Howdy everyone, Queen Maggie here, enjoying this beautiful February weather. Just this past weekend Princesses Chelsey, Bailee and I spent a day out in the Priddis area taking part in our second photo shoot of the year. Continue reading
Hey y’all, Princess Chelsey here again, back at it for the New Year! As per usual, we’ve been keeping quite busy, but realizing that this is to be our slow time before all of the extra excitement of spring time hits, we’ve been enjoying our down time while we can! I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about one event that we get to attend each and every month, and will continue to all through the rest of the year…Happy Trails! If you think that was me bursting into song…you’re mistaken. Happy Trails is a monthly event put on by the Calgary Stampede Promotions Committee where we tag along to various retirement homes for an evening of singing, line-dancing, and spending time with the residents.
We love the Calgary song!
Howdy everyone & Happy New Year!
As Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I prepare for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and continue our journey as the Royal Trio, we find ourselves spending a lot of time with three dashing princes – our horses, of course! Riding is a big part of becoming a Stampede Queen or Princess; there are three different equestrian portions throughout our competition and improving our horsemanship is an integral part of our year as Stampede Royalty.
Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I riding Snoopy, Hawk and Kansas in our final riding competition
Hey y’all! Princess Chelsey here, returned in one piece from Viva Las Vegas! What a busy couple of weeks we’ve had, coming back from Winnipeg to head South only four days later!
It was both Queen Maggie’s and my very first time in Vegas, so luckily we had Princess Bailee and Indian Princess Vanessa to show us the ropes. Don’t worry, we were behaved and brought a heap of western hospitality to share.
We went down to experience the National Finals Rodeo, so not unlike our own Stampede week, the city had turned western! A few more bright lights than we’re used to, but just as many cowboy hats I think! We spent a lot of our time at Cowboy Christmas at the Calgary Stampede booth, promoting the Stampede and entering people to win a trip for two up our way in July. If you don’t know what Cowboy Christmas is, imagine the largest building you’ve ever been in, double that, and then fill it with all kinds of booths selling rodeo gear, western apparel, horse trailers, and more pairs of cowboy boots than I knew even existed! So in other words, heaven on earth. Needless to say, I came home a few dollars poorer.
I even found a hoverboard at Cowboy Christmas! (I’ll stick to walking though) Continue reading
Howdy! Princess Bailee here, back to tell you all about the fantastic time we had in Winnipeg celebrating the Grey Cup this weekend. The Royalty Trio has been going to the Grey Cup for a very long time, and we want to give a huge shout out to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee for inviting us to join them again this year, and for being such wonderful hosts. We started our week off by visiting St. Gerard School to bring a western style party for the students and staff! We had great music, line dancing, tons of “ya-hoos”, and a room full of fabulously decorated cowboy hats. The students’ spirit was contagious and we had a blast singing, dancing, and conga-lining with everyone!
Two stepping with a young cowboy at St. Gerard School Continue reading
Anticipation filled the air on Stampede Park throughout the months of September and October as the competitions for Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses and Calgary Stampede Indian Princess were underway. To narrow down to the final three Stampede Queen and Princesses, 21 hopeful contestants took part in a four-week long contest with numerous competitions such as public speaking, equestrian, personal interviews and more. The Indian Princess pageant took place over two weeks, with five applicants and several events, including speech training, horsemanship and attending community events.
Excitement reached its highest peak with the crowning of Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt, Stampede Princess Chelsey Jacobson, Stampede Princess Baillee Billington and Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm. These four new Calgary Stampede ambassadors have already begun the journey of a lifetime; the Royalty have already attended events representing the Stampede and will make more than 400 appearances throughout the year. So just who are these four young women and what are they looking forward to this year?
It’s hard to believe that April is almost over and soon it will be May! The last month has been full of events and from our sneak preview of May’s schedule, we will only be getting busier from now until Stampede time! All I can say is that I’m so glad Princess Kimberly, Princess Haley and I get along so well because we sure do spend a lot of time together.
