By Mo Cranker on July 17, 2017.
As one era begins, another ends in the world of Medicine Hat Stampede royalty.
The Cypress Centre Auditorium was packed Saturday evening for the crowning of this year’s Stampede queen and princess.
After handing out a few awards and congratulating all of the eight contestants, the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede named Lacey Palichuk as queen, and Ava Padfield as princess for the 2017 year.
“Honestly I got the biggest butterflies in my stomach,” said Palichuk minutes after being named. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just won queen.’ This is truly a dream come true, and I could not be more proud of my horse I used in horsemanship — I’m really excited.”
The biggest factor in the judging process throughout the competition is personality, which is judged at every point in the week-long contest. Palichuk won the award for best personality, and said she is looking forward to getting started as queen.
“It was a super warm feeling I got when I won personality — it’s truly an honour,” she said. “We have a few events tomorrow (Sunday) actually … We’re jumping head first into it.”
Though she did not win the first-place prize, Padfield said she is very excited to be princess for the year.
“There was definitely a lot of shock, and just about every emotion you could name on this planet,” said Padfield. “This means the world to me and has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. To be able to be a role model for the other young people in Medicine Hat is a dream come true.”
Padfield said there are too many things to list that she is looking forward too, but knows her breakfast life is going to get better.
“I’m really looking forward to the pancakes,” she joked after being crowned princess. “I’ve been told, ‘If you don’t like pancakes, you will.’ The parade is coming up fast, and I think that’s when it will really hit me and Lacey.”
Past-chair of the event Donna Kirchner said this year’s crop of contestants truly was top notch.
“I believe that any of the eight girls that were on that stage tonight would have represented us beautifully,” she said. “I have never in my life come across a group of girls that jelled so cohesively — it is an amazing thing to see.”
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