New York photographer Gabriela Herman got a taste of vibrant Western culture when she was sent on assignment to photograph rodeo queens. Herman took three trips out West to capture the behind-the-scenes lives of rodeo culture’s spokeswomen.

Herman’s first trip took her to Corvallis, Ore., where she met up with Miss Rodeo Oregon 2013 Nicole Schrock. They toured Schrock’s ranch, hometown, and the country fair. 

Herman’s second trip started in Portland, Ore., where she and Schrock were joined by five other rodeo queens. The crew eventually ended up at the Pendleton Round-Up, an event that brings in 50,000 fans, doubling the town’s population. 

Las Vegas, Nev., was the destination of Herman’s last trip, where she took in the Miss Rodeo America pageant. 

From hair rollers and horses to rodeos and pageants, Herman’s photographs capture the many dimensions of rodeo queen life: the camaraderie between the young women during their off-time from queenly duties, the incredible amount of preparation and pageantry involved in rodeo royalty life, and the commitment to the Western Way that drives these young women to represent the culture they live and love. 

To see more of Herman’s rodeo queen photography, go to

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