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Miss Ponoka Stampede competing for national rodeo crown

Two Rimbey area cowgirls vie for spot as Miss Rodeo Canada
Martina Holtkamp. (Photo by Leslie Dawn Photography)

Two Rimbey area cowgirls will be competing against six others for a spot as Miss Rodeo Canada.

The Miss Rodeo Canada competition runs the first week of November in conjunction with the Canadian Finals Rodeo from Nov. 1-5.

There will be eight girls running this year, which is the most in over 10 years.

Martina Holtkamp is one of the girls going for the position.

She entered her first rodeo at seven years old, which happened to be the Rimbey Rodeo.

“That was my first time seeing a rodeo queen and then I actually wrote a story about it when I was in Grade 1, saying when I want to grow up I want to be a rodeo queen,” said Holtkamp.

That goal stuck with her and she was the Rimbey Rodeo Queen in 2014, Miss Rodeo Sundre in 2016 and after taking a little break, became Miss Strathmore Stampede in 2022.

Holtkamp said she’s a big advocate for rodeo, especially in her role as the secretary on the Rimbey Agrim Society, in different pro-rodeo committees, and through the Canadian College Rodeo Association.

“I just love building the sport and sharing it with others, so the role of Miss Rodeo Canada is to literally be the spokesperson for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, and you travel all across Canada and the United States promoting rodeo,” she said.

The role consists of anything from school visits to seniors’ homes to visiting other rodeos and so much more.

Holtkamp holds her degree in Agri-Business from Olds College and has worked in Agriculture Finance for the last five years.

In her spare time, she competes in rodeo in ladies’ cow riding, pole bending, barrel racing and goat tying.

She also of course loves volunteering in rodeo.

The 26-year-old said she’s excited to represent the Strathmore Stampede and is thankful to have such a supportive committee behind her.

She has four younger sisters and currently lives outside of Blackfalds and is in Rimbey all of the time as her parents are out there.

Kaylee Shantz, whose family lives in Rimbey, will also be competing for Miss Rodeo Canada.

Shantz started riding at about 10 years old in the horsemanship ring.

“I did a lot of western in the early stages of my riding and then progressed a little bit into the english world as well.”

Shantz said rodeo is a passion she developed on her own, as her immediate family doesn’t rodeo.

“It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve had so much fun, so it was really exciting to collide my equine passion with my passion of the sport of rodeo, because I get to do both on a daily basis being a rodeo queen,” said Shantz.

She does, however, have deep roots in rodeo from her cousins, the Dorchesters, who assisted in bringing chuckwagon racing to the Ponoka Stampede, which she said was a big part of why she wanted to run for the title, as she is currently Miss Ponoka Stampede.

“It’s an absolute honour. I’m so proud because that’s actually where my family started the legacy.”

Shantz grew up in Airdrie, but her family moved to just outside of Rimbey in 2012 and have been living on a farm ever since.

She said her original plan was to take Ponoka to Canada as she wanted to represent something dear to her heart going on a national stage

“I really wanted to promote my passion for the sport of rodeo and utilize that unique platform to bridge the gap between urban and rural, and to really reconnect fans to our roots and our heritage.”

Shantz added that the sport of rodeo really gave her a community, as she didn’t grow up in a rodeo family like many others.

“I have a huge community within rodeo just because I enjoy the sport and because I’ve been travelling around with it as a rodeo queen, so I love the community, teamwork and all of the amazing qualities that rodeo has to offer. I just would love to represent that on a national stage.”

In her spare time, Shantz is a certified healthcare aide and certified occupational first aid attendant level three.

Her passion lies with psychology, and she would like to be a psychologist and earn her degree, eventually working towards her master’s degree one day.

Shantz also rides a lot, doing both western and English riding. She does some showjumping and loves to read.