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MISS RODEO CANADA DIARIES
Ali Mullin - Miss Rodeo Canada 2017
* more about Ali Mullin here
Miss Rodeo Canada
  Ali Mullin & George CanyonMay, 2017

On the road again! I can't wait to get on the road again!

... Willie Nelson’s familiar lyrics echo, as I add miles to my Jackson Dodge truck. Early this month, that truck took me to Northlands in Edmonton for a media launch announcing their summer schedule. Included on the list was a new stop for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, the K-Days rodeo in July.

From there, I headed east to the Rippin and Roarin Bull Riding at Killarney, Manitoba’s Shamrock Centre. Having grown up a short distance down the road, it was wonderful to attend a local event in the area, as Miss Rodeo Canada! In Manitoba, I also visited Cartwright School, where I studied from kindergarten to grade 12. Once finished, it didn’t take long for them to put me to work at Clay Ranch Quarter Horses! Branding calves, riding horses, taking photos and doing paperwork – stepping back into that old routine was a great way to catch my breath before I hit the ground running for summer rodeos!

Returning to Alberta, I was invited to an information session at the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede grounds to benefit future Rodeo Royalty contestants. It always feels good to give back to an organization that has given me so much!

The month of May was rounded out with some of the best people. At the Newcap Radio station in West Edmonton Mall I had a blast doing promotional recordings for our long-time sponsor, CFCW. Perfect timing allowed a chance to meet and visit with Canadian country music artist, Gord Bamford! Just two days later, our Miss Rodeo Canada auction fundraiser was held in conjunction with the annual CFCW Listener Appreciation Party. Their enthusiastic listeners were so generous in their support of our program. The Dungarees led off the evening concert, and much fun was had by all – myself included – especially when presented with the opportunity to meet the night’s headliner, George Canyon! After shaking hands with two country music stars this last week, I am seriously considering a trip to Nashville!

Having passed the mid-way point of my time as Miss Rodeo Canada, I am compelled to reflect on memories already made in this amazing year. Since competition week and crowning during the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Northlands in Edmonton, I have flown to Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Hawaii. Now, I’m looking forward to a summer of touring Canada, celebrating our country’s 150th year, as well as the annual trip that Miss Rodeo Canada makes to Australia! Some people that I knew from television or radio are now people that I have had the privilege of meeting: Clyde & Elsie Frost, Matt Shiozawa, Ivan Daines, Martha Josey, Sharon Camarillo, Levi Simpson, Jeremy Buhler, Trevor Brazile. It has been such an honour, to be a person that someone else would look up to or want an autograph from. As for the amazing feeling of being introduced as Miss Rodeo Canada – an ambassador of our sport, culture, lifestyle, and our beautiful country – that just never gets old.

Coming up in June, I’ll be continuing this unbelievable year at arenas in Leduc, Grande Prairie, Brooks, Medicine Hat, High River and Ponoka! Watch for me this summer, and be sure to check out www.missrodeocanada.ca or find me on social media (@missrodeocanada) for booking information!

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca

   
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  Siera Bearchell and Ali MullinApril, 2017

After travelling abroad for a large part of the winter, I made it to my first Canadian Pro Rodeo of the 2017 season!

The Medicine Hat Broncs and Honky Tonks Spring Rodeo was a perfect way for me to kick things off in April: presentation rides, autograph sessions, and their annual Princess for a Day contest.

Pretty soon, it was time to pack my bags again, and board another airplane! This time, my destination was the town of Princeville on Kauai, Hawaii! A week of sunshine and sand on the beautiful island was made complete by visits to Omao Ranch Lands, CJM Stables, and the Smith Family Garden Luau, as well as a scenic horseback beach ride.

