Naomi Akkermans, left, receives her crown from 2018 Miss Ponoka Stampede Alicia Erickson as Ponoka Stampede Association president Bruce Harbin looks on. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

New queen has name familiar to Ponoka Stampede fans

New reign begins

The newest Ponoka Stampede queen has a familar ring to her name.

Naomi Akkermans has been selected as the 2019 Miss Ponoka Stampede, following an arduous selection process on April 26. She made her first official appearance at the annual Ponoka Stampede chuckwagon tarp auction held at the Stagecoach Saloon on May 3.

“I’m excited. It’s a dream come true for me and the accomplishment of a huge goal,” she said.

With the hard part now over, Akkermans is preparing for the long list of events and appearances that lay ahead.

“I am prepared and simply ready to get going,” she said. “I know it will start getting busy soon, constantly going to events, but I’m ready to go through it.”

As for the name, Naomi is the younger sister of 2017 Miss Ponoka Stampede Ashley Akkermans, though if someone didn’t know better it would be tough to see.

“We are very similar in some ways and yet so different,” she said, adding the pair both love horses and the rodeo life.

“The thing is we are both strong in our own way, though it’s pretty cool that we have both gotten to represent the Stampede, something that has been a huge part of our entire lives.”

Akkermans also knows it will take just a call or a text to her big sister if she wants some royal advice.

All that said though, Akkermans wants to use this next year to turn back the clock somewhat and recognize the cool grassroots history that has made the Ponoka Stampede what it is today.

“The legacy I hope to leave is to show thanks and honour all of the builders, those grassroots people,” she said.

“I want to ensure that appreciation shows through to those that make it all happen.”

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2019 Miss Ponoka Stampede stands with Ponoka Stampede Association president Bruce Harbin after having the crown officially handed over on May 3. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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