Meet Maycn, Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho, whose love for riding horses has been a lifelong passion and commitment. Kids with a passion are less likely to drink underage.

A day – actually, every day — in the life of Maycn McCullough revolves around horses, horses, horses. And that’s just how this Idaho teen likes it.

In January, Maycn was crowned Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho, an honor she’s basically been working towards since she was three; that’s when she first sat on a horse and decided she never wanted to get down. She’s also already served as Miss Junior Rodeo Idaho 2017 and Miss Little Bit Rodeo Idaho 2014.

Maycn won the Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho crown after a four-day competition that included a personality interview, an interview that tested her horse science and rodeo knowledge, a speech contest, a modeling portion, and riding demonstrations where she showed off her technical abilities.

“It’s not just about showing up and looking pretty,” says Maycn. “It’s about being knowledgeable about rodeo and being a good horsewoman. Going through the contest is a lot of work.”

Winning the title comes with many opportunities to improve a teen’s leadership and public speaking skills—and, of course, ride horses.

“It’s a year-long commitment of doing appearances, going to rodeos, and riding,” explains Maycn. “At rodeos, you’ll carry flags around the arena, push cows [out of the arena], whatever they ask you to do—you just always need to be prepared. Whether you’re going to parades or being interviewed on TV, you have to be a well-rounded person who’s passionate about rodeo and passionate about horses and be able to represent the sport in a professional manner.”

In Idaho, says Maycn, there’s a rodeo almost every weekend during the summer, and she travels to work many of them as Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho. She’ll also participate in events like DrugFree Idaho’s Red Ribbon Week rally, held on the capitol steps each year to encourage students to live a drug-free life.

“We talk about how rodeo is our natural high, and that it’s a prime example of making good decisions and following your passion,” she said.

So how does one gain the skills to be Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho? For Maycn, it’s been a lifelong love of and commitment to horses and rodeo.

“My parents say I came out of the womb wanting to be on a horse,” she says. “I started riding at age three, I started rodeo queening when I was seven. From the moment I got on a horse, the rest was history.”

She spends almost every free moment when she’s not at school with her two horses, Sailor and Whiz, or helping with the family’s other three. Before school, she’s up extra early to feed them; after school, you’ll find her riding and training with one or both of her horses, cleaning stalls, or heading to Marsing to work with her horse trainer.

“It’s hard to put a time estimate on it, but I definitely put in extra hours and work every day,” laughs Maycn.

All this work has earned Maycn spots in national and Western rodeo and reigned cow horse competitions. (Reined cow horse competition has its roots in cattle ranching, and the events are very technical in nature, “cutting” cattle from herds and driving them in particular patterns.)

“During show seasons when I didn’t have a queen title, I was competing almost every weekend or every other weekend, and that deals with traveling, hauling my horse, and showing everywhere from Washington to Texas,” Maycn says.

Maycn also serves on the horse judging team for her school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) club, for which she attends practice once or twice a week, and she’s been integral in a recent push to attract more youth competitors to the Idaho Reined Cowhorse Association.

To accomplish what she does, Maycn gives her parents major props for helping make her dreams happen over the years. And, too, she credits her horses.

“I think of it like they’re my kids who do really important jobs for me, so I find my inner motivation because they need me and I need them,” explains Maycn. “Of course, there’s days when I’m sick and it’s snowing, and I think ‘I don’t want to go out there’ but of course I do it. Having them adds another level of being responsible for your actions.”

She adds that the relationships she’s made from rodeoing and queening have made a huge impact on her and given her the confidence and support necessary to succeed.

“I’ve made so many lifelong friends through this, coaches and other people who have become my family. I really credit who I am today to the horses I’ve been on and the people I’ve met on this journey. It’s made me who I am.”

Maycn says many of her friends are older than her, including the current Miss Rodeo Idaho, Nicole Jordan.

“I look up to her so much, and I always strive to be friends with people I look up to,” shares Maycn. “I have a lot of friends my age, too, who are into rodeoing or are in the high school rodeo or who want to start queening, and they look to me as a role model—and I lean on them to help me be a better person, also.”

Some days, Maycn says, she has so many irons in the fire that it seems hard to slow down.

“But at the end of the day, I feel so grateful that I’m busy, and I couldn’t picture my life being any other way.”

“Being around people who push you to be your best makes your confidence skyrocket—because you know you’re growing as a person and growing in many different aspects of your life.”