Arriving back in Calgary just in time for the Mane Event in Red Deer, I was pleased to be there both Saturday and Sunday. Over the busy weekend, I took in as much of the expansive tradeshow as I could, a number of horsemanship clinics, and caught up with some of our generous sponsors. It was fun to share with each of them where my journey had taken me already this year! Additionally, I watched the annual Trainers’ Challenge – a colt-starting contest between three different horsemen, judged on the quality of each of their training sessions, as well as their execution of a large obstacle course as part of the grand finale. When the scores were tabulated for each of the talented cowboys, I was excited to present the championship prize to Martin Black of Bruneau, Idaho, a good friend of mine. The Mane Event allowed me opportunity to visit with many existing friends, and to form some great new relationships.

Next, I journeyed again to central Alberta, for the 45th anniversary celebration of Ranchman’s Cookhouse in Calgary. There was certainly an air of sadness among the attendees, as founder and co-owner of Ranchman’s, Harris Dvorkin, had recently passed away. Besides being a very successful business owner, Mr Dvorkin was an enthusiastic supporter of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. It was a fitting event to be able to celebrate his legacy, and his life as well.

The month was rounded out by attending the fourth annual Miss Rodeo Canada Alumni Pageant Seminar, held this year in Olds, Alberta. I had attended this very event in the spring of 2015, with the intention to run for the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Queen title. In 2016, I was back, representing Medicine Hat and planning to run for Miss Rodeo Canada in the fall. It was very satisfying, being able to come full circle and return to the event, now as Miss Rodeo Canada. Not so long ago, I sat, eagerly absorbing all that I could at the seminar. To be able to pay that forward, helping the excited Canadian rodeo royalty and hopefuls that attended was very rewarding. I worked alongside MANY talented Miss Rodeo Canada Alumni for the weekend, as well as Lauren Heaton (Miss Rodeo America 2015) and Siera Bearchell (Miss Universe Canada 2016). To be included on a roster of such strong, powerful and passionate women was a truly incredible feeling.

The months are flying by, and it is so exciting to be say that rodeo season is here at last! I look forward to maintaining this busy schedule throughout the summer months! Please be sure to say hello and to get a picture with me if you spot me in your area, this summer. As always, you can follow my journey on social media @missrodeocanada, and check www.missrodeocanada.ca for booking information.

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca
   
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  Ali Mullin - Miss Rodeo Canada - Broncs & Honky Tonks RodeoMarch, 2017

As the weather heats up, so does my schedule!

March was full of milestone events, including the arrival of my Canadian Professional Rodeo Association membership card, and the first drive in my truck, sponsored for the year by Jackson Dodge. Goodness knows I’ll put those to use as the year progresses!

Early this month, I spent time in Medicine Hat. There are three ATB Financial branches in the city, where I introduced myself and shared our exciting partnership. The Rogers Hometown Hockey tour stopped in “The Hat,” and I was pleased to participate in the festivities. My family has a great passion for hockey, so meeting stars like Rob Niedermayer, Lanny McDonald and Ron MacLean was an amazing experience! Just two days later, I was invited for a ceremonial puck drop at the Medicine Hat Tiger’s hockey game. The days flew by, while I attended Colour Me Culture, the annual Pheasants Forever Dinner, and the Medicine Hat Spring Bull Show and Sale. Each of these events was special, as I have been involved with them in the past, and it was fun to attend now, with the Miss Rodeo Canada crown on my hat.

Mount Norquay was the home of the Canadian Cowboy Ski Race this year. Presented by Back On Track, this fundraiser benefits the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team and the new Ty Pozzobon Foundation, both of which are tremendous supporters of the rodeo scene, here in Canada. A quick stop at the CPRA office had me loaded up with “swag” to distribute to rodeo fans throughout my year. Also in the Airdrie area is the Roper Warehouse, and they had me outfitted with the most stylish western fashions in no time. Of course, I needed to stop in at my favourite hat shop – Smithbilt Hats in Calgary, and even managed visits at the two ATB Financial Branches in Airdrie, and one in Crossfield.
As March wore on, I explored a new career option by co-hosting the morning show with Kim Johnston of My96.1 FM in Medicine Hat. This rewarding experience included early mornings, Tim Horton’s coffee, impromptu interviews, a Throwback Thursday Throwdown, Girl Guide cookies, and a pizza party for the Dr. Roy Wilson Grade 5 class, among other things. Having the opportunity to learn first-hand some of the magic that goes into producing a radio show is not something that I will soon forget!