Just this past week we were interviewed by Branded Magazine, which is a local magazine geared toward the “young, bold, and thriving in YYC” (as their facebook page says). The interview was for the upcoming summer issue which will feature a few stories on the lesser known facts of the Calgary Stampede. It was a great opportunity for all three of us to sit down and share some of our experiences so far. One of the questions that came up during the interview was a common one; “how do all three of you get along?”
Well, we all looked at each other for a moment and then Princess Haley answered by saying;
“We all get along because we are just nice, easy going ladies.”
It was during this moment that I thought back to the start of the competition and to how nervous I was to meet all the other ladies who were entering as well. I had never entered a competition like this one, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping to meet some nice girls and make a few new friends, but to be completely honest, I was afraid that I was going to be thrown into the mix with a few Miss Congeniality/Rodeo Girls and really wasn’t sure how I’d cope with that. Luckily for me, all of the ladies who competed were very nice and personable. Not only did I make some new friends, I also ended up being crowned alongside two of the smartest, most dynamic young women I have ever met. Continue reading
The Calgary Stampede has always been an important part of my life. From Parade Day until Showdown Sunday I was enthralled by everything Stampede.
Whether it was participation in the Breed Demonstration at the old Ag tent, or being a spectator down by the rail at the Rangeland Derby, I spent the majority of Ten-Day down on the grounds. This passion for the Stampede was a major motivator in trying out for the Royal Trio. However, before this year, I had no idea of the magnitude of the corporation: there are over 3500 volunteers and employees who invest countless hours both over Ten-Day, and year round into this unbelievable organization. They all share a common passion: The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. While we had the privilege of meeting countless volunteers involved with numerous committees, there are a few that stood out in our amazing year, and really showed us what it means to be part of the Stampede Family.
To the Promotion Committee, thank you for the line dancing and singing lessons (both of which were desperately needed), and for the genuine western spirit you shared with us, and that you share around the entire city year round. It was a privilege to work with such enthusiastic volunteers that demonstrate the core values of the Calgary Stampede at each event you participate in.
The Courtesy Car Committee was there for us during the highlight of our year: Stampede 2014. This is an amazing group of gentlemen who, among other more important duties, take care of us and make sure we get where we need to be during an incredibly hectic ten days. We were lucky enough to have 22 fantastic drivers with us for Stampede. From car paint (sorry not sorry, Harry!), to milkshakes, Starbucks runs, Sillabub, and laughing / rapping to our “special song”, this committee made an already incredible Stampede even more special.
Finally, to the Royalty Committee, there are no words to describe how grateful all three of us are for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This year not only did we get to experience a vast number of special and unique events but we grew as individuals, and as a team. The life skills we’ve learned this year are invaluable, and most certainly be taken with us wherever we go in life. Thank you for all you have done behind the scenes to make this year so special. You run a phenomenal program, and we are so honoured to be able to say we were part of it. Thank you for introducing us to what is sure to be a lifetime as part of the Stampede Family.
As bittersweet as passing our crowns on will be, I speak for Shannon, Stephanie, and myself when I say the Stampede will not be getting rid of us that easily. Once you’re accepted as part of this remarkable family, you’re here for a lifetime. Thank you to this incredible organization that has given us so much.
So…the Canvas Auction was last night. Am I still a little bit jazzed this morning? Maybe… Ok, definitely. That is one of those events that signals that Stampede is approaching rather quickly, and we are all super excited about it. We’ve been up to our eyeballs with Stampede this week, from the AGM to the Canvas Auction, and it reminds me of what a phenomenal organization the Calgary Stampede is. At the AGM on Monday, we met past royalty, long time volunteers, and people who were attending their first Stampede AGM. It was amazing to see the array of people who all gathered under the Stampede umbrella, and it really made me proud to be a part of this organization. They are people who dedicate countless hours all for the love of the Calgary Stampede. It’s humbling, and reminds me that the worth of something cannot always be quantified.
