Meet Miss Ponoka Stampede for 2018: Alicia Erickson.
The Ponoka Stampede’s pageant selection committee chose the Trochu resident out of four contestants April 3. It was not an easy decision, explained Stampede vice president Bruce Harbin.
Challenges included horsemanship, public speaking, impromptu speeches, plus judged interviews and lunches as well as a fashion show. The six judges had a tough time deciding.
The biggest challenge? “All the talent!” said Harbin.
For Erickson, it was exciting to be picked.
“I’ve been involved with rodeo pageants for a while now but Miss Ponoka Stampede, it intrigued me quite a bit,” she said.
Something that struck her the first time she went to a Ponoka Stampede performance was one that left her with a strong sense of the small-town feel of Ponoka’s rodeo despite the big dollars that come with it. “When you come to the rodeo, it’s the true performance that it should be, with the top athletes in the world.”
“Now that I’m representing Ponoka it’s just even more amazing,” added Erickson, who couldn’t keep the smile off her face.
As for the selection process, Erickson came prepared. Her horsemanship was taken care of because of her work as a 4-H leader as well the barrel racing that she competes in. She also practiced her public speaking to prepare for the challenge.
Along with her passion for working with youths, she teaches figure skating and mentors kids through equine sports. This has lead to a focus on youth justice studies and she’s completing her diploma this year.
The 21-year-old would like to expand that passion into completing her degree in the same field of study.
For Michele Greer, Miss Ponoka Stampede 2017, she says it’s been a wonderful experience and it’s a challenge to compare this specific title to other rodeo titles. The support the Ponoka Stampede Association has provided her was incredible, she says.
“They pick the best of the best and then it’s off you go. They trust you to do the best job that you can representing them and you have all of their support behind you,” said Greer.
The last year as Miss Ponoka Stampede has been a positive experience for Greer, which has helped increase her self-confidence.
Greer is finishing off her kinesiology degree at the University of Alberta and she hopes to further her education in Texas.
Her advice to Erickson? “Enjoy it. It’s such a fantastic experience. I can’t speak to how amazing it has been.”
Erickson will be officially crowned May 4 at Ponoka Stampede’s World Professional Chuckwagon Association tarp auction at the Stagecoach Saloon.
“I’m ready for it!” said Erickson.
Her hope is to represent the Stampede at Ponoka schools and other community events. Erickson sings and plays guitar and would love to showcase her talents to residents as well.