While many mechanical engineering students will describe their childhood as building with Legos or pulling things apart to see how they work, Mariah McFaul’s childhood was a little bit different. McFaul began riding horses when she was five years old with her mom in the Rocky Mountains. Her future in showmanship began three years later when she started showing horses and got into rodeo. And in 2019, she was crowned Miss Teen Rodeo Wisconsin.
The Miss Teen Rodeo Wisconsin competition took course over three days and judged cowgirls from across the state on modeling, personal interview, horsemanship, speech, appearance and personality, to name a few. McFaul’s reign was originally June 2019-June 2020, but it was extended through summer 2021 due to the pandemic.
As Miss Teen Rodeo Wisconsin, McFaul travels all over the state and attends rodeos throughout the spring and summer. Her duties include helping with sponsor flags, selling 50/50 tickets, helping with kids’ events and clearing cattle in the arena. McFaul especially enjoys the prayer and national anthem that is sung before every performance.
“The most rewarding part of rodeo is the tangible results of all the work we put into making sure we succeed with our animal partners,” said McFaul.
Originally from Jackson, Wyoming, McFaul grew up in Sheridan, Wyoming and eventually moved to Jefferson, Wisconsin. In addition to her passion for horses and rodeo, she discovered her interest engineering when she was in middle school.
“I found my love for engineering in my eighth-grade science class when my teacher, Mrs. McCoullough, told me I had a knack for engineering and should think about being an engineer,” said McFaul.
Much like rodeo, McFaul enjoys viewing the results of dedication and determination that comes with engineering. “My favorite part about engineering is watching all of our hard work on a project pay off.”
Outside of class, McFaul can usually be found spending time with her horses. When she is out of the saddle, she also is an avid skier and scuba diver.