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Lauren Terry

Senior, animal sciences
College of Agriculture

Lauren Terry was a toddler when she first attempted to ride a horse. She said she remembers falling off a pony when she was a little girl, but her dad told her to get back in the saddle and keep riding, helping her conquer any potential fear. It worked, and the rest is history. The senior in the Department of Animal Sciences is now an accomplished barrel racer and western pleasure rider and, last January, was crowned Miss Rodeo USA. Taking a year off from classes, Terry spent most of 2013 touring the country, making appearances as an official spokesperson for the International Professional Rodeo Association. In each city, she also took time to speak to school children about the importance of having good manners and showing respect for others. Now that she's back on the Plains to finish her degree in animal sciences, she reflects on how her year as Miss Rodeo USA changed her and gave her the opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of others.

1. How did growing up in a rodeo family help lead you to the College of Agriculture and your major, animal sciences?

I grew up on a farm in Moulton, Alabama. My family owns and operates Iron Rail Arena, where we host rodeos and local horseshows along with other events. Being around livestock all my life and seeing the responsibilities and dedication it takes to care for them led me to want to know more about the livestock. I originally came to Auburn with hopes of becoming a vet. The first semester here I got a job at the meats lab and really enjoyed my job. It was then that I changed my major to animal science – production management.

2. How did your experiences as a student in animal sciences help you while you were competing to win the title and later traveling as Miss Rodeo USA 2013?

Coming to Auburn in the fall of 2011 was difficult for me because I was a homebody. Growing up, everything we did involved the entire family. So being three hours from home and feeling like I was missing out on everything was very hard. Little did I know being at Auburn would help me so much. It helped me to learn that I would be okay staying away from home. There were so many opportunities for me here; I became involved with clubs, made new friends and became more independent than I ever had been before. When I became Miss Rodeo USA I was required to travel alone, and I pretty much lived on the road. I missed my family very much, but living away from home for college had prepared me for this.

3. What did you learn about people as you traveled the U.S.?

There were two major things I learned from my travels around the country. First, I learned that Miranda Lambert's song is very true: it takes all kinds of kinds. Each and every one of us is unique in our own way, but our differences are what help make the world go around. Second, I was raised in the South where manners and respect are common, but I learned that the manners I was taught are not used everywhere. I am afraid that our country as a whole lacks what we Southerners consider to be good manners, and that is unfortunate in my opinion.

4. Your platform as Miss Rodeo USA, Roundup Respect, was based on your belief that our society would benefit greatly if each individual showed more respect for others. In every city you visited, you spent time teaching children at local schools about this. What do you feel your generation as a whole can do to influence younger people in a positive way?

Each and every one of us needs to realize that we are role models for the younger generation. Whether we know it or not, children watch everything we do, and they want to grow up to be just like us. I believe we should be respectful and use our manners no matter what the situation may be. Today many children are raised in torn homes or their parents don't care how they behave. I feel like each of us needs to take a step and show them there is someone out there who cares. We can brighten a child's day just by saying hello and sharing a smile. Most important, always remember there is someone who wants to be just like you, and be the person you would want them to be.

5. How did your travels and experiences as Miss Rodeo USA change your perspective when you came back to campus?

My experiences opened up so many doors for me and helped me to look at life in a more professional way. I knew I loved to travel, but being on the road for a year made me realize even more how much I enjoyed it. I have always been a friendly person, but I became more outgoing last year. When I came back to campus I would speak to anyone and everyone. After doing numerous school visits and speaking in front of groups, I don't mind getting up in front of a crowd and talking about something I love. The past year changed me, but in good ways. I matured even more and realized I could do anything I set my mind to.

July 7, 2014