Five entered the arena on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Canadian Finals Rodeo with the dream of becoming Miss Rodeo Canada 2015, but only one would walk away with the crown and this year it was Ponoka’s own representative.
Katy Lucas achieved her goal of becoming Miss Ponoka Stampede in May of this year but she had been dreaming of Canada’s highest crown since she was three.
A week after she received the title, and a new truck, Lucas says she is still in shock. “Every time I look out to the yard, I’m surprised to see that truck out there.”
Before walking into the arena that Friday, each contestant was given careful instructions on what to do and being a top-notch student who graduated from Lethbridge College with honours, Lucas says she listened carefully, right up until her name was announced.
“I barely heard my name being called, I was so nervous . . . Nicole (Briggs, Miss Rodeo Canada 2014) was talking to me but I don’t remember what she said,” said Lucas.
“And one of the other contestants had to actually nudge me forward,” she added.
The competition ran from Monday Nov. 3 to Friday, Nov. 7 and Lucas says she felt she might win but the tough competition posed a challenge.
Nov. 3 brought the horsemanship event and Lucas was given three animals she had never ridden before to show off her abilities to the judges; she won the segment. “I just used my knowledge of horses . . . to get the best out of each horse.”
The girls also had a written exam, which was composed of horse and rodeo knowledge. “I felt the questions really related to what a Rodeo Queen should know, so I felt confident in my answers.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 4 the contestants were immersed in their personal interviews. One of the judges was Doug Wade, who is very knowledgeable in the world of rodeo pageants and had guided a number of Miss Rodeo America champions.
“They made it so you could talk about your strengths,” said Katy. As a post-secondary communications graduate, Lucas was able to tell the judges how she can use media to promote the sport.
One such question pertained to Lucas’s rodeo hero Kadee Coffmann. “Doug (Wade) asked me if I got to meet her what would I say, and I said ‘I wouldn’t say anything I’d just listen.”
Each contestant was required to read a speech and Lucas injected a little humor into hers by focusing on the funny, stereotypical items cowboys keep in their trailers.
Following that was an article read and impromptu current event type questions to ensure the next Miss Rodeo Canada was well-educated, up to date on current events and could think on their feet.
Thursday, Nov. 6 saw the contestants visiting the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the St. Michaels Long Term Care Centre, which supports many individuals with mental health issues.
“I was a little bit nervous, I’ve never done anything like that before in any of my Rodeo Queen positions but when I got there, it was really cool,” said Lucas.
“So whether they knew why you were there or not, they knew they were happy,” she added, referring to the St. Michael’s patients.
“It wasn’t a cake walk,” Lucas reflected. One of the biggest challenges of the competition for her was the feeling that she did not want to let her supporters down if she was not crowned.
Following the relief of no longer having to compete, Lucas spoke with Wade, who told her she needed to work harder on being herself without holding back. “I’m good enough to be myself; think you’re good enough to be yourself,” Lucas said.