COVID-19 forced many to stay home in 2020 and put their personal goals on hold, but for McComb, Mississippi, resident Jacqueline Denise Ervin, also known as JD, the pandemic afforded her the time to refocus on achieving her goal of becoming Miss Dixie National.
On January 23, Ervin won the title of 2021 Miss Dixie National after competing against other cowgirls from across Mississippi. As the 2021 Miss Dixie National, the 19-year-old college student will serve as the official ambassador of the 56th Annual Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo and fulfill the duties set out by the Miss Rodeo Mississippi Foundation.
Having competed in the pageant two years ago, this year’s competition was JD’s opportunity to come back and win the title.
“With everything slowing down due to Covid, I didn’t have much going on, so it was the perfect time to try again, and thankfully I won,” Ervin said.
To earn the title, Ervin participated in a horsemanship competition, interview and fashion show.The pageant required significant commitment and dedication from contestants. All of the young women competing were required to meet personal qualifications, complete fundraising requirements, and display commitment to fulfilling the duties of the role. JD will serve the rodeo throughout the year as an ambassador The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a fixture of Jackson, Mississippi, since 1965. It is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi River, generating millions of dollars for the state each year. The event showcases the heritage of Mississippi agriculture and rodeo traditions.
JD looks forward to a significant role in honoring this Mississippi tradition as 2021 Miss Dixie National.
“My role will be to promote and preserve the rodeo, which means interacting with people, taking pictures, signing autographs, answering questions, and doing anything I can to promote the rodeo during the week,” Ervin said.
JD’s background in rodeo is part of what led her to compete for the Miss Dixie National title. She is a seasoned rodeo competitor, having competed twice in the National Barrel Horse Association Youth Championships..
“I’ve always enjoyed horses and the rodeo, and have competed in barrel racing, goat tying, and western pleasure,” JD said.
“I remember going up to her during the rodeo to get her autograph,” Ervin said. “I was so scared, but she was so kind. I don’t want anyone to be scared to come up to me and ask for a picture, autograph, or anything.”
Pageant titles run in the family at the Ervin household. JD is a quintuplet with three sisters and one brother. Two of her sisters have also competed in pageants and hold titles.
With the Miss Dixie National title under her belt, JD is contemplating running for Miss Rodeo Mississippi in 2022.
“I want to see what opportunities come up this year and find out where it takes me, and then I’ll decide if Miss Rodeo Mississippi is something I want to try for,” she said.
As far as the rest of her future goes, Ervin has big plans.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a vet,” Ervin said. “I used to love going out and getting in the dirt. It didn’t gross me out, but then I realized, I couldn’t handle any sight of blood.”
Instead of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, she plans to finish her sophomore year at East Mississippi Community College before transferring to Mississippi State University to study Business Administration. “Hopefully, I’ll work here at Farm Bureau one day,” JD said.