boy who looked to be about a year or two older than she was. The boy was donned with a loose-fitting robe that appeared to be made of linen. The prints of fur on specific places such as the shoulders depicted his heritage as Pharaoh's son. Unlike Jeska who only had a few jewelries on but no clothing, the girl on the bed was dressed in a loose robe similar to her brother’s. Jeska was confused as to why the girl was dressed; she was sure they were the same age.

From the corner of her eye, Jeska saw her father bow to the princess and the boy who must have been the prince, Thutmose II. The princess, Hatshepsut, and Thutmose were both children of the Pharaoh but they were born of different mothers. Hatshepsut's mother died after she gave birth to her only daughter. From what Jeska had heard, the princess and her half-brother were very close. In fact, people often said that if one did not know of the death of the princess' mother, one would think them to be from the same mother.

"Healer, why has your daughter failed to greet me?" Hatshepsut questioned Jeska's father, drawing Jeska's attention to the fact that she had been staring at her since she stepped into the room. "Or is that not the custom anymore?" This question was directed at her brother who simply stared at her, his amusement at the situation obvious in the private smile he gave his sister.

"You'll have to forgive her, my princess. This is her first time around people of higher birth such as yours." Jeska watched as her father bowed his head again, humility written all over his features. Something twisted in her guts right then. Something like anger. Something like disdain for the princess. She knew that it was the custom of her people to respect and worship Pharaoh and his children, but this girl was too full of pride.

"Well, she'll have to learn, won't she?" The princess replied with a smug smile on her face.

"Father, I take back your apology. She doesn't deserve it." Jeska interfered with a thrust of her chin at Hatshepsut. She watched as Hatshepsut's face turned sour and angry, as if she could not at all fathom the words Jeska spoke to her. As if he could sense that something bad was about to happen, Akhethetep pulled his daughter behind him, leaving her slightly covered by his frame.

Hatshepsut quickly sat up and turned to her brother, the sudden movement caused the sleeve of her robe to slip down one shoulder. "Thutmose, call the guards for me. This girl must be punished–" her sentence was cut short by her brother's hand on her shoulder gently pushing her against the bed, making her to get into a reclined position. He gathered the bed-sheets around her and drew them up to her shoulders.

"You need to rest, Hatshepsut. Let the man and his daughter heal you and be on their way." He stood up from the chair by the side of the princess' bed, and motioned with the slightest of bows for Jeska's father to take his former position. Jeska decided that she liked the young prince better than his proud sister.

Thutmose II, second of his name, knew some things. He knew some people considered him weak and he would most likely be considered a weakling all throughout history but he regarded it as his duty to love and protect his sister, regardless of the circumstances. Despite his young age; he had not lived up to eight years, he knew that the young girl that accompanied her father to heal Hatshepsut was from a line of veritable healers.  He knew that her grandmother oversaw the last few treatments and rites that were necessary for the burial of Hatshepsut's mother. Hatshepsut was not aware of this little fact; this family had honored her mother.

The healer released his grip on his daughter's shoulder, apparently satisfied that the threat of punishment to his daughter was gone. He whirled around to face his daughter with a finger pointed at her. "You know the correct way to behave, Jeska. Why are you acting like your mother and I didn’t raise you properly?" Akhethetep scolded the girl. "Now you will apologize to prince Thutmose."

Thutmose quickly interrupted the man. "There is no need. We are almost the same age, eh? Perhaps next time she will do better." He could barely see the girl, Jeska, behind her father but he had a feeling he would find a scowl on her face if he could.

"Thank you, prince." The healer straightened and faced Thutmose. "She will do better next time. I take full responsibility for her actions."

"No need for all that." Thutmose walked towards the healer and the man passed him, his bag of healing potions in his hand. He stopped just by Hatshepsut's beside, pushing away the chair that Thutmose occupied earlier.

Thutmose watched as the man opened his bag and brought out some concoctions and herbs. He placed them on a small wooden table and adjusted the pillows beneath Hatshepsut's head. He uncapped a flask made of goatskin and poured some of its liquid content on his hand. The smell of the liquid substance immediately permeated the room and Thutmose was overcome with an overwhelming need to vomit the remains of his breakfast. As the older man massaged the thick green liquid onto his sister's forehead, Thutmose could see the effects it was having on her. Her eyes were watering, and she kept blinking repeatedly.

"This will drive away the sickness. It seems to be a strong one, but I prepared this potion especially for you, my princess." Akhethetep quickly assured her of the importance of the concoction. After all, the princess had barely lived for six years. Just like his daughter, she was still a child. At the thought of the younger girl, Jeska, Thutmose turned to see how she was faring against the strong potion. The girl had her palm over her nose. She appeared to be breathing through her mouth.

"Drink a little of this, princess." The healer had put away the foul potion and brought another to Hatshepsut's lips.

About the Author

Lady Dre is a dreamer who loves the freedom that comes with reading a good book. She sometimes enjoys the worlds her imagination creates more than reality, she is a mom and a paralegal who loves writing whenever she isn't with her friends or hanging out with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Disneyland. She doesn't get a lot of free time to write, but when she does, she bleeds emotions into the pages and the results are often magical. She lives in Los Angeles, where she goes to brunch with her friends as much as is humanly possible and does her best to watch all the great movies she can find.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Collage Challenge: Pink!

Collage Challenge!


What does pink mean to you?

How do colors inspire your day?

Find things in your house/office/junk draw

 that are pink!

Create and share your Pink collage!

Send a photo of your collage, first name, website/blog/social media link to:



Miss Rodeo Florida 2020: An Interview with McKenna Andris

Miss Rodeo Florida 2020: An Interview with McKenna Andris by Gina McKnight Archived from the May 2020 Issue of Florida Equine Athlet...