OGDEN -- There's something special behind the huge smile and bright eyes of the newly crowned Miss Rodeo Utah.
It's an appreciation for where she has been and what she has been able to accomplish.
Jamie Udell, 22, said she's always been a shy person.
"It was to the point that I was handicapped."
But working for a golden tiara has helped her overcome that shyness.
"That in and of itself is worth it without winning," said the Pine Valley resident who was named Miss Rodeo Utah on Monday during the finale of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.
Currently a student at Dixie State University in St. George, Udell said she is seeking two bachelor's degrees, one in communication and the other in biology.
Her goal is to become a pediatric dentist; she believes her experiences as an ambassador to rodeo will help her obtain that ambition.
"My skills as a rodeo queen and speaking to people will help me get into dental school," she said. She plans to apply at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Udell, who had competed for the title four times previously as well as for a host of other titles, said it was all those tests along the way that prepared her to be the best that she could be.
"God has a plan, a time and a place for everything. I've learned from the pageants I've been able to win and the ones that I haven't been able to win," she said.
Udell's past few months were filled with a dedication to preparation that she never had before.
"I took it from a different angle and really improved my efforts," she said. "I rode every horse I could imagine. I went to several horse trainers, modeling coaches, and I spent a lot of time studying."
Udell said she even found a man who could help her with current events by asking her about each event in the news each week in various ways and then evaluating her answers, asking her to think of them from different perspectives.
"You don't know where the judges are going to come from, so you have to be prepared to answer questions about events from anywhere," she said.
The result of her many efforts, she said, was not only setting her up for a great contest but developing a cadre of friends that she has learned to appreciate in a way she wouldn't have been able to before.
But she also learned a great deal from her older sister, Chelsea, who is limited by a birth defect, a chromosome disorder known as Alfi's syndrome.
Udell said her sister's disorder can be understood somewhat by its similarities to Down syndrome, although it's also very different.
The new Miss Rodeo Utah said she was spurred on by her sister's plan to celebrate her win by having a family party with s'mores. The sister and Udell's father, Jim, went shopping for the supplies for the chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker treat earlier this month.
Before Udell left for the contest last week, her sister told her about her plan but then asked what she would do with the ingredients for s'mores if Udell didn't win, Udell said.
"She said, 'Can we still have s'mores?' I said, 'Of course.' "
But that party will have to wait because Udell is off to the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo today with her mother, Beverly, and another sister for the rest of the week as part of her duties as Miss Rodeo Utah. She won't be back home again until Monday.
Udell turned from her sister's example to explain the service she could offer for others through her latest accomplishment.
"I honestly believe that God put us on this earth to be of service to others," she said.
"What better way to be of service than through rodeo queening and the Western way of life?"
Udell wants people in the Top of Utah to know she is available to contribute to their events and functions as a public speaker or through visits to those less fortunate.
She said she hopes those who are interested in having her appear at their events will contact her through Chris Wade Price, who is responsible for Miss Rodeo Utah scheduling, at 435-671-2219.