Kaylee Shantz of Ponoka County was officially crowned as Miss Ponoka Stampede 2023 on May 6, at the Ponoka Stampede tarp auction.
“During my reign as Miss Ponoka Stampede, something I am exceedingly excited about would of course be the Ponoka Stampede,” said Shantz. “The Ponoka Stampede always has a very special feel, and I am so beyond grateful and excited to be celebrating the long-standing tradition that is the Stampede, in such a unique way.”
Shantz, 22, lives on a farm northwest of Rimbey.
Her family is legacy at the Ponoka Stampede, with deep roots in the sport of rodeo.
“The Ponoka Stampede has always been a very special event within my family,” said Shantz.
Her great grandfather Lloyd Shantz starting the wagon races and his brother-in-law, Tom Dorchester, drove his team after the flag dropped.
“I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Ponoka Stampede growing up, which was a great way to reconnect with family and friends, and share in the excitement, which acted a lot like a family reunion for us,” she said.
“My favourite part was of course the chuckwagon performances, as this is the event my extended family the Dorchesters are exceedingly competitive in.”
The Miss Ponoka Stampede competition is open to ladies aged 18 to 24. The winning candidate must display some knowledge of rodeo, an outgoing personality, and the ability to attend events and make appearances.
Shantz is well-travelled on the Alberta equine competition circuit and she is passionate about how the sport of rodeo brings communities together.
Shantz has been the Rimbey Rodeo Royalty coordinator, further strengthening her communication skills as she volunteered her time to help other young women develop their skills.
“I am really looking forward to being a part of the action and devoting my time to the community and rodeo that has given me so much,” she said.
“This year my hope is to make connections, encourage our younger generations and utilize this platform to share what makes the Ponoka Stampede so special. My family has always been heavily involved in the Stampede, and with this in mind, I hope to make everyone that has supported my journey very proud.”