JOSEPH — Destiny Wecks is officially in the saddle as Miss Teen Rodeo Oregon, a title the former Chief Joseph Days co-queen will hold throughout 2022.

Wecks, 18, will be honored during an event at the Enterprise Elks Lodge at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, unofficially kicking off a year of promoting the sport she has come to love.

“Yes, it’s kind of exciting,” Wecks said during a Dec. 30 interview of settling into the role, “but also (at) the same time a little nerve-racking … not exactly sure what the year has to bring and what to expect.”

One thing Wecks does know is that she will be busy. She has a goal of trying to attend a rodeo almost every weekend, and at each one will be doing what she can to help the events she is attending.

“My plan is to go to as many rodeos across the Pacific Northwest as I can,” she said. “I will be doing grand entry with the other rodeo queens, I can help with selling programs, autograph signing during and after, as well as if they need help in the arena moving cattle, setting up barrels, (or running a) sponsor flag. I will be able to speak on radio if other rodeos need it, (or) luncheons for myself promoting tryouts.”

It’s the third of what Wecks hopes eventually will be five rodeo titles. She previously has donned a crown in her rodeo career as Miss Rodeo Oregon Sweetheart and Junior Miss Rodeo Oregon. The next one hopefully on the slate is Miss Rodeo Oregon, and the top hope is Miss Rodeo America, which, if garnered, would make her the first Oregonian to hold each honor. Mackenzie Carr Ivie is the only Oregonian to be named Miss Rodeo America.

Wecks wants to use her position in promotion to help the next generation learn about rodeo and the lifestyle of the West. One of her dreams, she said, is “to really just spread more knowledge about rodeo and the western way of life, (and) to teach other young kids they can do whatever they want if they put their mind to it.

In her blood

That Wecks has reached this level of success in rodeo at such a young age really should not surprise anyone who knows her or her family. Her mother, Vixen Radford-Wecks, is a former CJD queen who judges rodeo pageants and coached Carr Ivie.

“It’s definitely always been in my family, in my blood, in my heart — just growing up around it, the more and more I get to experience and create these friendships,” she said.

But it’s not solely because of that heritage that she is where she is at — it’s her own drive and growing love for rodeo, for the Western way of life.

“It’s definitely made my passion stronger, and my dream become more big and real,” she said.

The passion has even extended beyond anything her mother can comprehend, even though the two have shared countless marathon drives from one rodeo to the next, horse trailer in tow. Radford-Wecks even asked her daughter about it one evening on a long drive.

“I think people think I make her do it, (but) she said, ‘It’s because of the family I have gained. I can be anywhere in (the) state … and I know somebody. It’s my extended family I have gained,’” Radford-Wecks said. “I have no reason to tell her not to. … She is still very grounded in what has been her goal. It has been her goal since she was 6. It didn’t change. It’s gotten stronger.”

The younger Wecks has benefitted from her mom being a pageant judge, as she can gain a behind-the-scenes look at what a judge is gauging.

“She can say, ‘At this pageant, she wore this outfit, (she) said this well.’ I can feed off of that for my daily activities,” Wecks said. “I’ve always said you can’t ever learn too much. Everyone has something to (help) you in, even if you don’t take the advice.”

Opie

Wecks has spent most of her time in rodeo with one horse as her main steed — an American quarter horse named Opie.

“Technically, he’s my mom’s horse, but I might have accidentally stolen him,” she quipped.

When the family purchased the horse at age 4 — he’s now 11 — he was going to take some work.

“He was really lame in his feet. The people didn’t want to spend the money and the time to make him rideable again,” Wecks said. “We took him as a ranch horse in case we needed to do a lesson.”

The horse did have some professional training in his background, and in time, largely with Wecks’ guidance, he became her partner in the arena.

“Hours in the saddle, time on the road, time spent with him. He’d never done any rodeo queen things — packing flags (or) a parade. That was an experience with him.”

Coronation

Wecks is excited to have the coronation and to share it with that extended rodeo family — including people who may not have heard of Wallowa County previously.

“You have coronation in this small remote part of Oregon that is home to me — it’s amazing that I can welcome all these other Oregonians to my hometown to show them what it is to me,” she said.

The event is a fundraiser for the year ahead, and Wecks said she is looking for more sponsorship help. Those who wish to be a sponsor can reach out at destinywecksrodeo@gmail.com.

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