Sylvan Lake’s very own Ashley Akkermans was crowned Miss Ponoka Stampede last spring and will compete for the title of Miss Rodeo CanadaNov. 11 – 15 and if she wins she will be crowned in Edmonton.
Being Miss Rodeo Canada 2016 Akkermans would be representing all the rodeos in Canada, but will always be considered Miss PonokaStampede 2015.
Miss Ponoka Stampede is Akkermans’ first title which means she has not had much time to prepare for this bigger competition.
She has had to work extra hard to prepare by studying for a written test, preparing for an interview, riding a number of different horses,practicing her public speaking, preparing outfits for modeling and making sure she is all around well presented.
The reason for cramming all of this work into the past eight months is because Akkermans said most of the other competitors have held a fewmore titles.
“I’ve had to do a lot of extra work in a short amount of time but I think the hard work will pay off in the end,” Akkermans said. “I’m feelingpretty confident going in.”
Being Miss Ponoka Stampede has been one of the most incredible experiences of her life explained Akkermans as she now gets to experience agreat deal and be immersed in the rodeo culture that she loves so much.
“Everybody is such a family and it’s such a beautiful community surrounding and to be a part of that has been really cool,” Akkermans said.
Being Miss Ponoka Stampede has also granted her many different traveling opportunities such as going to Omak, Washington to represent thePonoka rodeo as well as representing the rodeo in many other different places in Canada.
Even though traveling and representing Ponoka is tiresome, Akkermans said it is a positive experience because she gets to meet other girls shehas so much in common with like the other rodeo queens.
“The girls who do this love what they do and they love every minute of it,” Akkermans said. “We almost call it a sisterhood we have so manysimilarities. We all understand what it’s like to be sleep deprived and yet still having to compose ourselves and look the part when we’re halfasleep. You become the best of friends even when you’re competing.”
She also said that being a public figure and communicating with all sorts of different people from all different walks of life is a great part of italso.
Akkermans said she has the desire to run for Miss Rodeo Canada because it is an incredible opportunity to even just compete for the title andcompeting gives her a great deal of experience.
“You grow so much as a person and gain all this knowledge working on your horsemanship and preparing yourself as a person to be able towithstand the competition because it is pretty intense,” Akkermans said. “It will be fun, but I wont be getting a lot of sleep during that week, butthe experience in itself is really rewarding.”
If crowned, Akkermans will have the opportunity to travel all across America and will go to Australia. She will attend 400 to 500 events in oneyear.
She hopes to win the title as she loves promoting the rodeo sport, being emmersed in it and being an ambassador for it.
“I love being a role model and taking on a leadership role,” Akkermans said.
As Miss Rodeo Canada Akkermans would be responsible for being a good role model as other queens would look up to her as well as childrenbecause little girls and boys in the stands get excited to meet her as she is Miss Ponoka Stampede.
“Anything you say to them can mean so much to them,” Akkermans said. “It gives you such a platform to have an awesome impact on otherpeople and the sport of rodeo.”