BARSTOW • Miranda Wessel-Allmon has three calendars she uses to keep her schedule intact.

The 15-year-old Barstow Rodeo Queen, charity enthusiast and soon-to-be high school graduate, won the Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Banquet's "People's Choice" award Jan. 28 after hundreds of Barstow voters chose her among a number of impressive contenders.

"She couldn't believe she won," her mom, Shawn Wessel, said. "We had absolutely no idea."
Miranda is the younger sister to three brothers much older than herself. The youngest  granddaughter of former Mayor Mal Wessel, Miranda comes from a line of rodeo enthusiasts, philanthropists, and community activists.

It's hard to go to any community event or charity and not see Miranda wearing either her Rodeo crown or working gloves. She volunteers with Holiday Meals, Barstow Youth Advisory Council and Relay for Life, just to name a few.

"I was born into this," Miranda said. "But they gave me a choice whether or not to continue with my family's charity, High Desert Charities. It was my choice. I kept going with it. It's something I love to do."

Miranda said she loves volunteering and really enjoys being around other people.

"I drag my grandparents and parents around to do things, not the other way around," she said.

The straight-A student has nearly graduated from Central High School and takes classes at Barstow Community College, she said. By the summer she will be only 12 units away from earning her associate's degree. She said being an independent study student really affords her all the time she needs to do her school work and be involved in most anything she likes.

"School is first and foremost," Miranda said.

Miranda is also very involved at her church, First Baptist Church of Barstow, where she sings on choir, teaches children's Bible school, and goes on missions trips.

When asked how she has time for normal teenage stuff she responded, "I go to youth group every Wednesday night."

Miranda appears most in her element when she's on a horse. Dressed in her cowboy boots, sequined shirt, and large, ornamental belt buckle, Miranda didn't break a sweat as her brown mare Tootsie Roll bucked and galloped during an interview Friday afternoon on the horse lot they borrow from a family friend. Miranda said she's been to about 60 rodeo presentations this year — being most proud of riding Grand Nationals Rodeo.

Though she loves being around people, riding is where Miranda said she gets her alone time.
When she grows up, she said she wants to have a career in equine sports massage therapy and one day start a non-profit using horses for therapy.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or klucia@desertdispatch.com