Stampede Queen Cheyleigh Sand has been busy over the past year helping with community events and on the road promoting the Williams Lake Stampede.

Stampede Queen Cheyleigh Sand has been busy over the past year helping with community events and on the road promoting the Williams Lake Stampede.

Stampede Queen recalls a great year

Well, it’s that time of year again! The Williams Lake Stampede Queen Contestant applications are in.

Cheyleigh Sand

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

Well, it’s that time of year again!

The Williams Lake Stampede Queen Contestant applications are in.

It is hard to believe that almost a year has already passed since I entered my name and started working toward my dream of being Stampede Queen.

This year has been one of the best experiences of my life and I would not trade it for the world.

The memories and friendships I have made this year have been phenomenal. I had the honour of riding in both the parade and each of the grand entry performances at the 89th annual Williams Lake Stampede.

I also had fun meeting rodeo visitors while selling 50/50 tickets alongside some of our royalty alumni, and enjoying the hot summer sun as my fellow contestants and I volunteered together over the weekend.

With our hometown Stampede wrapped up it was time to hit the road to the Calgary Stampede the following week.

The first meet and greet of the weekend was held in our hotel where I was able to meet fellow royalty from Alberta for the first time.

We had a busy week with some major highlights such as riding in one of the biggest parades in Canada, and being introduced as the 2015 Williams Lake Stampede Queen while walking across the tarmac in front of a huge crowd.

The fun continued with events like square dance lessons where I got to partner with dancers from various other countries.

I was able to take in some great shows like cattle dog herding, heavy horse showing, and of the course the chuck wagon races.

Finally, the Grandstand Show was nothing short of spectacular!

Just a few weeks later in Omak, Washington, I found myself gripping my hands on a wire fence as I watched the famous suicide racers fly down Suicide Hill, race up on the dike and fly into the arena right in front of me.

It was a very exciting summer.

In September the rodeo road trips continued.

First up, I travelled to Olds Alberta for the first annual Bavarian Rodeo! Here I took part in my very first fly by grand entry, watched Kiera Isabella live in concert and met Dallas Smith.

Ahh the perks of being a rodeo queen.

I made it back home just in time to unpack, re-pack, and hit the road again, next stop Hanna, Alberta.

The Hanna Pro Rodeo is an indoor rodeo very similar to the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo, so it made me feel quite at home. I had the opportunity to ride in a small flag pattern as part of grand entry. Other queens and I shared many laughs as we joked while practicing our routines.

I finished 2015 with a bang as I took on my last trip of the season, the Canadian Finals Rodeo. What a trip.

For the first half of my trip I was able to room with a fellow queen who quickly became one of my very close friends.

We took in the first half of our experience together as we met famous bull riders Scott Schiffner and Jesse Torkelson.

Next we found ourselves laughing and playing in a photo booth while promoting our favourite sport, rodeo.

At the back number ceremony we had the privilege of escorting the 2015 Canadian finalist qualifiers on stage to receive their jacket and back number.

This is a memory I will definitely never forget.  For the second half of my CFR adventure I met up with Willy Crosina’s bus tour and my new roommate, a ranch hand from Switzerland.

The two of us became quick friends, with the Australians in the room next to ours, and travelled to watch the rodeo together each day.

While with the bus tour I was able to continue meeting fellow royalty to attend more events. One of my favourite events from CFR was Rodeo Magic.

At Rodeo Magic, attending royalty alongside CFR qualifiers are given the opportunity to buddy up with elementary students and teach them about each of the rodeo events by taking them through several small courses.

Finally, the Miss Rodeo Canada competition was underway.

What a thrill to get to watch the competition events and then be in attendance to see the 2016 Miss Rodeo Canada, Samantha Stokes be crowned.

Later at the MRC ceremony I was grateful to listen to the 2015 Miss Rodeo Canada Katy Lucas’s outgoing speech as she had become a close friend of mine.

All in all, what a rush.

After a busy and thrilling week and a half I was headed home.

After CFR I was able to keep busy by attending more in-town events such as Stampeders’ hockey games, the Santa Claus Parade and the Winter Carnival.

So here we are, contestant applications are in and although part of me will be sad to hand over my crown and see the end of my year as queen, I could not be more excited to see another girl awarded the same opportunities that I have been given.

I am very excited for the 90th annual Williams Lake Stampede and I hope to see many of you there.

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