The end of a busy month saw my journey home to Manitoba, for the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. Growing up in southern Manitoba, I regularly attended the Winter Fair, so to have it as my homecoming event as Miss Rodeo Canada was amazing. It was very fitting that I attended for 4H Day, as my Grandpa, Elvis Mullin, was a member of Canada’s first 4H club in Roland, Manitoba, and I moved up through the 4H ranks myself. Radio interviews filled the morning, in the afternoon, I spoke to audiences about my journey to the title of Miss Rodeo Canada, and sang the Canadian and American National Anthems during the evening’s opening ceremonies, and assisted in handing out championship ribbons. All in all, I had a blast at the Fair, and was so pleased to be able to return there.

With spring finally here, my next appearance will be at the Medicine Hat Broncs and Honky Tonks Spring Indoor Rodeo, and I am eager to get the summer rodeo season with the CPRA underway. As always, you can easily find my journey on social media (@missrodeocanada).

Until next time, keep your heels down, and keep your elbows up!

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca
   
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  Miss Rodeo Canada Ali MullinFebruary, 2017

What is a girl to do when she gets the winter blues?

For starters, I attended Groundhog Day celebrations at the Blue Grass Garden Centre in Balzac, Alberta. Balzac Billy did not heed my request for an “early spring,” instead calling for another six weeks of winter! Thankfully a delicious pancake breakfast and local music were supplied to keep everyone cozy.

The next option was a trip to Edmonton for the Alberta Association of Agriculture Societies Conference. In theory, discussing upcoming summer events could be a way to fool myself into feeling warm, but two days can only go so far. So how did I finally manage to thaw out this month?

Florida.

Kissimmee, Florida, and the Silver Spurs Rodeo, to be precise! I joined a number of rodeo queens for a week in the sunshine state. Though I will always be a Canadian girl, I could take an annual Florida trip!

Communicating with kids is a big part of my job, so the daily school visits were an enjoyable routine. However, I was able to interact with children in a new way for one evening at a unique non-profit resort. “Give Kids the World Village” supplies families of children suffering life-threatening illnesses cost-free vacations. This magical place touched my heart, and I hope to return as a volunteer again in the future.

What is a Floridian trip without reptile exposure?! For many of us, Wild Florida was our first introduction to airboats and alligators. As the name suggests, it was a fun-filled trip on the wild side! A tour of the Kenneth Kirchman Foundation’s Lake X was our next close look at native flora and fauna. The natural ecosystem of Lake X is preserved for educational purposes. We were also encouraged to learn about ourselves, through teamwork and obstacle course challenges. Finally, Gatorland Park provided countless photo opportunities with tarantulas, flamingos, pythons and – of course – alligators. We even enjoyed their zipline course, and a variety of shows featuring fascinating animals and a good sense of humour.

Later in the week, we got our thrills by attending Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament! Based in the days of kingdoms, we (the audience) were enlisted to observe a horseback contest between knights of the realm. As the story progressed, we enjoyed our roast chicken and potato dinner authentically – no silverware allowed – and cheered on our own Green Knight! For me, the excitement continued through to my last day in Florida, when I enjoyed the special privilege of exploring both Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, (or “Potterhead,” for those of you who are not privy to such intimate details about my life) it was nothing short of a dream come true.

Around being a tourist, I did manage to fit in some rodeo action! I was honoured to be included in grand entry for the “Largest Rodeo East of the Mississippi,” sponsor visits, and the Silver Spurs Exceptional Rodeo. A dedicated team of committees, a truly amazing host family, and the largest calf scramble I have ever seen made this trip incredibly special! It felt good to be back in the rodeo arena, and left me eagerly anticipating our first full CPRA rodeo of 2017 in Medicine Hat, Alberta this April.

