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Miss Rodeo Canada wows Innisfail with positivity

Trochu's Alicia Erickson determined to bring joy to all amidst COVID

INNISFAIL – In today’s COVID world, Alicia Erickson believes the best way to face a challenge is to smile, accept the challenge and move forward.

“A quote I read recently was, ‘Bloom where you are planted’, and I thought it related to this whole situation because we have a choice,” said Erickson of the inspirational writing made famous by American artist Mary Engelbreit. “We have a choice to be mad and angry and not do anything because of this time and the things that have been taken away, or we have the choice to be positive and look at the things we can do.”

Erickson chooses the latter to make positive differences in the lives of many.

She is just 24, a small town girl from Trochu, and has already made some impressive marks in her young life. Two years ago she was selected the Queen of the Ponoka Pro-Rodeo, and last November was crowned Miss Rodeo Canada 2020 at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer. The latter title gave her the opportunity to tour the North American rodeo circuit to represent the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, an ambassador for pro-rodeo in Canada.

For the first few months her life was the ultimate dream ride come true. Her reign started off just great, travelling to Denver, and then Florida. She was set to go to Houston in March. But along came COVID-19. Travelling was shut down. Erickson went back home to Trochu. The new reality followed her.

Even still, Canada’s newest rodeo queen decided to employ different tactics in the COVID world. She did a two-horse, one-queen parade down Main Street and then to the seniors centre. This small town girl never ever forgets where she came from.

“I loved doing that and spreading joy,” she said, adding she also posted videos on Facebook and sang songs with her guitar with the intent of inspiring people to smile and laugh.

“I found that there was so much negative stuff out there.”

On Sept. 4 Erickson was at Innisfail Chrysler to spread around more of that good, positive stuff.

“We are happy to be partnered with her. She’s a nice girl and very humble for the position and title she holds,” said Adam Glover, general manager of Innisfail Chrysler, whose dealership has sponsored Miss Rodeo Canada two years in a row with a truck to help with official touring duties. “We thought this (event) would be a nice opportunity to get outside, and get people out here to see her, and for her to get her horses out and have the opportunity to kind of get out of her bubble.”

Many, many Innisfailians came, and without missing a beat she smiled, laughed, showed off her horses, chatted, and signed autographs. The children, especially, adored Miss Rodeo Canada 2020, just like the way she looked up to her mom Dixie Kober many years ago when she was crowned Trochu Race Meet Queen.

 “When I was a young girl I pulled out this old newspaper and I saw the picture of my mom on there when she was a rodeo queen, and I said, ‘who’s this?’ and she said, ‘that’s me.’

“Ever since then I was just infatuated with rodeo, the western way of life.

“I really love to tell the story you don’t have to be from a western background or ranching or rodeo,” said Erickson. “You can be anyone in this world, and if you love western heritage and you love rodeo and if you’re all about that lifestyle, there are people willing to help you and welcome you in with open arms to what I call the rodeo family.”

Because of the massive interruption to her reign, Erickson has been given the unprecedented honour of serving a double term as Miss Rodeo Canada – two years of offering smiles and joy in a time, which for many, has been devastating. She welcomes the opportunity with open arms.

“I think when you can overcome things, any challenges that you may face they make you stronger for the ones you are going to face in the future because life is never going to be a cakewalk,” said Erickson, who is looking ahead after her reign to complete university education in social work, which of course, is aimed at helping others, specifically youth.

“So I chose to be positive and hopefully change other people’s views on things, and just be a positive person in the world where it can be so negative.”

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