Dixie Tabb has been riding horses since before she could walk. She has been competing on horseback by herself since she was two years old, won her first crown title at three years old, and, just a few weeks ago, she was crowned the 2020/2021 Miss Texas Junior High School Rodeo Princess.
“I was so excited [to win], I had worked so hard, and to hear my name called out, I knew it had all paid off,” Tabb said.
The now 14-year-old Rivercrest High School freshman is firmly following in the footsteps of her mother, older sister, as well as paving the way for her younger sister in the rodeo queen competitions.
“I barrel raced when I was younger, and also competed in the queen competitions. So when Dixie’s older sister Maggie started to compete, the whole thing just unexpectedly grew for us,” said Tabb’s mother, Dee Tabb.
Dee said that between her two oldest daughters, they have held over a dozen queen and princess titles over several rodeo associations and states.
“When we decided to do the competitions, it was all in or nothing,” Dee said, with a laugh. “These aren’t like normal beauty pageants — the girls have to hold themselves to a high standard in many categories and have proven horsemanship skills.”
For her middle daughter Dixie, she had no worries she could achieve the crown after finishing as runner-up last year.
When Tabb was four years old, she sustained a serious head injury after a horse (the colt was unknown to the family) struck her in the head. The accident sent her to the hospital, where she spent six days in a coma.
“Dixie had to relearn everything. From walking, talking, and chewing her food, she was sent right back to square one,” Dee said. “But, she was determined to get back to who she was. In 14 days from waking up, she was walking. Just over a year after the accident, she was right back where she wanted to be — on the back of a horse.”
Although Tabb wanted to get straight back to what she loved, her family thought it was best she take her time to heal, and it paid off.
“By the grace of God,” Dee said of her daughter’s recovery.
And, had it not been from her cowgirl spirit and healing, Tabb said it only enhances her ability in the rodeo queen competition to connect with competitors, judges, and the public.
Not only did she win the crown at the recent State titles, but she also walked away with the Reserve State Title in the Ribbon Roping with partner Clayton Jones from Bonham.
Jones and Tabb ended the competition by taking fifth place in the first round, eighth place in the second round, and first place in the short-go with a 6.48-second run to secure the buckle win.
When it comes to inspiring other young cowgirl’s to take the leap and try their hand at the Princess and Queen competitions, Tabb said, “Never give up on your goals or dreams even if it takes multiple tries. It’s not a loss, it’s a lesson.”
Dee said it was hard work and, as a family, she said they have invested in all that it takes for Dixie and her sisters to put their best efforts forward during each competition. Some of the work included preparing custom clothes to training under former PRCA Miss Rodeo Texas and Miss Rodeo America 2017 Lisa Lucia (nee Lageschaar), who coincidentally was Tabb’s first queen when she won her first title at three years old.
“Competing for a rodeo queen or princess title can help you build a great future for yourself. It gives you practice interviewing for jobs, being in the public, and public speaking.” said Tabb. “I love interacting with kids while being a rodeo queen. I plan to be a child physical therapist when I grow up and utilize horses with my therapy.”
Helping to secure her state title as Miss Texas Junior High School Rodeo Princess, Tabb won the following categories — speech, modeling, horsemanship, high ticket sales, photogenic, impromptu speech, and appearance.
Although she has just entered high school, she’s already planning to run for Texas high school rodeo queen in a couple of years and possibly a national crown soon after.