October 2019- Jaden Holle
From holding a koala, to co-hosting a radio show, to carrying our nations flag at the 46th edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo, this past month has been full of excitement and heart-stopping moments.
As a media lover, any time I get to go into the radio station it is a real treat. This month, I went twice! Not only did I record a voice commercial (you may have heard me talking about the CFR), I also had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with A.J. Keller from 840 CFCW. I reported on the weather, gave away some rodeo tickets, and let people know some interesting facts about the season leaders going into the finals. Thank you to CFCW, Miss Rodeo Canada’s longest running sponsor, for giving me this opportunity.
Also this month, I was able to participate in the grand re-opening of the Medicine Hat Hudson’s Bay after their store underwent renovations for several months. I felt like “Where’s Waldo” in my gorgeous Hudson’s Bay jacket designed and created by Carol Mason amongst all of the other beautiful HBC striped products. It was a fun afternoon visiting with shoppers and taking pictures in the photo booth set up for the afternoon.
Next, I headed to the land down under where I kissed kangaroos and cuddled koalas for one week straight! I landed in Brisbane, where Miss Rodeo America, Taylor McNair, and Miss Rodeo Australia, Kate Taylor soon met me. While it was both my and Taylor’s first time meeting Kate, the three of us shared an instant bond. We quickly realized all three of us have “Taylor” somewhere in our name (my middle name), and we are the first trio in years to all be brunette. However, we had far more in common than simply our names and hair colour. The love we each shared for rodeo was enough to make us feel like we had known one another for years. We enjoyed finding out the differences between our associations (in Australia, tie-down roping is called rope and tie), saddles don’t have horns, and even though we all speak English, words like “poddy, buck jumpers, and muster” had to be translated. (And this was just rodeo terminology!) In just one week I was able to see the Sunshine Coast, Killarney, and Warwick, home of the Warwick Rodeo National Championship and Gold Cup Campdraft. Campdrafting was different than anything I had ever witnessed. I laughed as we compared it to barrel racing while chasing a cow! I was very impressed with the horsemanship of the athletes as they manoeuvred the cattle around pegs and through a gate in an event that combines elements of cutting, working cow horse and penning. If you have never witnessed campdrafting, make sure to look it up online.
Even though I was across the globe in Australia, I felt right at home as I found Calgary Stampede posters, a picture of Brock Radford in a local store, and heard stories of Australian bareback rider Doug Flanigan, Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of famer and Calgary Stampede Champion who now lives in Calgary. Doug, your country is proud of you and I hope our paths cross some day.
Parrots, waterfalls and an abundance of afternoon teas will forever pepper my memories of Australia. However, my proudest moment will always be carrying our beautiful red and white flag next to my new sisters and their flags in honour of our three countries, associations, and the sport that extends far beyond borders, accents, and terminology. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made this trip possible, especially the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society, the Miss Rodeo Australia organization, Roslyn, Allan and Zack Flood, Robynne Yarwood, Tamara Evans and Natalie Flecker. And of course, my dearest Miss Rodeo Australia. This is a trip I will never forget.
Back in Canada, I was reunited with Taylor McNair, Miss Rodeo America. We spent the weekend in Banff and celebrated her birthday in the mountains before heading to Red Deer for the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
It was so exciting for me to watch the top 12 contestants in each event compete for a Canadian title after having travelled alongside them all season.
Equally exciting, was the Miss Rodeo Canada competition.
This year, we had five contestants vying for Miss Rodeo Canada 2020. Haley Schlenker-Medicine Hat Stampede Queen, Jessica Craig-Miss Rodeo Hanna, Brittany Doyle-Moose Mountain Pro Rodeo Queen, Alicia Erickson-Ponoka Stampede Queen, and Alisa Brace-Miss Rodeo Sundre.
The ladies were judged on horsemanship, public speaking, a written test, personal interviews and modelling. After a close competition, Alicia Erickson was crowned Miss Rodeo Canada 2020. Congratulations to Alicia and all of the contestants. It takes so much courage to put your name in the hat, let alone the hours of preparation and dedication that goes into preparing for the competition. I am so proud of each of you.
Alicia Erickson will take over the title after the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December and I know she will do a wonderful job representing this association.
In rodeo news, it was a dramatic week.
World Champion Zeke Thurston was finally able to add a Canadian championship to his repertoire, also breaking the record in season earnings with a total of $110 785.
Shane Hanchey shyly defeated Haven Meged as the 2019 Canadian tie-down roping champion.
Two time world champion Matt Sherwood (50) and his 22 year old partner Hunter Koch smoked their opponents as the 2019 Team Roping Champions. With three go-round wins and a $27 000 lead over their nearest rivals, this pair proved that age is no obstacle.
The race was close between Orin Larsen and 2018 champ, Richmond Champion. With a determining 89.5 ride on Championship Sunday, Orin Larsen was named your 2019 Canadian Bareback Champion.
Brand new father (less than a week!) Scott Guenthner managed to narrowly defeat his opponents and defend his title. 2X Canadian Champion doesn’t have a bad ring to it!
First time CFR qualifier Brooke Wills and her mare, Famey took home two round-wins and the championship title, after a difficult start to the week.
Both Edgar Durazo and Jordan Hansen rode 6/6 bulls. It was a close fight, but in the end Edgar came out as the first ever Mexican to not only qualify for the CFR, but win a Canadian Bull Riding Champion.
For me, it was a huge privilege to carry the Canadian flag each night among the very best in our sport.
I will never forget coming into the arena on the opening night of the CFR, looking out on the 2019 CFR qualifiers standing in the dirt, the shadow of the flag the only movement in the arena. It is one of those surreal moments that will stick with me for a lifetime.
So there it is, another Canadian Finals Rodeo in the books! It has been an absolute honour. While it is not quite time for me to say good-bye, I did want to take a moment to thank the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association for the allowing me to carry the flag as your representative this past week and this past year. I am forever grateful.
See you at the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals!