by NATASHA VITALE
With the Reno Rodeo kicking off Thursday, the new Miss Reno Rodeo has a busy week ahead.
Ashley Espin, 22, won the title Friday. As Miss Reno Rodeo, she will serve as an ambassador and promote the rodeo, which runs through June 29.
“Growing up, my family was involved in the Western lifestyle,” Espin said. “But it was my friends who really got me involved in rodeo. I had an opportunity to work for the Reno Rodeo, and I loved it.”
The Miss Reno Rodeo competition is a weeklong contest that involves tests from impromptu interviews to horsemanship, but Espin said that she enjoyed the community outreach aspect, such as visiting Renown Children’s Hospital and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“My personal favorite thing is giving back to the children, inspiring them to read by combining rodeo with reading,” Espin said. “I like to tell them the story about how I got my first horse. My parents wouldn’t let me, so I read all I could about horses to prove that I was responsible enough to take care of one.”
There are many events for children at the Reno Rodeo, including Kid’s Day on Saturday, when kids can get in free from noon to 3 p.m.
Espin plans to attend many of the events, and she said she wants to make the most of her year as an ambassador for the Reno Rodeo.
“I get to travel around the state and tell people about the Reno Rodeo,” Espin said. “I get to inspire people to become true fans of the rodeo.”
Espin said she might take a semester off from school to make the most of her year as an ambassador. She is currently a dual major in education and engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno and hopes to pursue a career in the water engineering industry.