September 2021 - Alicia Erickson
September is a big month for rodeo, its the end of the CPRA/PRCA season, and a nail-biting time for all athletes trying to make season finals.
Along with this stress, its Murphy’s Law that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”, and so it did - in some sorta way. New government restrictions made it almost impossible to host indoor rodeos, or large gatherings at all, which unfortunately meant cancelling 3 out of the 4 last Pro rodeos of the season. If you were just out of the top 12, you had to make the Hanna Pro Rodeo (held at Hand Hills) count. But September started out great, and let me tell you why!
I rolled into the Daines Ranch with “Pearl” - my Innisfail RAM truck, and she was just as excited as
me to go to our local town. If you’re familiar with this event, it ALWAYS rains at the original date in June, but we had beautiful weather for the entire long weekend! I’ve rode many different horses this year, but nothing beats having your own horse to bomb around on during a rodeo, so I trailered in my bay mare Shaggy. We had incredible attendance, C5 Rodeo stock, and some great announcers including Tim Ellis who’s voice is more than familiar from the RAM Rodeo Report on 840 CFCW. One thing that I absolutely love that’s different from any other rodeo I’ve been to is that they give a bouquet of flowers to the fast time of the barrel racing each performance. Of course anytime that Piper Yule is contracted at the same rodeo as myself, we scheme something up for the crowd. This time I was part of their act, riding her palomino steed Spanky, bareback, jumping over a flaming hoop. Thank you to the Daines family, C5 Rodeo, and Grant family, for your hospitality, hard work, and professionalism throughout this successful event.
The Ponoka Stampede is where I call my “second home”, and I think our whole rodeo community, was pretty down when they had to cancel their rodeo for the second year in a row. But - they always make lemons turn to lemonade, and decided to host a WPCA Wild West Chuckwagon Championship late in the season. Ponoka is always very proud of their athletes, and have a couple signs around the grounds that say “Proud to be the Home of Miss Rodeo Canada” with their queens names underneath who have went on to be MRC. I was shocked to see my name up up twice, as they wanted to acknowledge my two year reign. Throughout the evening I had the chance to visit the ATB Financial suite, and cheered on the chucks with #TeamATB.
Taber is mostly known for its corn and Rogers sugar plant, but I think they will soon be known for their indoor rodeo - which was brought back this year by Legend Rodeo Stock after a small hiatus. The Taber Double Down Pro Rodeo ran from September 9th-12th where they held 4 performances that brought the community together, and the western spirit came alive! I know this sounds strange, but one of my favourite things about rodeos, is the slack. You really see the cowboy camaraderie amongst contestants, and you can almost bet you’ll see over a dozen Tim Hortons coffees in-hand during early morning slacks - there’s just something about the general atmosphere. Thank you to Tami-Jo Brewin for inviting me to your inaugural event.
There are certain traits that this next rodeo I’m going to tell you about is famously known for, but you
just have to experience it first-hand to understand why it’s a favourite for so many. The Pendleton Round-Up had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and I was so excited to have the opportunity to go as Miss Rodeo Canada. There were so many Canadians that made the trip to the lush grass rodeo arena, and I had a great time representing them all. They keep it “old school” if you will, there are no sponsor banners in the arena, wooden chutes, a long score, and the green mile! I chased stock out during the slack, reins in one hand, camera in the other - filming all of our Canucks to report back on social media. I LOVED sitting on the grass during the rodeo, in the midst of bucking horses, and bulls - which really tests how alert you are, we all had to run out of the way a couple of times! I was more than proud of our competitors who are always pulling for each other, and representing the red and white banner with pride. Jeremy Buhler, and his American header (Rhen Richard) took home the win in the Team Roping, which bumped Buhler up into the top 15 in the world.
If there is one thing I’ve learnt in my two year reign, its to take advantage of the opportunities granted to you, and live in the present, because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So off to South Dakota I went to visit my Miss Rodeo America for a couple of days. Jordan is a true cowgirl, loves her horses, and so you can only imagine how close we’ve become from how much we have in common. I finally met her dad, Paul Tierney, who rodeoed with many of our Canadian legends, so I heard a lot of great stories! We toured the Black Hills, saw Mount Rushmore, and ended our time together in the sky on a hot air balloon ride.
This month has been so memorable.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at the 47th Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer, AB - November 3rd - 7th 2021.
- Alicia Erickson, Miss Rodeo Canada 20/21