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca
   
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  January, 2017

A busy start ...

List of things that I know rodeo queens are good at...
riding horses
public speaking
rodeo promotion

List of things that I know rodeo queens are not quite as good at....
resisting good shopping
travelling light
ski jumps

Attending the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado was an amazing start for 2017. While there, I was involved in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association performances in many different capacities. Helping out with the Mutton Busters, carrying sponsor flags, and presenting our beautiful maple leaf during the opening ceremonies were experiences to remember.

Being a good two months into my reign as Miss Rodeo Canada, I still have the occasional “wow” moment: a time I must physically stop and think, “Wow. I’m really Miss Rodeo Canada.” This month, the “wow” moment was on Canada Night at the NWSS. Riding with my hosts, Miss Rodeo Colorado – Kelsie Winslow, and Miss Rodeo America – Lisa Lageschaar, I had the privilege of carrying the Canadian flag for the opening ceremonies. Every light was black, save for the bright spotlight on the flags we held in the centre of the arena. Stepping forward with my flag for the Canadian anthem, I felt absolute awe. That role, in that place, at that time... such a simple moment, and everything was perfect. I was so humbled.

While in Denver, I was sure to take in the festivities of the Western and English Sales Association Market. To see so many western retailers in one place was a thing of dreams! Of course, I stopped for visits at a few favourites: Roper/Stetson/Tin Haul, Wrangler, and Montana Silversmiths. My marketing brain even got some special fun at the revealing of Tin Haul’s new boot and clothing lines for the year!

Towards the end of a busy week, it was time for a trip to Steamboat Springs for their 43rd annual Cowboy Downhill Ski Race! If you’ve never seen it, this particular event is just as entertaining as you might imagine: dozens of rodeo cowboys and queens populate the slopes, complete with chaps and hats. Now, growing up in Manitoba, I had a brief introduction to skiing during a couple of school trips in junior high. As an estimate, the outing at Steamboat was about my fifth time on skis, and admittedly, the ski jump on the course did get the better of me! Fortunately, I was un-hurt, and the organizers and sponsors of the Cowboy Downhill Ski Race were thoughtful enough to prepare an amazing prize package for the prestigious title of “Best Wreck” that I was thrilled to win! For this championship, I received my very own sets of skis and bindings, a GoPro camera, and Beats headphones, to list a few items. I’ve already been out practicing, and am doing my best not to repeat THAT championship next time!

A happy 2017 to all of you, and I look forward to meeting you down the rodeo trail this year!

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca

   
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December, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting...

For me, the main transition has been adapting from life as a small-town Manitoba cowgirl, to the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Queen, and most recently, Miss Rodeo Canada 2017! Even now, I’m not accustomed to the title, but am excited for all that is in store over the next months. If December has been any indication, great things are coming!

The big story this month was my first international trip as MRC, taking me to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! Having never been to Vegas, let alone to the WNFR, I was ecstatic to wrap up my semester at Medicine Hat College, and get started in my new role.

Arriving in Las Vegas after dark meant the lights of “The Strip” were all in their glory! Thank goodness I had Nicole Briggs (MRC Board member, and MRC Alumni – 2014) to coach me through the maze of slot machines that we had to navigate at the MGM Grand Hotel. Our third teammate was Katy Scott (Miss Rodeo Australia). I met Katy at the Canadian Finals Rodeo last month, but was able to get to know her better after staying together for two weeks in Las Vegas!

In the days preceding the rodeo, we took in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. It was a nice change, seeing a competition from this new perspective, instead of being a judged contestant! Miss Rodeo America 2016, Katherine Merck, crowned Miss Rodeo Texas, Lisa Lageschaar as the new Miss Rodeo America 2017. Lisa will be my international counterpart over the coming year, and I am so thrilled to get to know her as we work together to promote our sport and lifestyle!

