December 2020 - Alicia Erickson
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”
This is truly how the whole month of December felt for me - not just because of Christmas, but because I was able to travel and experience the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Arlington, Texas.
It seems crazy to say, but closing off 2020 the WNFR was my 3rd and last rodeo of the year! Miss Rodeo Canada usually travels to 400+ events during her reign. Of course things looked a little bit different with less fans, masks, social distancing, and precautionary measures. But rodeo is rodeo, and the atmosphere of the most prestigious event of the year did not lessen because of it.
I sat beside my ATB Financial teammate, and 2X World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, Zeke Thurston on the way there, and saw many familiar Canadian stock contractors on our flight as well! As soon as wheels hit the ground, I was off and running to my first event. Randy Taylor who usually hosts the viewing party at the MGM GRAND, picked me up and we headed to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Fundraiser Gala.
The next day I had to get a Covid test to receive my accreditation for the rodeo, and never would I have thought I would have to experience something like that! I explored the Globe Life Field grounds with Miss Rodeo America, and we found my DoppleWrangler! That evening I attended the Welcoming Ceremony for the contestants, and showed my support for the five Canadians we had competing (TRH - Kolton Schmidt, TRH - Levi Simpson, SB - Zeke Thurston, BB - Orin Larsen, SW - Curtis Cassidy).
Every morning for two weeks I was up at 5:30 AM, helping with mutton bustin’s, junior rodeos, meeting up with fellow Canadians, carrying flags on horseback, cheering our Canadians on at the rodeo, and being on stage for the buckle presentations. They were still able to hold Cowboy Christmas where I had autograph signings at the Montana Silversmiths booth. I didn’t hit the pillow until 2:00 AM each night, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
I was able to see 2015 MRC, Katy Lucas’, place of work at the Cowboy Channel, where I had two separate interviews. I toured the famous Ft. Worth Stockyards, sang some Hank Williams JR. on Live with Lucia, watched every performance of the WNFR, experienced the inaugural WNFR Breakaway, and sang under the lights of Globe Life Field.
The connections that I have made, and the friendships that were created are something that I will treasure for a lifetime. The best part of it all is that I carry on this title for another year, and not a single moment is going to be taken for granted.
As soon as I got back to Canada, I went straight to work on an article for Canadian Cowboy Magazine that I can’t wait to share with you all. Make sure you keep an eye out for the next edition.
In closing this year, I am very thankful to have been Miss Rodeo Canada 2020, this year was not a burden to me - but a blessing. Bring on the challenges 2021, when I start something I see it through to the end!
Alicia Erickson, Miss Rodeo Canada 2020/2021