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Monday, 27 October 2014 03:03

Seven Persons native vying for Miss Rodeo Canada

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Seven Persons native vying for Miss Rodeo Canada Photo contributed


For the first time in a while, the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede will have a representative at the 2015 Miss Rodeo Canada competition in Edmonton.

Ashley Abbott, the 2013 Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede princess, is making the trek to Edmonton in the week leading up to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Held at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton from Nov. 3-6, the Seven Persons native is the first member of Medicine Hat rodeo royalty to try for the crown since Rae-Leigh Pederzolli took part in the 2010 competition.
For her part, Abbott is excited about the opportunity to compete.
“It was something that was on my mind for a while,” she says about her decision. Abbott was part of the 2013 royalty along with Queen Madeleine Knodel.
If the amiable 21-year-old wins, she will have to give up her current work-related duties. As the Miss Rodeo Canada title holder, the rodeo royalty position is a full-time job which lasts for a full year. Currently, Abbott is an occupational therapist assistant
at Medicine Hat’s Riverview Care Centre. She has also worked with a veterinarian and managed an indoor/outdoor riding arena in 2013.
Abbott is competing with Brittany Meen, Miss Grande Prairie Stompede 2013; Katy Lucas, Miss Ponoka Stampede 2014; Alexis Forseille, 2012-2013 Williams Lake Stampede Queen; Kelsey Reinboldt-Lynch, Miss Rodeo Airdrie 2013.
Those wanting to compete have to be a member of approved rodeo royalty within a two-year span of that year’s contest.
It’s been a while since Abbott competed in such an event. While
she’s the 2013 Stampede princess, she actually won the title in July 2012. Abbott says things have changed for her since then.
She was a student at the Medicine Hat College and loved sports, especially rodeo where her father competed. Abbott is a current member of the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association who competes in cow riding while being a strong advocate for rodeo.
“I always wanted to ride steers and  I was always around Dad’s bucking horses,” explains Abbott.
Her father didn’t really want her to ride the bucking broncos, but she wound up going to a rodeo school where she insisted she learn some of the finer points of the rodeo business.
“I’m very stubborn, when I get my mind set to something,” she adds, with a smile. “It’s like my grandma always said, ‘if you’re going to do something, there’s no point in doing it half-(hearted).’”
There is no denying Abbott works hard saying this was the way she was brought up. Her family raises quarter horses on a ranch north of Seven Persons.
One thing that has changed is her perspective. While she continues to give 110 per cent all day, every day no matter what she is doing, she is more able to take things in stride. This will serve her well in Edmonton as there is a lot of pressures on and demands of the competitors.
“I’ve grown up a bit and with the rodeo contest and competing I get the bigger picture,” explains Abbott. “Maddy (Knodel) and I, we created a friendship for life. One of the biggest things I learned from her was that she told me to relax ... you need to have fun, need to enjoy the ride and that’s what I’m doing. Usually I want to plan everything out.”
Abbott has learned to roll with the punches more because she has gained some self confidence. Instead of overthinking day-to-day events, she deals with them on a need-to basis.
That is not to say there is a lackadaisical attitude. Abbott is preparing for the Miss Rodeo Canada competition as best she can. She’s studying for the equine portion of it as well as getting the communication and speech presentation portions down. 
Oct. 31 is actually an unofficial black-tie bingo mingling event she will take part in just to get a feel for the event before her journey starts Nov. 3 with the horsemanship event. Competition continues all week before culminating Nov. 7 with the crowning during one of the rodeo competition evenings.
“I want to get off to a good start. (I) want to do the mingling, but I want to excel at the horsemanship portion.
I want people to say ‘she can ride a horse.’ I have the whole week and I want to put myself out there as best I can,” Abbott explains. “I love to mingle and talk with other people.”
According to the Miss Rodeo Canada website, there have been three Miss Rodeo Canadas representing Medicine Hat: Dode Minor (Sears, 1983), Shelley Sodero (Chomistek, 1986), Wendi Lund-Paget (1994), Andrea Johnstone-Slofstra (2001) and Aleaha Moore (2006).

Those wishing to contribute to her trip to Edmonton or wanting to offer words of encouragement can go to:
Medicine-Hat-Stampede-Queen-and-Princess/189192198126 to find out how.


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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor