Executive Director, Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce
Her Southern charm is one of the first things you’ll notice, but only seconds later you’ll learn Joni Nash’s rural roots run deep.
Born and raised on a farm in Georgia, Nash grew up showing horses and was involved in the Nation’s original youth leadership organization — 4-H, which some could rightly say set a strong foundation for her title as Miss Rodeo Georgia, which she proudly represented at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
After her reign, Nash spread her wings to Stillwater, Okla. using auctioneering school as an opportunity to help pay her tuition. Not one to take handouts, she made a deal with her dad: he would pay for auctioneering school giving Nash a year to pay back the loan. Within six months, the loan was paid in full and Nash was making her mark as a female auctioneer.
After earning degrees from Oklahoma State University and Southwest Christian University, Nash took on a series of roles focusing on recruitment, development, and volunteer management, and is a certified K-12 special ed teacher. Knowing she wanted a rural life, her career afforded the opportunity to do just that and still keep up with her auctioneering gigs. It also gave her a chance to entertain a few other hobbies: team roping and hunting (just ask her about the kudu wall mount now on display at her ranch).
As an International Roundup Clubs’ Cavalcade queen contest judge in 2013 and again 2014, Nash made necessary connections that led to her now position as Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Since starting with the Chamber, Nash has witnessed the small town literally explode overnight with the opening of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile (and other subsequent businesses that followed). These days it’s not uncommon for national publications like People Magazine or the Associated Press to call for an interview - something that would have been unimaginable in years past.
Nash makes her home at the Coy T. Ranch, affectionately named after her dad and four generations before him, outside Pawhuska. The Coy T is home to her bottle calf Ida Red, horse, Two Guns, dog, a small herd of commercial cattle, and Camp Noni — which she hosts once a year for her nieces and nephews.
She also operates as an independent-contract auctioneer specializing in benefit and non-profit fundraisers, including work with the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Easter Seals, the Mark Harmon Project, Tulsa Boys Home, the National Wild Turkey Federation, International Professional Rodeo Association, Miss Rodeo America, Inc., and the University of Oklahoma men’s and women’s athletics.
Her recent work as the Regional Coordinator for Marsy’s Law, a campaign to strengthen rights for crime victims, achieved a successful victory in Oklahoma resulting in a constitutional amendment.
What stands out about Joni?
While after only moments of meeting Nash, you’re confident in her ever-growing Rolodex and inability to meet a stranger, but what leaves the longest impression is her generous spirit and ability to lead with integrity and character that stands above the rest. It’s no wonder the locals refer to her as the “Queen of Pawhuska.”
Her life-giving presence shines through in everything she does.