Warwick Rodeo Queen on tour in Canada
A CHANCE conversation during rodeo week has landed the 2014 Warwick Rodeo Queen Erica Geppert on a plane to Canada.
The 25-year-old leaves the Southern Downs tomorrow for a whirlwind fortnight in Edmonton, Alberta for the Canadian Rodeo Finals.
A trip overseas was always on the horizon with the local rodeo queen quest, but the opportunity for two overseas tours came as a complete surprise for the newly-crowned arena ambassador.
"I knew the winner of the title would have the chance to go to America next July and that was an amazing opportunity," Ms Geppert said.
"But then Warwick Rodeo president John Kiss was chatting with Sharon Koke, the Canadian Rodeo Queen co-ordinator during rodeo week and the subject of a Canadian trip came up.
"So to put it simply I was offered the option of going to Canada and I just had to embrace the chance."
Ten days later she has packed her winter woollies during a Queensland heatwave ahead of a 30-hour trip to Alberta, where it's just started snowing.
Jetsetting across the globe, being part of an international rodeo event and sitting in on the 2014 Canadian Rodeo Queen judging has the local retail manager pinching herself.
"I really can't believe it; being named Rodeo Queen has pretty much been a life- changing experience for me," Ms Geppert said.
"It sounds a bit clichéd, but I never expected anything like this to happen to me."
The well-spoken addition to rodeo royalty grew up in western Queensland, spending time in Charleville and Cunnamulla.
"My dad ran Primac Elders and we always had horses so my childhood was really rural," she said.
"We shifted to Toowoomba in 2000 and I started school at Downlands which was a huge adjustment for my family, but it did mean more opportunity."
From school she worked in the thoroughbred industry, before taking a job with RM Williams.