Raise a girl on a cattle and grain farm in Blackie, give her two older brothers to toughen her up, throw in some horses and what do you get? The only student at the University of Calgary who's cowboy hat boasts a tiara-the newly crowned Miss Rodeo Canada Jennifer Bird.
"I am certainly very excited to have this opportunity," said Bird of her role as Mount Royal College. "It's sort of like a whole change of direction for my life."
Bird has come a long way from her beginnings as a child in "Little Britches Rodeos." Having won not only Miss Rodeo Okotoks, but also Horsemanship and Public Speaking, Bird entered the Miss Rodeo Canada race as a strong competitor, and, on Nov.7, the 21 year-old Communications and Culture student beat seven other rodeo queens from across Western Canada to become the newest member of Canadian rodeo royalty.
Bird sees her position as an ambassador not only for Canada but for the sport itself and all it represents.
"Rodeo is about patriotism, integrity, determination, and sportsmanship," said Bird.
Bird's role as Miss Rodeo Canada will send her to over 30 rodeos this year. She already attended the Western Canada Agribition in Regina in late November and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
"Being Miss Rodeo Canada is a lot of hard work which most people don't realize because when the public sees me they only see the glitzy part of it all," explained Bird explained Bird about the demanding position. "It is a volunteer position, but requires more time than a full-time job. It also takes a lot of skill."
Bird is also an active member of the University of Calgary chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta and volunteers with Big Sisters & Big Brothers of Calgary.
After her reign as Miss Rodeo Canada, Bird will finish her degree at the U of C and plans to go on to law school.
Though she never thought of herself as the pageant queen type, Bird has readily accepted her new role and urged other U of C students to learn more about rodeo.
"I encourage everyone to go out and take in a professional rodeo," Bird concluded. "Rodeo is a fast paced, action-packed thrill ride from beginning to end, and I know many people at the U of C could grow to love this sport."