Riding a horse with the right cowgirl hat and finding their personal queen wave is a dream for many young women.
Those who are under 17 will be able to fulfill this dream at Canadian Finals Rodeo 2019 this fall. CFR has added the first-ever Rising Stars Rodeo Queen Competition this year. The competition is similar to Miss Rodeo Canada – a pageant for women between 18 and 25.
“The Rising Stars programming does not just look at what youth can do in the arena, but also works on their skills outside of the arena with workshops on managing their social media (presence), public speaking, and interviewing skills,” said Christina Sturgeon, Agriculture Events Sales & Production Assistant Manager at Westerner Park, and creator of the Rising Stars Junior Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Contestants will compete in a number of categories over the three day competition. From Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, participants will be judged on horsemanship, public speaking, modelling and personal interviews taking place at Westerner Park.
Some might question whether the long lived traditional pageant that involves modelling might be outdated for today’s world where women’s empowerment and rights are a big deal.
Miss Rodeo Canada 2018 Brittney Chomistek said the modelling portion is a fun way for girls to show their personalities on stage and have fun with it. The country themed modelling event is sometimes sponsored which allow girls to show off they’re comfortable on stage with the country-themed clothes they have on.
“It’s not a beauty pageant so the modelling – they’re not judging how pretty you are, or how skinny you are or how tall you are, they’re modelling their personality on stage. All eyes are on you and I do think it’s cool to have it. Our organization is really big on individual and women’s power and rights,” said Chomistek.
The pieces women wear are also conversational starters because people might ask them “I love what you’re wearing” or “Where can I get that?” which helps be comfortable and confident.
In some cases, the clothes aren’t sponsored and women are allowed to get creative with their outfits – which helps with their fashion skills.
“Some girls wear leather dresses, some girls wear a little bit more funky it’s a way to see their personality up on a stage modelling those outfits,” Miss Rodeo Canada 2018 said.
Whether the clothes will be sponsored at the Rising Stars Rodeo Queen Competition in 2019 is still being figured out.
The skills and confidence women gain at the competition come in handy throughout their life, Chomistek said. For instance, the interview and public speaking portion will someday help women when they go out for job interviews.
Sherri Smith, publicity and promotions chair at Soroptimist International of Central Alberta has seen first-hand a young woman participate in a similar rodeo princess competition. She “blossomed” Smith recalled adding that the competition gave her confidence and improved her horsemanship skills.
“It opened up a big new world for her,” Smith said.
The organization that advocates for women and empowers them with education welcomes a platform that can help shape girls’ future and personal growth, Smith explained.
Westerner Park’s Sturgeon said the event is unlike a beauty pageant and the modelling portion is a small part of the event.
“It’s about creating great youth inside the arena as well as outside the arena and creating ambassadors for the sport they love. Whether they’re doing that through the rodeo queen process or through rising stars, I don’t think it really makes a difference,” Sturgeon said.