By Scott Prater
Jessica Greene and Dayna Jenkins toured Schriever Air Force Base June 22, and from their experience, this hardly seemed like a run-of-the-mill tour.
Greene, the 2010 Girl of the West, and Jenkins, Aide to the Girl of the West, visited the operations floors at the 6th Space Operations Squadron, 2nd SOPS and 3rd SOPS.
There, the girls learned how Schriever Airmen and civilians perform their Air Force mission, toured the areas where the vital work of the base occurs on a daily basis and met hundreds during their day-long experience.
Along the way, Ms. Greene and Ms. Jenkins greeted everyone they saw, gave out rodeo brochures and encouraged people to attend the event.
The Girl of the West and her aide are ambassadors for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, and they’re the event’s primary promoters.
In between stops at 2nd SOPS and 3rd SOPS, they delivered a presentation to a crowd about what actually happens at the rodeo, how it’s a four-night event, and how all of its proceeds go directly to supporting local military communities.
The tour proved beneficial to the pair, who learned how their cell phones, navigational aides and even their bank accounts are dependent on the Global Positioning Satellites controlled here at Schriever. Later, they learned how the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center here helps defend our air space.
“The tours we get to go on are really amazing,” said Ms. Greene, who will make 128 appearances during her 10-week summer as Girl of the West. “They really give us an insight as to what the military actually does here in Colorado Springs.”
Greene and Jenkins even worked during lunch. After catching a quick bite, they once again delivered their presentation. Then, they signed autographs and met individually with Airmen, where they explained how rodeo athletes compete in categories, such as roping, bare-back and bull riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling.
They also explained how Schriever is a major partner in the rodeo. Base personnel volunteer time and service to ensure the smooth operation of the event, its members provide a multitude of spectators and the base benefits from rodeo proceeds.
It’s not easy becoming Girl of the West.
Young women who are interested must display a superior level of horsemanship, ace an interview in front of a panel of judges and deliver a speech in front of former Girls of the West for the right to be the Aide to the Girl of the West. The way the program is set up, this year’s Aide then ascends to the Girl of the West title for the following year. So Ms. Jenkins will be the 2011 Girl of the West.
This year, she’ll accompany Ms. Greene to all appearances and promote the rodeo along with her, gaining confidence, valuable knowledge and experience along the way.
The 70th annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo begins July 14 and runs through July 17 at the Norris-Penrose Events Center in Southwest Colorado Springs.