Princess Haley’s June Update

Hey everyone! Can you believe that we’re less than 30 days away from the start of The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth?! We thought that things were getting busy before with our big trips to Berlin and Kentucky, but towards the end of May and now into June, we’ve ramped up to events almost every day.

While the types of events that we get to do vary throughout the year, the next month is going to feature two very important Stampede staples. The first is one that we had was back at Grey Cup in November: PANCAKES! We had our first breakfast of this year out in Victoria after spending a day aboard the HMCS Calgary to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary. We were honoured to be invited out to sea and experience how the ship’s crew operates on a day-to-day basis, and were happy to share a little bit of our western hospitality with them at the breakfast the following day.

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Hanging out at the bow with the Sea King helicopter doing flybys. SO cool!

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With Sonar the Navy mascot at the HMCS breakfast.

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From travels to Kentucky, to Grand Entries at Aggie Days, 2015 is great so far

Well, the last month has been an absolute whirlwind for us. The day after returning from Berlin we were busy with an event at Stampede Park and have been going steady since!

One thing that unites our trio, and is a major component of the royalty program, is a love of anything horse related, and we’ve been attending a number of horse events within the last few weeks. We were fortunate enough to spend a week in Lexington, Kentucky at the end of March, and all I can say was WOW! We had the opportunity to tour a few major Thoroughbred farms and racetracks down there and between the acres and acres of rolling green pastures and the barns that looked like castles, they were nothing short of incredible. The horse racing industry in Kentucky has such a rich history and the landscape absolutely matched. Coming from my family’s ranch west of Bowden, which is basically bush country, I was blown away to say the least!

The major purpose of our trip was for Road to the Horse, a world championship colt-starting competition that our coach Jim Anderson was competing and defending his championship title at. The competitors selected two colts each that had been barely touched, and within three days were riding them through an obstacle course. The calibre of horsemanship at the competition was amazing and there was something to be learned from all of the contestants.

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Jim Anderson horsemanship demo in Kentucky.

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Cheering on Jim with our Canadian Flag

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Stampede Princess Haley is just a big kid at heart

Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re already into February and less than five months away from the 2015 Stampede! While we had a nice little break over the Christmas season to catch up with our families, it was fun getting back into the swing of Royalty life towards the end of January. And with eight events within six days, we were back into it at full speed!

One of our first events of the week was out in Airdrie, AB judging public speaking for the Midnight Express 4H club. It was my first time acting as a judge, and I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous going into it. I had a hard time coming to terms with the idea of critiquing these young kids when they’re all so darn cute! However, any of the fear I originally had dissipated quickly once we got there. All of the kids did an amazing job on their speeches so it made our job very easy!

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After a busy day of judging, we had the pleasure of catching up with the Grey Cup committee at their wind-up dinner. It was great seeing a bunch of the faces that helped make Vancouver so special for us and everyone else out there! Thank you for everything that you guys do.

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One of the highlights of the week for me was getting out to Big Rock School in Okotoks, AB to be part of their Celebrity Reading Week. The week kicked off with a rocking start thanks to Calgary band Swift Olliver, who my high school friend is the lead singer for, putting on a concert at the school. We had a blast dancing with and interacting with the kids and the band put on an awesome show.

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After the concert, and on another day that week, we were able to read some of our favourite childhood stories and some new favourites to a few of the classrooms. After spending four years in business school where the majority of your reading is textbooks, it was great getting to relax and read fun stories to the kids. What surprised me was that a lot of the books that were my favourites when I was in elementary school are still popular today. When I mentioned to one class that my favourite book was “Stephanie’s Ponytail” by Robert Munsch, pretty much every kid in the room chimed up in recognition. It was great seeing how excited the kids were about reading, and it made it easy for us to get excited too!

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While we attend a variety of events with a diverse range of people, one of the most rewarding parts of this experience for me has been interacting with the kids. There’s something about having a crown on your head that makes them look up to you and want to tell you everything. You never know the difference that a kind word, a compliment, or even a smile can make to the life of a kid, even though we’re all big kids at heart!

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Until next time,
Princess Haley

Haley’s insight on her new role as 2015 Calgary Stampede Princess

Hi everyone! My name is Haley Peckham and I am one of the 2015 Stampede Princesses. With the competition in September and the multitude of events and training sessions we’ve already had, the last few months have been a whirlwind to say the least. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already have nearly two months under our belts as royalty!

Of those that knew me when I was younger, many were surprised to hear that I was trying out to be a member of the Royal Trio. I was fairly shy as a kid. Ok, REALLY shy…there was a point in my life where I wouldn’t phone the pizza man because it meant talking to a stranger. I also always considered myself a bit of a tomboy growing up and spent a lot of my time playing sports with the guys. Either that, or I’d be hunting and fishing with dad, or spending time outside at my family’s ranch west of Bowden. Just a week before the royalty competition began, I was camped out at Tsaydaychi Lake (aka the middle of nowhere, BC) fishing for rainbow trout. When I say middle of nowhere I mean it…it’s a 45 minute float plane ride from the nearest town into camp. And while the fish aren’t huge out there, you can’t beat the peace and quiet!

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While the sweatpants are usually replaced by blue jeans and boots back at home, the ball cap and lack of makeup are typical for me on our off days. However, I will admit it has been fun getting glammed up for our events!

Ultimately, what motivated me to try out for the trio was my involvement with the Calgary Stampede Showriders. I was a rider from 2009-2014, and came into contact with the Royalty at a number of events throughout those years. Because of spending so much time at the Stampede and representing the organization both locally and internationally, it’s something that I became very passionate about. They say that once you become a part of the Stampede family, you never really lose it. My Showrider family has been so supportive in this journey, and I’m so excited to be a part of the Royalty family now as well. I’ve already met so many incredible people on this ride and can’t wait to see what the rest of our year will hold!

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