BEING crowned Rodeo Queen in 1984 was a life-changing experience for former Warwick woman Terri Gilbert.
Now, 29 years later, Mrs Gilbert (nee Barrett) still has fond memories of Australia's most famous rodeo.
"I was only 17 when I won and it was quite a big life-changing experience," she said.
"I learnt to do a lot public speaking and achieved goals I didn't think were possible before.
"You are much more independent after you have gone and travelled."
As part of her queen title, Mrs Gilbert had to leave full time work and travel all of Australia for 12 months to promote the rodeo.
She also took part in a six-week trip to America and Canada.
Mrs Gilbert said she remembered everything was a little daunting at first.
"I was excited, a young girl from Warwick going over to a country where the number one sport was rodeo," she said.
"I probably didn't have any idea of how big it was going to be when I got over there.
"But I was very lucky because my cousin was a bull riding Australian champion at the time and I pretty much got to travel with him.
"Lots of other Aussies also looked out for me."
Mrs Gilbert was born here and lived in the Rose City until she moved away for work when she was 21 years old.
"I am pretty proud of Warwick, I love everything about it," she said.
"It's the small country atmosphere - I love the rodeo and the friendliness of the people.
"Even though I moved away, if anyone asks me where I am from, I always say Warwick."
Her advice for aspiring rodeo queens is to live life to the fullest.
"You have to be happy in yourself, be confident in what you want to do and enjoy the experience of life," she said.
Mrs Gilbert now lives in Bundaberg with her husband and six children.
She visits Warwick about four or five times a year to see her family.
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