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MISS RODEO CANADA DIARIES
Ali Mullin - Miss Rodeo Canada 2017
* more about Ali Mullin here
Miss Rodeo Canada
  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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