Shy child transforms into Miss Rodeo Australia contestant
GROWING up on a sheep farm at Karara, west of Warwick, Tammie Conroy was a country girl through and through.
It was the quintessential Aussie bush way of life.
Ms Conroy and her older sisters would help around the farm, mustering, fencing, caring for the animals, riding horses and motorbikes, shooting, and driving farm utes from a young age.
Today, nothing much has changed.
Closer to Warwick now, the animals are still a constant in her life.
The family owns a small lamb feedlot and are surrounded by dogs, horses and sheep.
With her partner Tex, Ms Conroy owns a contract mustering business.
But under all the dust and dirt, there's the glamour and gleaming smile of a rodeo queen.
In January, Ms Conroy will come up
against five other women from around the country, all vying for the prestigious title of Miss Rodeo Australia.
The current Taroom Rodeo Queen and former Warwick Rodeo Queen and Rodeo Princess, Ms Conroy is no stranger to the competition, but her chase for the crown started in an unexpected way.
"I was an extremely shy kid, to the point I'd rather not have friends than have to strike up a conversation,” she said.
"Anything that meant talking in front of
a group of people was an absolute nightmare.”
Through the Warwick High School rodeo program, Ms Conroy discovered the Rodeo Queen Quest and realised it was something she'd always wanted to do, but had no idea how to start.
"It was a huge step for me, but I got into it to gain confidence,” she said.
"I had a desire to conquer my fears and it was made a little easier by the fact rodeo was something I was passionate about.
"Being in the running for rodeo princess or queen meant a lot of public speaking and meeting a lot of new faces, but I threw myself into and to my surprise, I gained that confidence I wanted so badly, little by little.”
Ms Conroy said she learned a lot from the people she met while competing in the various quests.
"Meeting people who'd been there and done it was so helpful,” she said.
"Their advice gave me the confidence to keep going.”
In 2005, Ms Conroy became the Warwick Rodeo Princess Miss Personality.
In 2007, she went one better becoming Warwick Rodeo Princess, then after a stint at University of Queensland, Gatton campus, studying a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in equine science, Ms Conroy returned to Warwick and the Rodeo Queen Quest to become the Warwick Rodeo Queen in 2011.
Seven years on and in her first and final attempt at the national crown, Ms Conroy approached Taroom Rodeo to be their representative.
"You have to be a reigning queen to
enter the Miss Rodeo Australia quest,”
"I sent them a portfolio and they agreed, before even meeting me.
"It's been a long haul, I've put everything into this quest, physically and mentally.
"But it's a massive opportunity and it was be awesome to repay the faith the Taroom Rodeo people have put in me.
"This is the pinnacle and I'm going to give it everything I've got.”