After making it through tryouts in August, flag girls make their way to Edmonton from all over Alberta, plus a few from Saskatchewan, to take part in Canadian Finals Rodeo. Though they are paid a small stipend, it's really just a chance to get together with friends, watch events and be a part of rodeo. If they can't barrel race, being a flag girl is another way for the skilled riders to be actively involved. One show per day for five days, plus an afternoon show on Saturday the women are dressed and ready to represent rodeo sponsors. They all have to be strong riders who can ride fast one-handed and hold the flag with the other. Their horses are supposed to be black and bomb-proof to handle the crazy environment and close quarters behind the scenes.
Photography by Amber Bracken
Kenna Lockwood, right, and Jenni Malin wait in the prep area during the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta.
Dominica Bowden leans out to check on her horse, a first time flag horse. Bowden, from Australia, works in Alberta and helps her bronc-riding boyfriend on the circuit.
Kenna Lockwood changes after a ride.
Corinne Alstott puts on her chaps as she prepares for the start of the rodeo.
Flag girls watch Miss Rodeo Canada Nicole Briggs leave the ring.
A horse with a braided mane stands for a rider to mount. Like the riders the horses have to try out to make sure they can handle the hectic environment and extra demands of carrying the flags.
The flag girls are all accomplished riders, even if they aren't in the program, and they help transition between events.
Kenna Lockwood hugs her horse after riding a pattern with the other women.
Adrienne Dick waits in the prep area with her horse.