Sundre's rodeo queen has memorable year
Arleta Bowhay has travelled the world and been a shining ambassador for Canada
Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012 06:00 am
As Miss Rodeo Canada Arleta Bowhay must be a smooth and skilled ambassador no matter what the circumstance.
In fact, she was even called upon to swim with crocodiles.
“As I was taking his photo he snapped at me but he had no chance,” said Bowhay with a chuckle.
She was, thankfully, safely enclosed in a protective barrier. Her swim with the croc came last summer during a 13-day tour in Australia where she was enthusiastically fulfilling her duties as the reigning Miss Rodeo Canada.
Bowhay, the 2009 Miss Rodeo Sundre, was selected the national queen nearly a year ago in Edmonton at the Canadian Finals Rodeo. It was a dream come true for the 20-year-old Sundre-area woman whose family ranch is located 20 kilometres southwest of town.
Since being crowned Bowhay has put her business management studies at Olds College on hold. Of course there was no time to work either, but Bowhay never wanted for anything over the course of the year. She was provided with whatever she needed, including clothes and a truck that was donated by Sundre Home Hardware. As well, a community fundraiser in Sundre raised more than $17,000 to help Bowhay with her expenses.
“My community was outstanding. They took care of me,” said Bowhay. “There was never a time in the year I was worried about money. My year would not have been possible without my sponsors. They got me down the road.”
Over the past year she made between 350 and 400 appearances throughout Western Canada, the United States and of course Australia.
Bowhay was a true ambassador wherever she went. She proudly represented the town, province and country at such events as the Sundre Pro Rodeo, the 100th annual Calgary Stampede, the 52nd Innisfail Professional Rodeo at the Daines Ranch, the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colo., the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and the Darwin Championship Rodeo in Australia. Along the way, she charmed and delighted countless people, while rubbing shoulders with past and present rodeo queens along the way.
And while being a rodeo queen may be seen as somewhat archaic in this day and age of gender equality, Bowhay is quick to add that women who pursue the title are not just judged on beauty. They have to be skilled in many areas.
“We are a different category altogether aside from the beauty pageant side of it,” she said. “We are judged on the knowledge of the sport, and you have to be able to ride. You also have to be personable. We are promoting the sport of rodeo and western heritage.”
In a few weeks time in early November a new Miss Rodeo Canada will be selected. Bowhay’s reign will officially come to an end.
She will leave her reign exhilarated at the amazing opportunities that were handed to her but she also knows it is time to move on.
“It was a year I’d never change and it will always be held near and dear to me but I’m ready to move to the next chapter of my life and give another girl a chance,” she said, adding she was forced into three weeks of bedrest in August due to a back injury. “Emotionally and rodeo queen-wise I am tired. It has taken a toll emotionally and physically. It’s been a long and busy year. I am ready to be done.”
And while Bowhay will be heading back to school and the day-to-day obligations on her family ranch, she will do so with fond memories that will last her a lifetime.