Once the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo began, our routine became fairly regular: autograph signings by day, and rodeo performances by night. Each evening, we enjoyed supper in the Gold Card Room – a space reserved for the Gold Card members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. I was more than a little star struck at this incredible privilege! After eating, it was time for grand entry. The very first time I rode down the famously long “tunnel” to enter the Thomas & Mack Arena at the WNFR is a snapshot in my mind. I will cherish it as an honest-to-goodness dream-come-true. Next, we watched the rodeo: sometimes from the stands inside the arena, or on a straw bale in the warm up tent, and sometimes on the television in the hotel room, with some much-needed Chinese food! Afterwards, we helped present the Montana Silversmiths Championship buckles to the go-round winners at the South Point Hotel and Casino. It felt so special to be involved in the different parts of such a prestigious rodeo.

Between appearances, we managed some tourist time! We took photos at the Las Vegas sign, walked “The Strip,” and even squeezed in shopping at the tradeshows, set up for the ten days of WNFR. Living in Las Vegas for two weeks, I still wasn’t ready to leave. The stream of entertainment and activity led me to the resolution that I will just have to go back... and maybe even make the WNFR trip an annual one!

Safely landed in Edmonton, I made a few sponsor visits within the city before returning to Medicine Hat. Now in Manitoba for the holidays, I’m relaxing and getting ready for the New Year! Merry Christmas, everyone, and all the best to you and yours in 2017!

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca

   
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November, 2016

Talk about a whirlwind ...

The weeks leading up to the 43rd annual Canadian Finals Rodeo were a blur, but they were nothing compared to the rush of the Miss Rodeo Canada Competition itself.

In preparing for the stay at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton, I spoke with many alumni. Each of them advised that I was in for a week of extremely high pressure, matched only by the incredible amount of fun and amazing memories that were in store. Thankfully, it did not disappoint!

During the contest, we visited a number of delicious local restaurants, and many other generous Edmonton-based sponsors. We enjoyed trips to the West Edmonton Mall, the Stollery Children’s Hospital, FarmFair International, and of course, the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Northlands Coliseum. All the while, as contestants for the title of Miss Rodeo Canada 2017, we were subject to adjudication by various public and secret judges, as well as friends, families, and fans of the rodeo community.

After evaluations concluded in the main scoring categories (personal interview, horsemanship, public speaking, written exam and modelling) the official crowning ceremony took place in the arena dirt, during the November 12, 2016 afternoon performance of the CFR. That experience is one that I still struggle to describe. The single most popular question I received afterwards was, “What emotion did you feel when they announced that you had won?” The truth is, it’s simply impossible to pick one emotion. That goal was something I had worked towards for years. It was something I had planned for months, and hoped for in every breath and every thought for countless weeks.
Thrilled? Nervous? Relieved?

In that single moment, hundreds of hours of preparation came to fruition, and a huge dream became reality for me. In short, I felt everything and I felt absolutely nothing, all at once. I was heavy as a tonne of bricks, and light as a feather. No words can accurately describe a feeling quite like that.

Of course, I know that the time I spent preparing for competition was matched by three other individuals. Alongside Desirae Jackson, Jadey van der Vlis, and Miranda Pybus, I grew individually, and had the pleasure of seeing them flourish. Though only one person can receive this particular title, I know that each of these talented ladies will conquer the world, and hold many prestigious titles of her own!

Thank you to all of my supporters, particularly those in Manitoba, Medicine Hat and surrounding area. You got me to competition week. Thank you to my beautiful fellow contestants for being my teammates all the way to the finish line. I look forward to a great year, full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, that I am so excited to share with each of you! I am incredibly thankful to be able to count you all as my friends, and I am honoured and humbled to be awarded the title of Miss Rodeo Canada 2017.

Ali Mullin
Miss Rodeo Canada
Website: MissRodeoCanada.ca

   
   
  To book Miss Rodeo Canada for your event, please contact Shawna Erickson at: bookings@missrodeocanada.ca








 
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