Continuing with the theme of volunteerism, we went to the second annual Marit Cup, a fundraiser put on by Calgary Christian School that was held in memory of Marit McKenzie, an amazing girl who passed away last year. She was a student at CCS, and was actively involved with the David Foster Foundation during her final year of high school. She continued to give after her passing, by donating all of her organs and tissues. Seeing the legacy that was left by Marit made me realize that age has absolutely nothing to do with helping others. At 18, she was able to do more than most people do in a lifetime. She gave all that she could, and then some.
What I saw Wednesday should not only make her family proud, but her community as well. Although she was not an official volunteer of the Stampede, what she left behind was the true embodiment of the Stampede spirit; generosity, hard work, and helping your neighbour. It just goes to show that the spirit of Calgary Stampede can be found everywhere, in everyone. This city, and the people in it continue to amaze me with their depth of character and commitment to community.
I am proud to be a Calgarian, and a part of the Calgary Stampede.
So, if you keep up with our facebook page (which I am assuming you do if you are reading this blog…if not, get there now), you will note our safe return from the sea of green. We got to go to the Grey Cup Festival, and I can’t even begin to express how much fun it was. The province was so green that I almost thought that it was summer time again… Just kidding! It was almost -30 every day. But seriously…that province is all about the Roughriders. I couldn’t turn my head without seeing more green. Even the lights outside of our hotel were green.
We went with the Calgary Grey Cup Committee, who have been going every year to the Grey Cup since 1948. They hosted two different pancake breakfasts this year, serving around 3000 people the first day, and close to 3500 on Friday. Allowing those pancakes to leave my hands and go not-to-my-mouth was one of the harder things that I have done in my life. (Read on to learn the hardest…)
We also got to go visit a local elementary school, where I was schooled in dancing by children one fifth of my age. I choose to think that they were laughing with me. Speaking of people who schooled me in dancing, Carly put on another flawless performance for the kids, doing a traditional jingle-dress dance. She also tried to teach me how to do it… we have decided that we are well suited to our roles of dancer and supporter, respectively.
The Grey Cup Committee also continued their tradition of checking a horse into a local hotel.
Yeah, you read that right.
This year the horse took an extra tour through both a bar, and a local BMO branch. I was able to ride him a bit (read: sit on him while he stood like a statue) in the bank, and I have a feeling that it might be one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ things… Good thing I got a picture.
Other things that I got a picture of: me getting screeched in.
While we were traveling the Festival rooms, we went into the Atlantic Schooners room to see what was up… and well, they have this crazy tradition in Newfoundland of being ‘screeched in‘. (FYI: I did not actually drink the screech…the gentleman in front of me was kind enough to offer to drink it for me. His facial expression really let me know how much he enjoyed it…)
Let me preface this next story: I have this GIANT AND TOTALLY RATIONAL fear of fish. From minnows to piranhas, I fear them all. Like, I won’t even go swimming without somebody else because I am so scared of touching them. This phobia is obviously a sign that I am a more highly evolved individual.
We had just been introduced by the host of the room, and were on our way into the crowd when we heard them invite one of us up onto the stage. I was the closest, so I climbed the stairs not knowing what was about to happen…and that’s when I saw it. The Fish. Just staring at me, with that frozen, horrible expression waiting to give me the kiss of death. I was sixth in line, and with every step forward, I felt his evil fishy-spirit becoming more and more vengeful as he watched his corpse being kissed by strangers… As I knelt down to kiss him, it came to a crux… a drop of frozen fish-juice was headed straight to my knee. A combination of fear and cat-like reflexes enabled me to avoid The Fish’s last act of evil on this planet, and saved my jeans from irreparable damage. (Ok, it would have come out in the wash, but whatever.) Then, I leaned in for the kiss. Or rather, I leaned back, and that fish came at me like a wrecking ball… the lady holding it was not about to let me fake it, apparently. The hardest thing that I have ever done was not actually kissing the fish, but repressing the blood-curdling scream and fear-tears that wanted to come after.
I can honestly say that despite facing my fear, I have not overcome it. There is no truth to that saying.
After some discussion, we’ve decided to supplement our weekly vlogs with some good old-fashioned written blogs. This way we can keep you guys even more updated on our crazy year. As a side note, our vlogging may be a little bit delayed: with two science degrees and a communications degree between the three of us, we didn’t come into this whole vlogging topic with much, i.e. ANY, experience. Please bear with us for another week or so, and cross your fingers for a video soon; I know I will be.
