Representing the Ponoka Stampede was an eye opening experience for reigning queen Ashley Akkermans and she is eager to continue her duties as Miss Ponoka Stampede by making more trips to other communities.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. Just getting to represent for rodeos, that means so much to me,” said Akkermans.
Akkermans got into the rodeo game later than most girls who become queens but her passion and knowledge shone through and made her a favorite. Coy little girls would wave, smile and call out as she talked with Ponoka News.
Akkermans says whenever she had a free moment during Stampede Week, she would climb into the stands to get as much interaction with the fans as she could. “It’s fun because the kids look up to you, and it doesn’t take much.”
“And this not only inspires girls but promotes the sport,” she added.
Adding to what she already knew about rodeo queens, Akkermans says her time at the Ponoka Stampede has helped her gain a greater understanding of how important they are to the sport.
“It’s a little bit of what I expected but at the same time it was so much more,” said Akkermans.
Akkermans was also able to surround herself with other rodeo queens and many other supporters of her journey, including the stampede’s board of directors.
“They have been the best committee to represent and be a part of,” said Akkermans.
“It’s really incredible because most successful people in life hang around with other successful people,” she added.
The entire Ponoka Stampede was an endless loop of fun and learning experiences for Akkermans but she says there are a few memories that stick out. Akkermans had an art piece to sell in the annual auction and she says she loves that the Ponoka Stampede Association purchased it for the Stage Coach Saloon. “It’s quite the honour to have it purchased by the committee.”
She adds her journey was made even better by all the fans and supporters of rodeos. “I just want to thank all the sponsors who help out our rodeo. It’s been awesome having so many people backing us and supporting us.”
Akkermans says come fall, she is going to hop back into the saddle and throw her name in for Miss Rodeo Canada, which is currently held by Miss Ponoka Stampede 2014 Katy Lucas.