December 2019- Jaden Holle
There is nothing quite like Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo. The glam and glitz of Vegas mixed with country flare leaves an ambiance that could never be duplicated. There are bright lights, blue jeans, country music, and cowboy hats peppering every hotel lobby and restaurant in town. There are sequins, there are fringe, and there are 120 contestants vying for that coveted World Champion Gold Buckle.
I arrived into the City of Lights on December 3rd just in time for the WNFR back number ceremony. I was gleaming with pride as each of our Canadian contestants had their names called.
In the bareback: Orin Larsen (5x WNFR qualifier), and Clint Laye (2X qualifier).
In the saddle bronc,: Zeke Thurston (5x), Jake Watson (2X) and WNFR rookie, Dawson Hay.
In the steer wrestling: Scott Guenthner (3X WNFR qualifier).
And in the bull riding Jordan Hansen was back for his second WNFR.
While the contestants geared up for a gruelling ten days, I was busy taking in a different type of competition: the search for Miss Rodeo America 2020.
27 women from across the country represented their states in the pageant. I was able to take in the public speaking, chap luncheon, fashion show and coronation. As I had met so many of these women through my travels in the United States, it was a special time for me as I watched them compete for the most coveted title of all. Congratulations to Jordan Tierney, representing South Dakota, your new Miss Rodeo America!
The rest of the week was jam packed with sponsor visits, autograph signings, and interviews surrounding the rodeo. The whole experience felt like a big family reunion. I was especially excited to see sponsors like CFCW and Dan Post so far away from home!
Every evening, I had the privilege of attending the Gold Card Room and having dinner with many of the legends of our sport. I ate dinner with people like Clyde and Nancy Frost (parents of Lane), joked around with Bob Tallman, and shared a table with several cowboys who competed at the very first NFR. Thank you to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame for hosting me each night.
Next, I headed to the MGM Grand where I helped Miss Rodeo Australia and Miss Indian National Finals Rodeo at the WNFR Viewing Party along with out host, Randy Taylor. We held dance and singing contests and had a great time watching the rodeo each night from the hotel, which generously sponsored my stay here in Vegas. Thank you, MGM Grand!
Finally, my evenings capped off with Gold Buckle presentations to the round winners. I had so much fun getting to know the Montana Silversmiths crew a little bit better as they presented the Montana’s buckles to our round winners each night. Our Canadian athletes and stock did us proud, with a consistent presence on the stage!
10 rounds flew by. I sang with Corb Lund at Live with Lucia, met Amberleigh Snyder at a charity for Wade Sundell, shook hands with countless World Champions, and had my picture displayed every night during opening ceremonies at the Thomas and Mack.
The most special moment, of course, was watching Zeke Thurston take his second World Championship Title, making him both the reigning Canadian and World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider.
Canada’s presence was definitely felt in Vegas. A huge congratulations to each of the contestants and to the Canadian stock contractors for elevating the game over the past ten rounds. We are so proud!
With the end of the National Finals Rodeo also comes the end of my reign as Miss Rodeo Canada. Thank you to each and everyone for the love and support you have shown me throughout the year. To my sponsors, my family, and the dedicated volunteers that make this experience possible-thank you. It is time for new adventures. While this adventure will surely include a lot less hairspray, I know that my role as an ambassador for this sport will never end. So, I will sign off on this blog post the same as any other. See you at another rodeo. Come say hi, introduce yourself, and let’s continue enjoying and supporting the sport we love.