A week had passed before she had the energy to go back down to the arena.
She needed to ride and find a way to put it all behind her.
When Alexis Lynn Brown took the reins of her horse, it broke into a gallop. It was a while before she returned to the stables with an answer.
“I wondered ‘Can I do this?’ and when I got back my trainer asked me if I was ready,” Brown, 22, says. “It was a hard decision, but I knew I had support from my family and friends.”
After witnessing the auto accident that claimed the life of one of her best friends, Kyle MacDonald, Brown had to decide if she would withdraw from the upcoming Cattle Call Rodeo Queen competition.
“I knew Kyle would be kicking my butt up and down Main Street if I didn’t go through with it,” she adds, a smile breaking through the painful memory.
Though 2007 would be the hardest year for her on a personal level, it would also be her year of triumph. Brown went on to win the title of Cattle Call Rodeo Queen, cementing her name in the town history she has dedicated her professional career to promote.
“There’s been times I wanted to leave, but growing up being close to family and having friends that were like family has kept me here,” Brown says. “I’ve always wanted to be involved with public relations and I want to do that for the Brawley community.”
Brown didn’t take her role lightly. She held the title of first princess for the Cattle Call Rodeo Queen the year before and knew it was going to be tough competition.
“When you’ve held a title before, the judges know that. They are harder on you,” Brown admits.
Finally claiming the title of Cattle Call Rodeo Queen was a surreal moment for her.
“I didn’t get into showmanship as a little girl. I remember watching the rodeo queen charge through the arena, that giant American flag waving … I knew I wanted to be like her,” she says.
But as a self-proclaimed “guy’s girl,” Brown wasn’t used to flashy outfits and the pageantry required of the queen competition. Trail riding was her private therapy, taking her horse out for rides outside the city, far from the glitz and glamour that’s needed to win.
Brown recalls always spending her free time during her childhood outdoors. She attended Mulberry School and Brawley Christian Academy before she went from an eight-student classroom to the packed halls of Brawley Union High School.
“I was never into sports. I was riding horses, shooting, fishing and swimming in the canals,” Brown says.
Her father David Brown and her mother Queda Brown both worked for John Benson Farms. She remembers being raised “old school” where notes left on the television set on Saturday mornings read: “No TV. Go outside.”
She went mud bogging with her father and learned to love the site of agriculture fields around the Valley.
“My parents are two of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. I appreciate that they worked so hard to give me what I have,” Brown says.
As the youngest of six daughters, even at the local high school Brown discovered her family’s roots run deep in Brawley.
“It makes for a small dating pool,” she jokes.