OGDEN -- The new Miss Rodeo Ogden is a perfect example of one who overcame great odds to win the crown.
Morgan Bo Blackhurst was crowned Miss Rodeo Ogden on Saturday night in Ogden after only four years competing in rodeo queen competitions.
Such an accomplishment is virtually unheard of in the world of rodeo royalty contests.
"I didn't start until I was 19," said the 22-year-old western beauty from Hoytsville.
But Friday night and Saturday, things went her way as if she had been working toward that goal her whole life.
Blackhurst was the winner of the appearance, horsemanship and public-speaking areas of competition.
Although she has been Miss Wilderness Circuit, representing Utah, Nevada and southern Idaho in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Miss West Jordan Western Stampede, a second runner-up to Miss Rodeo Ogden and a second runner-up to Miss Rodeo Utah in the past, Blackhurst said Saturday night represented the first time she had ever won both the appearance and horsemanship awards.
"The first year I competed at Miss Rodeo Utah was also my first year ever queening," she said. "I felt like a fish out of water."
But Blackhurst said as soon as the contest was over, she went to work.
"I told myself that I would never feel that way again -- embarrassed and unprepared."
She said her hard work has paid off slowly as she moved forward.
"Placing among and sometimes even beating girls who have been doing this their whole lives really proves that if you want something bad enough, and you're willing to work hard, you'll get it," she said.
And work hard was something she did right up until Friday and Saturday's competition.
She said that last year at the Miss Rodeo Utah pageant, she had problems with her horse of two years, Nic.
"A lot of people told me not to ride this horse," she said, noting that she couldn't find another horse in time for the contest, so she went to work on Nic.
"After I decided to keep using Nic, I rode him a ton," she said. "I've worked harder with him over the last few months than I ever have with any other horse, and I've been riding my whole life!"
And Blackhurst said she also had to give much credit to her mother's hard work. Kelli McDonald sewed or added to every outfit Blackhurst wore during the competition.
"I feel like my mom won me appearance more than I did, because she worked so hard on my outfits," Blackhurst said.
"My dress that I wore to the banquet has 9,000 rhinestones on it," she said. "My mom has put every single one on. My mom has been a rock star."
Blackhurst said she's very excited to represent Ogden Pioneer Days as Miss Rodeo Ogden.
"Anyone who has a question, I hope they feel welcome to come up and ask me or just introduce themselves," she said.
Blackhurst has a degree in agricultural communication and journalism from Utah State University.
"I feel like I have the public relations knowledge to help promote the sport in a way that most girls my age wouldn't have. I look at it as a job, not just a hobby, something you need to take serious."
The new Miss Rodeo Ogden's list of parents also include Hugh McDonald, Dan Johnson and Aaron and Susi Blackhurst.
Named first runner-up at Saturday's competition was Shianne Lowe, of West Haven.
Second runner-up and the winner of the personality and photogenic awards was Talia Elise Wilson, of Lindon.
Miss Congeniality was Rachel Halverson, of Morgan.