Sporting bright smiles and sequinned shirts, three girls competed in the first-ever Smithers Rodeo Queen fashion and speech finals on Friday.
Houston’s Adele Murray, Amber Gregorowich and Becky Dallaire were all running for the royal title, which is also granted based on rodeo knowledge and horsemanship skills.
Savannah Davies, the 2010 Williams Lake Stampede Queen, joined the contest as an emcee and mentor to the first-time contestants. She said the pageant is a major confidence builder.
“I can speak in front of crowds now without batting an eye,” she said, noting that she and other rodeo royalty had to speak at pageants and stampedes all over B.C.
Saturday’s horsemanship contest, where the girls showed off Western reigning patterns, is also a good primer, said Davies.
“It prepares them for the future because you have to be ready to ride any horse they give you for grand entries.”
But before the glamour, Davies said it helps to have real rodeo experience.
She got her start steer riding at the Kispiox Rodeo at age 12.
“The first ride I don’t remember so well,” she said. “It was mainly just getting in the chute, everyone telling me what to do at once, opening the gate and then seeing dirt.”
Sponsored by the Smithers Rodeo Club, organizer Andi Houlden said the annual event is open to girls ages 16 to 23 so that the winner can to go on to Miss Rodeo Canada in Edmonton.
This year’s Smithers Rodeo Queen will be crowned on August 18, just in time to preside over the Bulkley Valley Fall Fair.