November! Yes that meant for most of us to quickly get our winter tires put on before the snow truly flies but for the Williams Lake Stampede Royalty that meant yet another wonderful and grand adventure. This time to the Canadian Finals Rodeo!
I, Alexis Forseille, was fortunate enough to be taken to Edmonton on Nov. 8 to join Princess Terris Billyboy, and our chaperones Brigette Peel and Jamie Tannis for an action-packed weekend at the CFR. Upon my arrival in the snow-covered city we quickly made our way to Rexall Center to take in the Thursday night rodeo which was the second performance out of six taking place over the weekend.
Luckily for us, Terris and Brigette had already been in Edmonton for a week and knew the ins and outs of getting to and from Rexall Center by the LRT transit.
When we reached Rexall Center I was absolutely blown away with it all. From the opening act of the night, Chris Young, to the very end of the bull riding and everything in between, it felt like an incredible dream to be watching the finals in person.
Thursday night was the evening of the season leader saddle presentations which we happily enjoyed watching after the rodeo. I remember thinking that if Thursday was any indication of how the weekend was going to play out we were in for one wonderful treat!
Friday started out with an early morning preparing ourselves for a busy day helping out at the Red Carpet Rodeo Fashion Show. The fashion show is an annual fundraiser hosted by the Ladies of the Canadian Rodeo Association. All proceeds go towards the CPRA Cowboy benefit fund and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team. The luncheon was simply extraordinary to attend. Terris and I helped sell tickets for the Gold Buckle Table where if your name was drawn you won an eight person formal table setting and the table you were sitting at was moved to a table beside the runway with additional prizes to be won.
After our selling duties were done we enjoyed a lovely catered lunch and a great fashion show. The rest of the day at the event consisted of us helping to sell boas for the ladies to be entered into more prizes and Brigette making it all the way up on to the stage with the heads and tails hat game. We met several of the co-ordinators for the event and many of the Miss Rodeo Canada co-ordinators as well. It was a great experience and I would without doubt like to attend the function again!
When we had completed our duties at the fashion show, we quickly changed and headed to West Edmonton Mall to build ourselves each a Build-A-Bear. Mine ended up being called Queenie, while Terris’ was called Princess.
The staff really enjoyed having us build our bears and they were wonderful helpers during the process. When our bears were complete we had to quickly head over to Rexall Center for the Friday night rodeo action!
During the rodeo the 2013 Miss Rodeo Canada competitors were introduced with a presentation ride of each girl. The rest of the rodeo was just as wonderful to experience as the night before with many arena records being tied right before our eyes! When the rodeo was over we decided before heading home to watch some live music and fortunate for us, it was Gord Banford! Our busy Friday had been perfect.
Saturday at the CFR has a one o’clock and a seven o’clock rodeo. At the first rodeo we watched Jillian Shields be crowned as the 2013 Miss Rodeo Canada! After watching the crown be passed over, Terris, Brigette, Jamie and I, quickly hurried to the reception where Terris and I welcomed guests at the door while taking ticket money and hanging coats.
We also met up with Sharon MacDonald and Kirsten Braumandl to watch the beautiful reception and the ladies who ran for Miss Rodeo Canada receive their awards. With the completion of the reception we decided to go to the Farm Fair, which has many trade booths to go through and a special area for kids.
To sum it up, the Farm Fair is one big shopping spree! We toured through it and managed not to break the bank accounts before heading off to the second rodeo of the day. The Canadian Cowboy of the Year was awarded to Scott Schiffner who rightfully deserved every piece of it. You could tell the pressure was beginning to get to the cowboys and cowgirls during the second to last rodeo. However, even with the amounting pressure the rodeo was still just as amazing to watch!
Sunday Nov. 11, we woke up bright and early to bundle up as much as we possibly could, before walking over to the Edmonton City Hall for their Remembrance Day ceremonies. We participated in the very cold ceremony by laying wreathes on the cenotaph. Terris laid the wreathe for the Williams Lake Stampede Association and I laid the wreathe for the City of Williams Lake. The ceremony was very well done with many dignitaries and many city representatives laying wreathes while a large crowd watched the proceedings.
After warming up we took the LRT to Rexall Center to watch the last rodeo of the 2012 Canadian Rodeo Finals. The place was packed with rodeo fans and the energy was at an all-time high. Some of the most amazing rides and some of the greatest runs of the weekend unfolded before us as many cowboys laid all they had on the line to win their respective titles. Immediately after the rodeo the champions were rewarded their buckles and saddles in the arena. We watched the awards being given to some very deserving cowboys and cowgirls then headed over to the Farm Fair for one last browse through.
I would like to thank Willie Crosina for inviting us to attend his CFR tour dinner at the spaghetti factory and the reception afterwards. It was a great way to connect with everyone that travelled with Willie to the CFR from Williams Lake and surrounding areas. The dinner seemed to top off a wonderful week!
From my experiences this year, I am already looking forward to the next time I attend the CFR!
I would like to thank everyone who helped make our experience at the 2012 Canadian Finals Rodeo extraordinary!