Cowgirl queen learns to dance

       Kelli Jackson was having to concentrate at the Carriage Stop the night of April 9.
       “I've never done this before,” the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA) queen confessed during a break in the country-western dancing at the Midland-area dance hall, adding with a grin. “But I'm having fun. They give good lessons.” 
Ken Owings, an experienced country-western dancer, 
guides National Little Britches Queen Kelli Jackson through 
some steps April 9 at the Carriage Stop. Jackson spent the 
first part of the day helping reopen the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Westside Pioneer photo
       NLBRA, headquartered at the Norris-Penrose Events Center, is an association that offers rodeo competition to youths ages 5 to 18.
       Jackson, 17, from Sturgis, Miss., visited Colorado Springs last week to help commemorate the reopening of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in northern Colorado Springs and to meet with NLBRA officials.
       With the queen's plane due to leave early April 10, Lori Baker of NLBRA media relations asked her if she felt like doing something on the lighter side. Baker had heard about the Saturday “hoedowns” led by Ron Counts and Kit Galvin at the Carriage Stop; Jackson, an accomplished horsewoman (five-time NLBRA competitor and the 2000 pole-bending world champion), was ready for a different sort of challenge.
       “It's a part of the Colorado Springs community I've never experienced,” she said, before heading onto the floor to learn more two-step intricacies. Jackson also spent time signing pictures of herself for - and chatting with - many of the 50-some people on hand.
       Kit Galvin, one of the hoedown callers, said she was a little surprised that the NLBRA queen had not western-danced before, but added that “a lot of people haven't” and that it was an honor to have her there.
       Jackson, a high school senior, started her term as queen after last July's NLBRA Finals Rodeo, and will wear the tiara through this year's. In that role, she travels “quite a bit,” she said, going to such occasions as rodeos, conventions, grand openings and even the presidential inauguration.
       Despite her activities, she is involved in high school activities, including National Honor Society and the math and science team.
       Nevertheless, her occasional absences do not go no unnoticed by others at her high school. “My classmates laugh at me: 'Kelli, you're always gone from school,' ” she said.
       She plans to attend Wheaton College in Illinois next year.

Westside Pioneer article