By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
aber local Jessie Ferguson competed for Miss Rodeo Canada 2024 at the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Red Deer, Alberta from November 1-5, 2023, but the competition was ultimately won by Kaylee Shantz, a 22-year-old resident of her family farm that is northwest of Rimbley, Alta.
“I didn’t come out with the crown but instead so much confidence in all of my abilities even if it was once something far out of my comfort zone,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson, however, did not come home completely empty-handed.
“I am honoured to have come home with a category win in the Wrangler Jean Jacket Competition. Coming in, this was a goal of mine to accomplish as I felt my jacket carried a lot of meaning,” said Ferguson. “With a blank canvas to work with, my mom and I worked together to create a meaningful masterpiece in honour of Remembrance Day, showcasing both my great grandfathers who will always be respected as war veterans.”
Ferguson says that checking off a huge bucket list item and representing her community to the best of her abilities was nothing short of everything she had hoped for. Ferguson also says that the opportunity to make countless new connections within the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association, witnessing the personal growth from each of the eight Miss Rodeo Canada contestants, and feeling the unwavering support from so many was an experience of a lifetime.
“I told myself before the competition that I was putting everything I had into this year,” said Ferguson. “My Rodeo Queen journey has been a long one and though it has been nothing short of memorable, I am ready to move my focus towards some new adventures. I would love nothing more then to still be involved in Queening but from a different standpoint from behind the scenes watching others chase their dreams.”
Ferguson says that it truly takes a village to accomplish one’s wildest dreams and that she is proud to say with the help of Taber and all the generous businesses and families who donated towards and supported her year as Miss Rodeo Taber, she was able to have raised nearly $3000 towards the Canadian Sports Medicine Team. With the high selling auction item at the CPRA Fashion Show and Fundraiser it means the world to know so many stood behind her in this journey and never hesitated to lend a helping hand.
“There is not one thing I would like to go back and change within the competition, and I think that is so important,” said Ferguson. “One major goal I had for myself was to be real and stay true to myself. I believe that is exactly what I did throughout all components. The amount of personal growth I have seen in myself continues to shock me and that means so much to have had such opportunities.”
After completing such a large bucket list item that has occupied a huge part of her life for many years, Ferguson says that it truly is a difficult question to say certainly what she will be up to after this, but she does know she looks forward to all that lies ahead.
“Striding into a new journey with confidence will always point you right and I’m excited to share those insights as a 4-H Leader this year,” said Ferguson. “I also look forward to the beginning of a new job with a strictly equine clinic – Cor Vet Services. Working closely with some of our top equine athletes within the rodeo industry, I look forward to all that I will learn while staying heavily involved within the rodeo atmosphere! Surround yourself with your role models, push yourself outside of your comfort zone and never be ashamed of asking for help. One of the most decorated cowboys in our industry, Trevor Brazile, says, ‘The difference between amateurs and professionals is that amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.’ Never underestimate the impact practice can have on your performance. Hard work will always beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard and that will forever be true.”
Ferguson says that the rodeo community is amazing in the way they support one another and include others so quickly between fans and sponsors.
“I’m so thankful to have met each contestant and would like to wish the next Miss Rodeo Canada, Kaylee Shantz, the best of luck on her new adventure,” said Ferguson. “I will forever be grateful to all those who organize events like this and still, I cannot find enough ways to thank the entire town of Taber!”