The Williams Lake Stampede’s 2018 Stampede Queen Lauren Hurd (from left) sits with Willie Crosina and 2018’s Stampede Princess Emilie Nichols at the 2019 Stampede Dinner, Dance and Auction Evening. Patrick Davies Photo.

Williams Lake Stampede throne to sit vacant over 2019/20

Royalty competition has no suitable contenders this year, but looks forward to future

For only the third time in its history, the Williams Lake Stampede will not have a Stampede Royalty Competition.

This decision comes due to a shortage of qualified candidates in the lakecity area this year according to the Royalty Program’s director Patricia ‘Patti’ Gerhardi. However, she said interest in the community is still strong and they only intend for this to be a one-year hiatus.

For 76 of the Williams Lake Stampede’s 93 years of existence, the Williams Lake Stampede Royalty Competition has been an integral part of the celebrations. So much so that it’s only been cancelled twice before: once because of Second World War in the 194os and again later due to disputes over the rules of the contest.

Last year several Stampede Queen and Princess alumni gathered to celebrate the history of the Stampede Royalty program, with many taking part in the parade.

Last year’s competition saw only two women compete for the crown, rather than their usual three. Gerhardi said they did so because both were extremely qualified contenders. Laurin Hurd was ultimately crowned 2018 Stampede Queen and Emilie Nichols was crowned 2018 Stampede Princess, both going on to successfully represent the Royalty Program and Williams Lake.

Read More: Williams Lake Stampede Queen and Princess crowned for 2018/19

This year, however, due to a mix of age, circumstances and distance there was only one qualified contestant for Stampede Queen by the time applications closed on April 1, 2019. Making the decision to not hold the competition this year was a sad one, Gerhardi said, as she views the rodeo as one big family.

“We hope to look at other options, in order to maintain the program,” Gerhardi said. “In this day and age, there are so many poor choices for our youth and in my opinion having the chance to (work with the Stampede means) you learn how to work hard, to be compassionate and to be a good sportsman. Those are all qualities that make a good person in my mind.”

Looking to the future, Gerhardi said she is optimistic for the program. Kaylee Billyboy, 2017’s Stampede Queen, and other Stampede alumni had what Gerhardi calls a “very successful” Stampede Queen clinic recently where nine young ladies attended. The age range for running for Queen is 17 to 23 and three of the girls that were most interested in doing so were 16, making them prime candidates for the 2020 contest.

Read More: 75 years of Stampede Queen history

At the Stampede this year Gerhardi and other members of the Royalty Program intend to turn out in force to promote the competition for next year, highlighting the long-term benefits it grants. Interested applicants for next year need to be willing to volunteer their time, be involved or willing to get involved with the community and preferably be good horse riders, Gerhardi said.

“We’re sad this year but we’re not going away and we will be out and about promoting the program,” Gerhardi said.



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Williams Lake mayor to give presentation at national forest fires symposium

Walt Cobb said he was invited to share information on what the Williams Lake area is doing post 2017 wildfires

Pinettes bring home hardware from waterski nationals

“It should be a really nice experience, and I’m excited to hopefully get some PBs there, too.”

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read