Western Horse Review sat down with the 2018 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio, Queen Lindsay Lockwood, Princess Jaden Holle, and Princess Jessica Wilson, to discuss their year as Royalty. The women reflect on their biggest moments, their most gratifying connections and what they hope to leave behind as their legacies as they prepare to hand off their crowns to the up-and-coming trio. The Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses competition is nearing soon and the 2019 trio will be crowned September 24.
*Photos courtesy of Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses
1. What have been your most memorable experiences since your reign as Queen began?
This year has been absolutely packed with memorable experiences and new opportunities, which makes this a very difficult question to answer! My first instinct is to describe the “big” things. Things like traveling to Berlin, and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. However, I truly believe that what has made this year so special is the sum of all the “little things.” One memory in particular is coming to mind. On the morning we were leaving Berlin, I remember standing outside of our hotel with our Indian Princess, Cieran Starlight. It was a beautiful, clear morning, which made leaving even harder. Cieran invited us to smudge with her before we travelled that afternoon. It was the first time I had smudged. What a beautiful experience! It is in those small moments that I feel the most grateful for this incredible year.
2. Can you please tell us about your experience applying to become part of the royal trio? How did you feel the night you became royalty?
Although it may sound cliché, becoming a member of the Royal Trio has been a life long dream of mine, and so being crowned the Calgary Stampede Queen this year really was a dream come true. There were so many reasons I wanted to apply for this program. I come from a family that is filled with strong and compassionate woman who have contributed to the Calgary community. In fact, I am a 5th generation Calgarian and I am very proud of that fact! I really wanted to give back to my city and the community that has supported me throughout my life. The royalty program seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. The initial application process was quite simple. We were required to submit a short essay explaining why we were interested in the royalty program along with a few supporting documents. Then the contest began! The contest itself far exceeded my expectations. It was such a unique and supportive experience. I loved it! Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of nerves throughout the month-long process, but overall I had a total blast. Every year, the prestigious reputation of the Calgary Stampede draws such accomplished and dynamic young woman to participate in the royalty search. This year was no different. I met some of the most interesting and admirable woman throughout the contest, and we had a ton of fun together. We participated in speech competitions, judged equestrian shows, and multiple interviews. It was a truly challenging and rewarding process. Crowning night brought a medley of emotions for me. I was thrilled. I was honoured. I was a little shocked. It was the best night of my life up until that point. Little did I know, the magic was only beginning.
3. How has this experience changed you life?
Have you ever heard someone say, “your life can change in an instant?” If so, then you have a very wise friend. Keep them around. If not, I am telling you now……. it’s SO true. For me, the instant I was crowned was the instant my life changed for the better. I was immediately welcomed into a loving Stampede family that has continued to support me through some big challenges this year. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I am especially grateful for my Royal family: Jaden, Jessica, and Cieran. Truthfully, I am getting a little emotional writing this because I really do love these women. They are so incredible. I am so blessed to have them in my life and I will forever be grateful to the Calgary Stampede Royalty program for bringing us together. Being in this role has given me a renewed sense of confidence in myself, and my abilities, that will undoubtedly serve me well in my future. Whatever it may look like! I have learned the meaning of dedication, and have gained a better appreciation for what it means to be an impactful volunteer and a responsible citizen.
4. The royal trio are often role models for the younger generation, what is the one thing you would like to pass on to those children who look up to you?
I have a few favourite quotes that I keep tucked away in my memory for days when I need words of encouragement. One of my favourite quotes goes like this, “But what if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” (Erin Hanson). This felt like the perfect opportunity to share this quote. It is so easy to let fear prevent us from pursuing our dreams. I would tell those children to go for it! Take risks, and learn from your missteps!
5. Can you please tell us about your royal horse?
This year I have been working with our beautiful mare, Blue. As her name implies, Blue is a 6-year old blue roan. She was started as a working cow horse by our talented trainer, Clay Webster. Blue is the youngest member of the royalty team, and she is a very smart girl! She is a very quick learner. Last year was Blue’s first Calgary Stampede, and she was a total rock star! It has been only up from there. She has the sweetest personality and loves people, so she really is the perfect royal ride.
6. Have there been any obstacles you’ve had to overcome this year?
This year has been one of the best, but most difficult years of my life. I lost my Mom in March to Multiple Myeloma. She was my greatest supporter, and my best friend. She knew how much my dream of becoming Stampede Queen meant to me, and she told me that the night I was crowned was the proudest moment of her life. My Stampede family has been incredibly supportive of me through this difficult time. Everyday, I try my best to continue to make my mom proud. I know that she is looking down and smiling, knowing that I am still pursuing my dreams.
7. What have been your favourite outfits so far?
We are so lucky to receive such beautiful things, and to represent the brands and individuals who provide them to us. Janine is one of those awesome people we are proud to represent. Janine (Janine’s Custom Creations) is our sponsor and designer, and she is the talent behind many of the unique outfits we wear. Janine is particularly gifted in leatherwork, and she designed and created our custom leathers this year. My favourite outfit we have received are our formal parade leathers. They are made of gorgeous caramel coloured leather with intricate cut outs, and adorned with crystals and fringe. There is something so special about wearing a piece that was created just for you. What makes this custom outfit particularly special to me is the small silver heart on the back of my jacket. Janine added it to represent my Mom, so that I can carry her memory close to me, always.
8. What will you be most sad to say goodbye to when you pass on your crown?
By far, my favourite part about this role is the people. The individuals who dedicate their time to our program and to the Calgary Stampede are simply the best. Our committee is comprised of the most selfless and kind people, who would do just about anything for us. It will be hard to spend less time with them when a new trio is crowned. Having said that, I am positive my involvement with the Stampede will not end when I pass on my crown to the 2019 Queen. I am looking forward to joining the Queen’s Alumni and being involved for years to come!
9. What is your best tip or piece of advice to the ladies that will be vying for the 2019 title?
If you are unsure about running, DO IT! The contest itself is so much fun, and really beneficial. My best piece of advice is to just be you! The judges really want to get to know you, so give them every opportunity to do that. Its not about the clothes or the glitter, its about the people and the passion. Share your passions with the people you meet, and remember that everyone is rooting for you to succeed. Including me!