This position comes with great power…
Being a rodeo queen means having power, I’ll admit it, and you have to make a choice. You’re in a position where you can either take advantage of that power, or you can use it to do something remarkable.
I know this is starting to sounds like a “with great power, comes great responsibility” speech, but boy did I feel powerful last weekend.
I’ve had the idea for a very long time now to partner with Make-A-Wish to help brighten the day of a young girl, and at the Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final, I used the help of others and my power as Miss Rodeo Canada to make that happen.
As I looked at a list of names and ages to choose from, I was thinking logically. I needed a girl small in size that would fit in a saddle with me, so she had to be young, but not so young that she might be scared and be afraid to stay with me. Very logically, I chose a name and age.
Six-year-old Rozanna, who later became known to us as Rozie, Little Miss Rodeo Canada 2015.
I used my brain to pick that name, but my heart melted when I met the inspiring little girl behind the name and fell in love with not only her, but her entire family.
The family had been through a lot. Both Rozie and her brother Joey are healthy kids, but their story is not void of heartache. The Make-A-Wish foundation of Southern Alberta first heard about the family when Jacey, the eldest of the family became ill with cancer. Before Jacey passed away almost three years ago her wish to visit Rome was granted.
One of the most amazing things about the Make-A-Wish program is that they understand that it’s not just the children that are sick that are affected by disease, but the family rallying around that child. So they keep in touch with those family’s, even after tragedy strikes, to offer them these amazing opportunities.
She arrived to a herd of rodeo queens (a royal welcome if you want to get out the puns) and they escorted her in my direction where she was immediately, and quite happily, whisked on to my horse to practice grand entry. I felt a walk was the safest pace to travel around the arena and would ensure she would feel secure in the saddle with me. After leaving the arena for grand entry rehearsal she immediately asked, “when do we get to go fast?”
So around the warm up arena we went at a lope until she was satisfied that we had gone fast enough for her liking.
Next, a rodeo queen isn’t complete without a sash and crown so something had to be done: a crowning ceremony was in order. When Jim Nevada at Roper Canada found out my plan he also supplied my mini-me with a shirt and sparkly boots fit for any queen, big or small.
I will admit that I’m not the strongest person when it comes to giving emotional speeches, but I have never had a harder time giving a speech than when I looked down at little Rozie, who was awaiting her crown. One sentence in and I was a mess; thank you to Kirsten Braumandl for stepping in to finish the speech I had uselessly practiced in my head over and over, just to cry five words in.
Rozie learned that there is no rest in rodeo queen land as we quickly got her dressed in her new duds and mounted for grand entry.
The moment announcer Dave Poulsen introduced Rozie is one I will never forget. There was a change in the air, you could physically feel it change, and it hit me like a punch in the chest. We slowly rode around the arena and I could see that each and every person in that building were touched by that little girl, just as I was. That feeling alone would have been enough, but the night was far from over.
We quickly tied up our horse and headed to the concourse where Rozie settled in next to the other rodeo queens for autographs, which she soon became an expert at. With the efficiency of an assembly line worker and the writing of a grade 1 student – hearts, hugs and kisses included – Rozie signed autographs for kids, fans and even a few rodeo competitors.
The rest of the night saw her mingling with the crowd, being on-camera, doing interviews and awards presentations. Rozie got a taste of what it really takes to be a rodeo queen that night, but I found out just how much power being a rodeo queen enables you to have. The power to make someone happy.