While all the rodeo royalty hopefuls comport themselves well each selection day, only one can be crowned queen.
Kaylee Shantz of Ponoka County was named Miss Ponoka Stampede 2023 on April 25.
Three contestants vied for the title, competing in several categories including horsemanship and public speaking, at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.
“Yesterday was bittersweet as I passed down the torch of Miss Ponoka Stampede to the very capable hands of Kaylee Shantz,” said Mackenzie Skeels, Miss Rodeo Canada 2023 and Miss Ponoka Stampede 2022 in a Facebook post.
“Congratulations Kaylee. You will do a incredible job representing Ponoka.”
Shantz, 22, lives on a farm northwest of Rimbey.
Her dream is to pursue a career in the field of child psychology and she holds several different health care certifications.
She is well-travelled on the Alberta equine competition circuit and she is passionate about how the sport of rodeo brings communities together.
The 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.
The two other hopefuls were return contestants from 2022: Ashley Gillespie and Emily Roessler.
Gillespie is currently working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Red Deer Polytechnic, with the goal of obtaining a medical doctorate or PhD specializing in neuroscience.
Her Great Uncle Pete Knight was the first cowboy inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Roessler, from northern Alberta, was born into an agricultural family and competes in draft and saddle horse events.
There were six rodeo queen hopefuls in 2022: Martina Hotlkamp, Codi Wilson, Harleigh Zack, Roessler, Gillespie and Skeels.