In an emotion-filled ceremony Saturday evening outgoing 2014/15 Stampede Queen Michelle Ball crowned her successor Miss Daybreak Rotary Cheyleigh Sand as the 2015/16 Stampede Queen.
Outgoing 2014/15 Princess Matina Durfeld presented Cheyleigh with her banner.
Under new rules established by the incoming Stampede Queen Committee only a queen will be crowned if there are three or fewer contestants running, as there were this year, says committee chair Alexis Forseille.
“I feel amazing,” Cheyleigh said after all the flowers were presented, accolades and speeches, presents and awards were presented, and pictures were taken.
“It hasn’t totally sunk in yet but it feels good,” Cheyleigh said. “This is one thing I’ve wanted to do for the past four years … I am very excited.”
Cheyleigh said she started volunteering at the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo a few years ago and shadowing the Stampede royalty and contestants. “I was really impressed with the program and knew that when I was old enough I wanted to run for Stampede Queen.”
She says she is looking forward to being with her two fellow contestants at the grand entries at Stampede June 26 to 29 and excited about going to the CFR Rodeo.
She says it was an awesome experience to run for Stampede Queen with her fellow contestants Miss Minton Creek Ranch Stephanie Warnock and Miss Titchener Contracting Paige Brinoni and she is looking forward to taking in Stampede with them.
Forseille, who formed the new Stampede Queen committee in February says the decision not to crown a princess when there are three or fewer contestants is in keeping with what is now being done in the Alberta rodeo queen contests.
She says the contestants always have a chaperone with them and she will be personally escorting Cheyleigh to the major events this year, taking time out when she returns to school for her third year as an animal biology major at TRU in Kamloops to make the trips to events such as the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Edmonton in tne fall.
“It’s been really easy,” Forseille says “The girls have been absolutely phenomenal. I am having fun.”
The new Stampede Queen Committee also includes Alexis’s mom Silvia Dubray, Kathee Sukert, and her daughter 2013 Princess Karina Sukert, who co-hosted the evening with Forseille. Sherry Bullock is the Williams Lake Stampede Association board’s Stampede Queen’s Committee director.