Monica Lamb-Yorski photo                                Williams Lake Stampede Queen Kaylee Billyboy shows James MacKenzie the art of roping during the Rogers Hometown Hockey street festival.

Monica Lamb-Yorski photo Williams Lake Stampede Queen Kaylee Billyboy shows James MacKenzie the art of roping during the Rogers Hometown Hockey street festival.

Highlights from six months as Stampede royalty

Kaylee Billyboy reflects on her first six months as Stampede Queen

Kaylee BILLYBOY

Special to the Tribune

What a year it has been and I’m only halfway through. Travelling to attend so many events as Williams Lake Stampede royalty is such an experience.

I got to start my reign at our very own world famous Williams Lake Stampede. What a busy but incredibly amazing rodeo we have. I always love Stampede time! Following that weekend, I headed to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede where I not only got to meet the Calgary royalty but I also got to meet other visiting royalty. I was honoured to be able to take part in many stampede activities like square dancing and pancake breakfasts and so much more. This weekend included a big highlight of mine which was the parade where I got to borrow an amazing horse from John Scott whose horses are filmed on the well-known TV show Heartland. Not only was the horse amazing, but being able to ride a horse through a big city like that and see so many people come out and watch was great. The whole trip I was treated like true royalty and will definitely not forget that rodeo.

After the Calgary Stampede and the wildfires, I was lucky to attend another big rodeo which was the Omak Stampede and Suicide race. This is by far one of the coolest events to watch as it reminded me of home and our mountain race, although this race is a little bit bigger and a little scarier. Being able to take part in grand entries, parades, tours and so much more was busy but also fun. I was also treated amazingly here as I was provided with a great borrowed horse from a lovely family in Omak and I was lucky enough to have a sponsored hotel room from a very generous supporter of their royalty program. Being able to take in the rodeo and the powwow was also great. The people there were amazing and being one of the few visiting royalty from Canada I sure felt welcomed and well looked after. This was another rodeo I will definitely not forget.

Later in the summer brought me down the rodeo trail to the Smithers Fall Fair and Rodeo. I got to take part in their rodeo grand entry and I also was able to help push cattle. On the same weekend, I found myself a little closer to home on Sunday at the Alkali Rodeo where I got to also take part in grand entry and push cows there as well. Both were fun rodeos to attend.

Following that brought me to the Nicola Valley pro rodeo in Merritt during the Labour Day long weekend. I was provided a lovely horse to ride in the parade and grand entry as well as push cattle. Thank you to the Merritt Rodeo Association for hosting me and providing me with a great horse to use, also a big thank you for the sponsored hotel room. This was an amazing rodeo to attend and one to remember.

The next weekend I found myself travelling back to Alberta for the Oldstoberfest Rodeo. This rodeo is unique as it is the world’s only Bavarian rodeo. There I got to visit many seniors’ homes and schools as well as take part in the rodeo. During the rodeo, I was provided a great horse to do a flyby to represent Williams Lake and I also got to help out with the mutton busting where I got to see many future champs compete. For some it was their first event in the rodeo arena. This trip was not only great because of the uniqueness of the rodeo but I was also lucky enough to be hosted by a past Williams Lake Stampede Queen Kirsten Johnson (Braumandl) and had the trip sponsored and chaperoned by her mum Sharon Macdonald. It was truly appreciated for the generous acts of kindness these two lovely ladies provided for me over the weekend.

Following that, I headed over to Hanna, Alberta where I got to take part in many town activities. Events included the parade, high noon gunfight, mini chuck wagon races and grand entry in the rodeo. This little town was far from home but they sure knew how to celebrate their rodeo weekend in a unique way, which made the weekend amazing.

As the rodeo season wound down I was so very fortunate to be able to attend the Canadian finals rodeo! This was a really great rodeo!

Not only did I get to watch and cheer on the Canadian champions of 2017, I also got to take part in many great events like helping with the Miss Rodeo Canada competition as well as the cowboy magic where special needs children got to come to the rodeo arena and experience what it’s like to be a cowboy or cowgirl for the day.

I also got to meet lots of new friendly faces as well as catch up with some familiar friendly faces. The biggest highlight of the week for me was being able to meet some world champion rodeo competitors who are my heroes.

Along with travelling all over, I’ve also been able to take part in many events at home. I took part in the 4-H workshop day where I got to present a workshop on goal setting. I was also able to attend the Stampede Wildfire relief fundraiser; this was great to see all the support that the people of our city have and give. I have also been lucky enough to attend some Stampeders Hockey games all of which are great fun.

The last event I was able to attend was one very unique event that not every town gets to boast about. This was the Rogers Hometown Hockey event.

I was able to see a whole different side of the game hockey and the culture of hockey in our town. This weekend was filled with lots of fun events and I was able to share how rodeo is much like hockey in the sense that fair play and sportsmanship are always key elements in the competitor’s world.

My adventures have been quite an experience and everything has definitely been very big highlights to remember.

Thank you to all the sponsors that make the Williams Lake Stampede Royalty happen. I look forward to what the future holds for me. And I hope to see you at many more events as well as our 92nd World Famous Williams Lake Stampede from June 29 to July 1!