Scary was my first thought about flying to another country all on my own and not knowing hardly anyone. My second thought was exciting and something that I had once only ever dreamed of. I never in my life thought that I would actually get to go across American soil and into another country and not just that but actually get to ride in a rodeo across the American soils!
I flew out of Nashville, Tennessee and landed hours later in Montreal, Canada! The scenery was very different there and everything was in French! Looking back now I wished I would have tried to learn a little from some online French courses or anything really!! Haha! Either way I waited at the airport in Montreal where I would be picked up. The only thing I knew was that the Wrangler Network team was going to be picking me up and taking me so St. Titie which was about a two hour drive from the airport. I received the text from Tim on the Wrangler Network team saying that he was there to pick me up and meet him outside. As I grabbed my belongings and started to make my way out of the airport a lady working in the baggage claim area yelled out to me, “if you leave you can’t come back.” I smiled and nodded, all I could think of was, what if she means NEVER what if I can never come back to the airport! Thankfully all she meant was just the baggage claim area! I met Tim outside and we loaded up grabbed some lunch and waited for Stew to get there, (another guy on the Wrangler Network team, who flew in a couple of hours later). Once we all loaded up we headed down the road to St. Tite, the traffic was insane and backed up for miles, our two hour drive turned into several!
It was dark when we reached St. Tite but we were able to find where we needed to be and got checked in for the week! They handed us wristbands that had a chip on them. Everywhere you went you had to scan your wristband, it was really cool. They were the VIP passes of course so I was able to go basically anywhere and everywhere I wanted with the wristband! I stayed in someone’s apartment while I was there. It was very different to sleep in someone's bed and to see pictures of their family hanging on the wall. They had left town for vacation in Paris while I stayed in their home. I spent the first night sleeping!! I was so tired from the plane trip!
The next day I went out and seen the sights, the rodeo had not started yet and the town was already packed! My first time trying to speak French was an epic fail! Ordering breakfast that morning I had hoped for coffee, eggs, and toast, little to my knowledge that's not what I had relayed to the people on the other side of the counter, I received coffee and toast! Haha!! My French obviously needs a little work!
Day two came around and we had two performances that day, one in the morning and one that night! Stephen and his crew had provided me a horse, she was absolutely beautiful! Her name was Pretty and she had been used in movies all over Canada, she came with her own trainer who would spend time grooming her, saddling her, and warming her up. Of course when she was brought to the back in the warm up area I was able to get on and do a little warm up as well! I never felt nervous getting on this horse or riding her, she was a cross with draft and quarter horse, she was what I like to call a gentle giant! She was so fun to ride! As I stood in the alley way that morning waiting for my turn to enter the area the announcers spoke in all French and there was one man standing at the edge of the alley who would wave me on when it was my turn. Pretty and I had entered the arena for the first time that morning. I could feel the energy from the crowd flowing through the horse, she started to lunge out as we hit the ground running, she then decided that it was too much and stopped and turned around on me! I was caught off balance and popped out of the saddle for a minute. No worries though we regathered ourselves and circled back around to make our queen lap! Everything was great after that but I sure could see how it was scary for her the entire crowd was above us and the crowd there was electric!! There is no way to ever explain how amazing the experience was! I ran all four performances of the Canadian Finals with Pretty and we had a blast!
I could literally write to y'all about this rodeo and we could be here for days about my experience but I do not want to keep you for that long! If you ever run into me and want to hear all about the amazing experiences that I was able to have while I was in Canada please reach out to me or even stop me when you see me next time and I will be sure to tell you all about it! Also be sure to check out the Wrangler Network on Facebook as I was able to catch and interview with them and you can check out the beautiful horse named Pretty and I as we made our way around the rodeo arena for four performances in Canada!!
Miss Rodeo USA 2019