August 2021 - Alicia Erickson
Fitting a “full” season of Canadian rodeos into 2.5 months has everyone feeling some sort of way, but I think the mutual feeling amongst most is appreciative.
I left off writing to you half-way through the Strathmore Stampede, and I finished that rodeo off with a bang! I saw Piper Yule ride her trick horse into the arena to carry the Canadian flag with just a war bridle on, and it peaked my interest. The next thing I knew, I was riding her palomino steed “Spanky” into the arena bareback, with a war bridle, to sing the Canadian Anthem. He was a gentleman of course, and I sure felt a sense of western pride leading the running flags out of the arena on a rainy Championship Monday.
Sundre was my next stop, and it sure was different to experience this rodeo in August instead of the regular June dates. The last thought on anyones mind after coming together to plan an event after a year hiatus would be thinking about the earlier sunset, and daylight being a major priority of all competitors swinging a rope or dogging a steer… but the committee pulled together to fix this issue promptly! I always find it interesting to see the challenges that present themselves at each rodeo I attend, and how quickly our community can adapt to make things work.
After the afternoon perf on Saturday, I quickly drove my Innisfail Chrysler RAM truck to High River for the evening performance of Guy Weadick Days Rodeo. This one is unique, because they take you back in time to where the chutes were made of wood, and the (C5) horses really bucked. I enjoyed getting to dress up for the occasion, and was honoured to wear a traditional outfit put together by Lenore McLean, a friend of the late Flores LaDue.
I was even more honoured to have the opportunity to mount her horse, and sit in Flores LaDues saddle, plated with the words “World Champion Lady Fancy Roper, Retired Undefeated”. We all have goals, and we all have heroes, but my heroes will always be Cowgirls. It even made it more of a cowboys rodeo when my anthem singing horse tried her hand at throwing me in the dirt, but was unsuccessful at her attempt. Let’s just say that some of the athletes now refer to me as the “queen who bronc rides”.
Back to Sundre I went to finish the Sunday performance, and help present the 2021 champions their buckles.
Now this next one had to be my furthest drive so far, 9 hours north to La Crete Field of Dreams Rodeo. I always heard from the contestants that this rodeo is amazing, but my attendance as their first EVER queen confirmed the rumours!
The committee is small but mighty, and treat all who come to their rodeo with the utmost respect. They are the first awake in the morning, watering contestants horses, making breakfast for all of the athletes/personnel, and making sure everything is set for their rodeo to go off without a hitch. Even late after their evening performance on the Wednesday, they started a fire, brought out the deep fryers, and fed everyone a feast made for a King. This will be a rodeo I remember for a life-time, especially after driving all night to make it in time for the Thursday afternoon perf of the Stavely Pro Rodeo!
(When you see me in the future, please ask me the story behind the La Crete Field of Dreams Rodeo, as I would love to share it with you!)
Stavely was also a rodeo that had to accommodate and change their format immensely to make sure they could have their rodeo regardless of the government restrictions at the time! They built a brand new outdoor arena to make things work in 2021, after being known as the first Indoor Pro Rodeo in Canada. I think they will go back to being indoors to hold true to their heritage, but I was sure glad that they made things work to hold their 2021 rodeo!
After two performances of Stavely, I had a trip above the clouds to hit the Dawson Creek Exhibition & Stampede in beautiful British Columbia. First class rodeo athletes make the trip past the Old Alaskan Hi Way to get there, and the scenery is so beautiful along the way. I had a lot of fun participating in fundraisers for charity, where I met Dan MacLeod, with Longhorn Oilfield Services who is a great supporter of our industry, and has now signed on as a sponsor of the Miss Rodeo Canada Organization. Thank you Dawson Creek, for flying me out to experience your rodeo, many MRC’s talk about it as on of their favourites for years to come. I however, will remember it as the rodeo where I strategically placed 20 bobby pins in my hat, and duct taped the front of my hat to my forehead to make sure it didn't fall off in the strong gusts of wind/dust during the rodeo!
I was home for just shy of a week before hitting the road back to Cranbrook B.C. It was a last minute trip, but so worthwhile, as they haven’t had a Miss Rodeo Canada since Christa Lawrence in 2005. It was also their 2nd rodeo in 34 years where they’ve had rain, which was much needed for the area, but I can’t say that the rodeo athletes were too happy about it. Good pictures were taken, horses were “mud broke”and laughs were had as the arena turned into a soup hole after the Friday performance.
My last rodeo in August was the Okotoks Pro Rodeo at the Millarville Race Track, where I decided to “cowgirl up” and become a crowd pleaser competing in the Wild Pony Racing. Miss Ponoka Stampede (Naomi Akkermans), past MPS (Ashley Akkermans), and myself teamed up to dominate a ride, and create some laughs amongst rodeo fans. I tend to get a bit competitive when a challenge presents itself, and you can bet I rode that pony half-way across the arena… until she came to a full stop and head toss that resulted in the crowd going wild, but we will leave the rest of that story for another day.
Every Monday you can see our Weekend Rodeo Results via Facebook or Instagram on the Miss Rodeo Canada page, from the Canadian Professional Rodeos, along with results of our local athletes placing at the PRCA rodeos as well. If you prefer listening to a report, Tim Ellis leads the RAM Rodeo Report on 910 CFCW. Our great sponsor, Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine also has a great Pro Rodeo Canada Insider portion in each issue, where you can read up on stories of the season.
See you down the road in September, we have 9 CPRA season rodeos left!
- Alicia Erickson, Miss Rodeo Canada 20/21