- Alma School District
Alma fifth grade teacher, Musick, shares passion for rodeo, teaching 4/6/22
Alma fifth grade teacher, Musick, shares passion for rodeo, teaching
By Kevin Taylor
Molly Musick doesn’t remember much about her third birthday. But she’s pretty sure it probably involved a horse.
For Musick, saddles and bridles came before learning the alphabet, Barney & Friends, and those late 1990s whimsical Baby Einstein videos.
Molly Musick was riding a horse.
“I was riding a horse before I couldn’t remember riding a horse,” Musick said.
It’s Sunday night, half an hour past eight, and the second-year Alma Intermediate School teacher is scurrying about in preparation for the following week. While some of her co-workers are relaxing, as most people do on Sunday nights, Musick never stopped running.
Saturday mornings aren’t for coffee and brunch; it’s for going places to promote rodeos.
Last November, Musick was crowned Miss Arkansas Rodeo Queen for 2022.
“You represent the state of Arkansas, and then you also represent your association,” Musick explained. “I represent the professional rodeo cowboys association.”
Then, the schedule gets busy.
“I get to travel across the United States representing and promoting the western way of life in rodeo,” she said. “I’ve been doing that since (January).”
“We love her, and the kids love her,” Alma Intermediate School principal Kim Loughridge said. “She’s living a whole alternative life, basically, than most teachers, which is pretty cool - she’s gone most weekends.”
The Miss Arkansas Rodeo Queen title comes with plenty of perks, including scholarship money, and a nostalgic trip to her native Utah. A 2016 graduate of Ozark High School, Musick was born in Spanish Fork, Utah, to Randy and Lauri Musick.
The family moved to Arkansas when Musick was a fifth-grader.
“This is crazy,” Musick said. “We moved to Arkansas, and then we moved to Washington state for a little bit, and then back to Arkansas. That is like … cultures everywhere.”
And, as was the case with Arkansas, sentences that included words like "y’all."
“I feel like the first move here was different because of the accents; I couldn’t understand people,” Musick said. “But people all over are really caring, so you get to see how people really are.”
Back in 2009, long before she earned her teaching degree from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Musick looked on with envy as older sister Micki was crowned Arkansas Rodeo Queen. It’s believed the duo is now the third set of sisters to win and be crowned Miss Arkansas Rodeo Queen.
“It’s definitely a family thing,” Musick said. “My sister (Micki), when she was in high school, she had a teacher push her and tell her she would be great at it. She got into it and loved it. She was Miss Arkansas Rodeo Queen in 2009, so I kind of followed along with it.
“It’s definitely a family thing.”
To become a rodeo queen isn’t much different from those who compete in all types of beauty pageants.
“It’s similar to a beauty pageant,” Musick said. “We do modeling, interviews, we give speeches, but we’re tested on knowledge. We have to know rodeo science, horse science, and current events.”
The process is lengthy. So is the travel.
This summer, Musick will cross-cross the western United States, with rodeo stops in, among other places, Cheyenne, Las Vegas, and the prestigious Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo in Moab, Utah.
“I have every weekend booked out,” Musick said. “I’ll be going to Vegas to compete in Miss Rodeo America.”
Musick competes in ranch riding and reining within the WestArk Horse Show Association. She also enjoys raising Pembroke Welsh Corgis and a variety of waterfowl. Her previous titles include the Miss Rodeo NFC (North Franklin County), Arkansas State Fair Rodeo Queen, and Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks.
As for teaching, Musick said she was inspired by her former Ozark history teacher.
“He really helped me become the person I am today,” Musick said. “Just seeing how much he impacted me, I hope I can give back to someone else.
“I feel like it’s (teaching) always been in the back of my head.”
Musick received her bachelor's degree in middle childhood education and did her student teaching in Ozark.
“I did eighth grade English, so that’s a lot different than fifth grade,” she said.
“She’s a great leader,” Loughridge added. “Most people are 4H certified either in math and science or language and social studies. Well, she has math and literacy. She’s a great team member and is always responsible.”