WCU Dental Hygiene Student Has a ‘Lifetime Experience’ in 2024 Rose Parade 

West Coast University student Peyton C. had the opportunity to ride in the Rose Parade for the fourth time as part of the Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team’s equestrian group. 

“I’ve been on the team on and off since 2017,” she said. “I’m not currently on the team because I’m focusing on school, but they reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be part of the Parade. I’m so lucky to have been able to do it four times; it’s really fun.”  

Even with the overnight camping session along the 210 freeway in Pasadena, followed by an early morning wake-up call at 4 a.m. to prepare for the event, Peyton describes being in the New Year celebration as a “lifetime experience.”  

“A lot of work goes into being in the parade, but it’s totally worth it. I enjoy being there with the team, preparing, glittering the hooves, it’s the small details that bring the bigger picture together,” she shared.   

Inspired by her mother, who grew up riding horses, Peyton found her passion to do the same at the young age of 12. She joined the Norco Cowgirls Drill Team in high school and, over the years, has participated in the Norco Light Parade, Norco Labor Day Parade, and Yucaipa Christmas Parade. She’s also done several local rodeos with the team across Norco, San Bernardino, and Industry Hills.  

Around the time she found her groove with the team, she also discovered a passion for dental hygiene when she stumbled upon the field during a high school research project.   

“I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare, and when I was researching dental hygiene, it felt like the perfect fit,” she said. “After high school, I ended up enrolling in a dental assisting program to get some experience and make sure it was the right field for me.”  

The dental assisting program pushed Peyton to fall even more in love with the field, prompting her to eventually enroll in West Coast University’s Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program.  

“I’ve really found my passion,” she said. “Just talking with patients and helping them better their oral health and their smile, it brings them so much more confidence. I love it”  

Like the tight friendships she formed with the Norco Cowgirls, Peyton has built strong relationships with her cohort and professors at WCU-Orange County.  

“The professors are all super approachable, and I have a really good friend group that I’ve established since my literal day one at West Coast,” she said. “We study together practically every single day, so I really lean on them a lot.”  

Once she graduates, Peyton is looking forward to officially rejoining the Norco Cowgirls while also gaining more experience as a dental hygienist.  

“I feel like I’m so lucky to have two great things going on in my life right now,” she said. “I found what I really want to do, and I just want to keep growing and becoming a better professional.”  

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.