By Lauren Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
MEDICINE HAT – Come July 30, Medicine Hat will have a newly crowned Rodeo Queen and Princess after the 2019 winners, Queen Rayelle Smith and Princess Dionne Freimark, enjoyed a two-year reign.
According to Lori Siedlecki, chair of the Queen Committee for the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede, they are “still proceeding with a traditional competition with our main events as horsemanship, speeches and the fashion show.”
Siedlecki explained more about how the decision for who is crowned Queen and who takes Princess will be determined.
“The components of the decision for who is Queen and Princess is 50% based on their personality, so throughout the week where they go, travel to, there’s judges that follow them to see how they are interacting with the community, and then 30% is the horsemanship and then 20% of their mark comes from speeches.”
Siedlecki says the two competitors for this year’s crown will visit businesses and interact with customers there, visit a seniors’ home, and do some news interviews.
“The judges are basically just looking to see how they interact with other people,” said Siedlecki. “Because a big part of their reign is interacting and promoting the organization, so they should know all the details about Stampede, especially this year, because we’re not having a traditional Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede.”
The two 2021 competitors for Rodeo Royalty, Bailee McNaughton and Makayla Gross, started the competition off with the horsemanship component Thursday evening. Speeches go tonight at 6 p.m. in the Cypress Centre Auditorium, followed by the fashion show Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
“During competition we still have to decide who is going to represent each one. They’re both going to do amazing; either of them will be perfect for either role. They’ll both shine, no matter what.”
Siedlecki went on to say, “We have loved having (our 2019) winners on for two years. We kind of thought this last six months of their reign, we’d be able to capture a few more things, but they’ve only been able to appear at a few events. They were just at the Calgary Parade and loved it there.”
Sielecki looks forward to the events and the crowning.
“We’re going to crown at the outdoor rodeo down in the dirt on the Friday night performance,” said Sielecki. “The current Queen and Princess will end their reign with our hometown rodeo so I think they’re looking forward to that.”
You can visit mhstampede.com/rodeo-royalty/ for a full list of events, locations and more information about this year’s competitors.
By Lauren Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Medicine Hat News