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Detroit native proud to be MSU’s first black rodeo queen

A Stars and Stripes truck cab and woman on a horse
Courtesy of Khalilah Smith

Discovering a passion -- and chasing that passion -- can change your life in profound ways. Just ask Michigan State University student Khalilah Smith of Detroit.

She discovered horses as a young girl, and then she discovered rodeo.

Today, Khalilah Smith is the 2018 Miss Michigan State University Rodeo Queen – the first black rodeo queen in the school's history.

Khalilah Smith joined Stateside to talk to us about her journey in rodeo.

Smith is proud to be the first black rodeo queen at Michigan State University, as it helps reshape the way people see the sport and who can belongs in it, especially for the younger generation.

“I love it, because I know kids can look up to me, especially in places that they don’t see public figures in, places that they don’t think they can participate in,” said Smith.

Listen above to hear how Khalilah Smith got connected to horses, what kinds of competitions happen at a rodeo, and what she has learned since becoming queen.

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