We’ve had a busy last couple of weeks, so apologies for being a bit behind in our blogging. Since the end of October we’ve seen our new Stampede sister Carly Weasel-Child receive her crown, then we were whisked off to Banff following the ceremony. Princess Shannon will be telling you all about our stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Travel Alberta Conference in our next blog (or maybe vlog), which means I get to share our experience at Happy Trails! We also recently attended the Conservative Party Convention Rodeo, and the Canadian Finals Rodeo so stay tuned for more on those events!
For those of you that don’t know from previous years, Happy Trails consists of us going to a retirement home once a month, where we get to visit, mingle, and sing with any seniors who wish to attend. Yes… sing. One of the first things you should know about me before I continue is that I cannot sing. I took vocal lessons for a year or two when I was younger (I think I was about six), until my mom started pushing for me to start playing the piano instead. Coincidence? I really doubt it. Throw that lack of singing talent in with a major head cold that left me with very little voice, and it is safe to say I was terrified en route to our Happy Trails event.
The Stampede Promotions Committee and a band complete with a bass and two guitars greeted us upon our arrival at Whitehorn Village. This is when I grew even more nervous; we were told that not only were we expected to walk around and visit/sing with the seniors, but also were expected to perform in front of everyone! With microphones! I tried to push this thought from my mind as I began to talk to people and sing quietly with members of the retirement home. As the night progressed, I realized that nobody in the room cared if I could actually carry a tune; they were all there to have fun. By the time it was our turn to lead a song for everyone I was having so much fun myself that all my nerves had disappeared. Stephanie, Shannon, Carly, and I led an entertaining, albeit off key, rendition of You are my Sunshine complete with all verses. All of us were surprised to learn that it is not the cheery little jingle we learned as children; those last couple verses certainly bring a darker side to the song!
After our spectacular performance we continued to mingle, and even led a couple line dances, or two-steps in my case when I got too lost to continue. Another highlight from the night was learning the Spanish names to some of the songs we were singing from one of the residents. “Valle del Rio Rojo” (Red River Valley) is one of the ones I remember best, and Ricardo and I had a blast laughing at my horrible Spanish accent.
Off key Royalty singing aside, our evening at Whitehorn was a great success. Happy Trails has been one of my favourite events this year and I can’t wait to attend our next one in a couple weeks time! Who knows, maybe we’ll see such improvements in our vocal talents over the year that we could include it in a vlog segment… no promises though.
Danit’ada / Tansi!
My name is Eva Meguinis and I am from the Tsuu T’ina Nation, and also from the Samson Cree Nation. I am your 2011 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and I would like to share with you what this title means to me and the journey I have been on so far.
When I was crowned Indian Princess, it was such an amazing experience and I was incredibly happy and excited. The ceremony was very beautiful and my fellow contestants were so supportive and unique. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to share this once in a lifetime experience with them.
I never really knew what I was getting myself into, or how big the moccasins were when I stepped into them. Anxiously, I came in ready to represent in such a positive way. It just makes me that much more appreciative and grateful to have been honored to carry this title and be the face of not only Treaty 7 but for natives in general to people from all over the world.
The crowns are more beautiful than I could have expected, and I have three very distinctive and wonderful women – Jenna, Stephanie and Whitney – who I get to share my reign and the four of us will proudly represent the Calgary Stampede.
The ladies of the Indian Princess Committee are so kind and words cannot express how grateful I am to have been given such loving and open-minded group who surround me with nothing but positive everything!
Last but not least, this is really a life changing step that I have made in my life and I am so happy – happy to share myself and my culture with the world. I have and will continue to meet very different people and I am very proud to carry on such a historic legacy not only for the Indian Princess and the Calgary Stampede, but also for my people as well.
