June 13th, 2024

Two-gal royalty showdown

By Peggy Revell on July 12, 2018.

Stampede Queen contestants Abby Perrett and Haley Schlenker are seen during the horsemanship portion of the contest on Wednesday, July 12, 2018 at the Stampede grounds. The public speech event takes place July 12, the fashion and tea on July 13 and the crowning on July 14 during the kick-off dance.


There’s more to Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede royalty than being a pretty face —and that’s what contestants set out to prove Wednesday night with the annual horsemanship competition.

“You need to cowgirl up and show you have that ability. You need that type of down-in-the-dirt grittiness,” said Candice Ristau, royalty committee member and the horsemanship night lead, as contestants for this year’s Stampede queen crown took to the MHES grandstand arena to demonstrate in front of judges and a crowd their skills in presentation riding, Western equitation, trail pattern, barrel racing, serpentine and even pushing cattle.

There are two contestants for the 2018 crown — Abby Perrett, who hails from a farm in the Raymond area, and Haley Schlenker, who is the fourth generation on her family farm west of Medicine Hat.

Current Stampede Queen Lacey Palichuk and Princess Ava Padfield were also on hand for the night, demonstrating their skills during the final days of their reign.

Stampede queens need to have horsemanship skills, said Ristau. And she should know, as she was crowned queen back in 2008.

“It was a very important part of our reign,” she said, with numerous events throughout the year royalty will be involved with — from parades, to pushing stock at rodeos, grand entries and presentation rides — which means they have to handle any situation.

With horsemanship now rapped up, the next public event is speech night, which takes place tonight at 6 p.m. at the Cypress Centre Auditorium with a $25 admission including supper.

Friday is the fashion show and tea at the Cypress Centre Auditorium, with a carnival starting at 5:30 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m.

The kick-off dance and queen crowning will take place on July 14, with tickets $5. The dance starts at 8:30 p.m., and crowning at 9:30 p.m.

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