Outgoing Williams Lake Stampede royalty said they have become lifetime friends.
During a farewell speech to city council Tuesday, July 16, Stampede queen Laurin Hurd and princess Emilie Nichols talked about not knowing each other when they were crowned back in 2018 and how they grew close as their terms unfolded.
“Emilie has been nothing but kind, nice and supportive and our relationship is one I’m blessed to have,” Hurd said.
She also thanked Mayor Walt Cobb and council for their support, acknowledged everyone that invited them to attend events, and said being in the royalty program is about the connections you make.
“I’ve grown in my confidence,” she added. “I cannot explain how much this experience has changed me.”
Nichols said at first she hoped she wasn’t in for a ‘mean girls’ experience, but quickly realized that Hurd was there to support her as well.
“Seeing rodeos up close and personal taught me a lot about the rodeo community and how everyone involved has each other’s backs,” she said.
Because there were no contestants for 2019, the two did a longer than normal stint and attended the 2019 Williams Lake Stampede as well.
Patti Gerhardi, royalty director, told council the royalty program will continue.
Contestants have to be between 17 and 24 years of age, and for the 2019 contest many of the applicants were too young.
“We had nine young ladies who hope one day to run,” she said. “Three were graduating but that’s difficult timing with Grad and the Stampede, another one got “her dream job and decided to take it and others were outside our 100 kilometre radius.”
Praising the efforts of Hurd and Nichols, Gerhardi said they were very successful in public relations.
“They were getting applications and invitations to grand openings of businesses even,” she added. “If you had a chance to see little people so enthralled by the royalty then you know how they were received.”
Gerhardi said someone told her that the royalty program creates equality for females.