This week I had a chance to catch up with our 2010 Calgary Stampede Queen, Katie Rochon. Katie is originally from Ottawa – but now considers herself a Calgarian. She is a student at the UofC, finishing a Psychology Degree and plans to attend law school after that. Katie has always loved horses and has been riding for 12 years, competing in show jumping. She is a wonderful young woman who along with the Princesses and Indian Princess truly has done a fantastic job representing Calgary and the Calgary Stampede around the city and country.
10 Questions With… Katie Rochon, the 2010 Calgary Stampede Queen
1. Congratulations on your 2010 Calgary Stampede Queen selection! Tell us a bit about the competition and what lead you to this point.
Thanks! I dreamed about being Calgary Stampede Royalty as a little girl,so I always knew that it was something I wanted to strive for one day. I am particularly fortunate in that one of my best friends was a former princess. She encouraged me to try out and supported me throughout the entire competition. The competition itself took place over a five week span and included public speaking, dinners, interviews, riding competitions, mix and mingle events… they didn’t really leave anything out!
2. Were you nervous at any point during the competition, since there is so much at stake?
Absolutely! You really put yourself out there in situations such as that, so it’s hard not to be nervous. I think the magnitude of the competition really hit us during the Canadian Rodeo Tour Championship’s Rodeo right before the crowning.
3. The Royal Trio is rich in tradition through the history of the Calgary Stampede. How must it feel to be a part of this history now?
Kirstie, Janelle, and I all feel extremely honoured to be a part of the Calgary Stampede. As our year has progressed and we have become increasingly involved and knowledgeable about the organization, our respect and appreciation for it has continuously grown. The employees and volunteers that devote their time to the Stampede truly are amazing.
4. How many public appearances does the Royal Trio plan to attend throughout the year, and more specifically, how many during the 10-day Calgary Stampede? You must have a very organized calendar to keep track of everything!
Over the course of the year we attend around 500 events. It certainly keeps us very busy! During the Stampede alone, we will attend around 200 events. I don’t anticipate much sleep for us during these ten days but we are very excited!
5. Your schedule sounds grueling but also quite exhilarating. Has there been a highlight event that you have attended thus far?
We were fortunate to be able to attend the Olympics as Calgary Stampede ambassadors! That was truly a once in a lifetime experience for us all. Another highlight for us was getting to spend the day with a little girl named Ava who sadly suffers from cancer. We helped to make her wish of becoming a “cowgirl for a day” come true. It was a very special day for us. The events that we attend are so varying in scope- we are lucky to get to experience so many wonderful things!
6. You ladies look so beautiful and put together at each and every event, how many wardrobe changes must you go through in a year?
We have quite the extensive wardrobe that we have accumulated throughout the year! We certainly go through a lot of wardrobe changes, but we are very lucky to have a fantastic team behind us to help us look our best!
7. Wearing a cowboy hat for so many hours will inevitably produce ‘hat head’…do you fight it or embrace it?
I think I fought it for about the first two months of our reign, but have since conceded defeat. I wear my ‘hat head’ proudly now. Luckily during Stampede we will basically be living in our hats!
8. Have you any advice for up and coming Stampede Queen and Princess hopefuls?
If this is something that anyone wants to try I would sincerely encourage them to get out there and do it! I realize that for some the thought of going through the competition can be a little daunting, but sometimes taking that first step is the most difficult and courageous one of all!
9. What are you most looking forward to during this year’s Calgary Stampede?
There are so many new exciting things on the Stampede line-up this year. There are plenty of new events for Calgarians to check out including the Rock and Roll Fantasy Ice Show and the Cowboy Up Challenge. I don’t think I can pinpoint just one thing that I am looking forward to! We are all just so excited to be playing a role in The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!
10. The “Promise” campaign has been distributed all over the media. What is your personal “Promise” for this year’s Calgary Stampede?
I promise I will try to bring a smile to the face of everyone that I meet, and be the best representative that I can be of the Calgary Stampede and our wonderful city. Our western values and heritage are something that we all can be proud of!
Thank you Katie, you are truly a delight! I hope you enjoy every minute of your busy Stampede schedule. Why not keep in touch with what the Royal Trio is up to by joining their own Facebook page, or stay tuned to the official Stampede Blog to see some of their very own blog posts.