Jamie Tanis, woman behind the Stampede Queen contestants

Behind the curls, the dresses, the crowns and the horses of the Williams Lake Stampede Queens there is one quiet organizer.

Tara Sprickerhoff

Tribune Staff Reporter

Behind the curls, the dresses, the crowns and the horses of the Williams Lake Stampede Queens there is one woman who quietly organizes the whole thing.

Perhaps you shouldn’t say ‘quietly.’ Jamie Tanis, the Williams Lake Stampede Association director holding the Queen’s portfolio is energetic and lively one-on-one, but she prefers to remain behind the scenes when it comes to organizing the Stampede Queen program.

“I’m a people person. I’m a one-on-one people person. I’m not big on talking in front of a big crowd. That’s not my thing,” Tanis says.

However, Tanis never shies away from meeting new people. One day she got lost trying to find Highway 20 from Stum Lake with a friend.

“We wound our way around and got out to civilization and there were some houses. It was like ‘eeny meeny miny mo, who’s the new friend we are going to meet today?’” she said.

“I think that comes from growing up in a town of 500 from the time that I was six till 18. You knew everybody and everybody knew you.”

Tanis hails from small-town Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. She met her husband, James, at the Multnomah School of the Bible in the “big city” of Portland, Ore.

“There were more people on the campus than I’d grown up with. It was culture shock,” she said.

After five years and a long distance relationship, the couple finally got married in 1985. They moved to Williams Lake the following year. James and his family are from the area; he grew up in Puntzi Lake and had lived both in Alexis Creek and in town.

“I was going to come with my husband for a year to get to know his family and the community. I’m still here,” Tanis said. “It’s been a long year.”

The couple now has two grown children, Sarah and Braden who grew up here.

“I came here and looked at Williams Lake and thought, it’s not too huge — I’m not a big city girl — but it’s not so small that you can’t access services locally and have your kids participate in schools,” she said.

Soon after arrival she started volunteering in the lakecity.

“When you’re in a community — this is my view —  you need to participate in the community and you need to give back. You need to volunteer. You need to find something that you are either passionate about to start with or something to develop a passion for. You might not know about the thing that you volunteer with but have a willingness to learn,” she said.

Tanis would be the first to tell you she knows “diddly squat” about horses or rodeo.

“Every year I’ve tried to learn something because when I started, and I still joke about it, I barely knew one end of a horse from another.”

When she started volunteering with the Stampede, she organized first aid for the stands. Not too many years later she was asked if she would let her name stand as a Stampede director with the Queen’s portfolio.

In her day job, Tanis works as a social worker with the ministry of children and families. She said she loves working with youth because she wants “to help people reach their full potential and help them do the best they can do.”

That is the same reason she loves working with the Stampede Queens and contestants.

“I’d rather help the girls muck out a barn than do the makeup and the hair and the gorgeous persona that they all portray so well, but I firmly believe that if you volunteer with youth you need to help them reach their full potential and everybody in our community contributes to the growth of that individual.

Taking on that portfolio was a good fit for me because it was with girls and helping them achieve their best. It’s been amazing. I just love watching the girls develop from when they become a contestant to the end, just before coronation,” Tanis said.

Throughout the summer, Tanis will be mainly organizing the girls’ schedules and budget, but as a treat to herself, she accompanies them on their trip to the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Edmonton.

“I decided that I needed to learn a little more about what life is like on the road for these girls,” she said.

“You get to learn a whole lot more about their personalities and the bobby pins that are flying around the room.”

In her spare time, Tanis enjoys getting outdoors, fishing, hiking and exploring the backroads of the area, even as she admits that directions are not her strong point. However, she forsees herself continuing to work with the Stampede Queen program for a long while yet.

“Youth are wonderful. We as adults can learn so much from them.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A detour via Mission Road is in place Sunday, Feb. 28 due to a vehicle incident. (Anna Fait photo)
Highway 97 closed south of Williams Lake Sunday morning, detour in place

Overnight, Williams Lake saw six centimetres of snowfall, according to Environment Canada

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read