This week, five young women will compete for the title of Miss Rodeo Canada in Edmonton. One of them is Carolynne Vallee, Bonnyville's Pro Rodeo Princess.
The contestants will compete and participate in various activities from a ranch rodeo, parade, seminars, interviews and meet and greets. They will be judged in categories such as public speaking, rodeo knowledge, horsemanship and a fashion show.
“I'm excited and nervous,” says Vallee. “It's coming a lot quicker than I expected.”
To prepare, Vallee says she has been riding a lot, studying her rodeo knowledge, organizing her wardrobe, and studying the pageant events.
When Vallee was in Grade 9 she saw Miss Rodeo Canada at the Bonnyville arena. She says she doesn't quite recall, but her mother remembers what Vallee told her.
“I told her, I could do that, I could be Miss Rodeo Canada. And now here I am, running for Miss Rodeo Canada.”
Vallee says she is most looking forward to riding in the Canadian Finals Rodeo, meeting the other contestants, and making new connections.
As for the tough stuff, Vallee is trying to stay on top of her rodeo knowledge. “There's lots of rules and lots of people to know, so for me that's the biggest challenge.”
Vallee believes what sets her apart from the competition is that she doesn't come from a rodeo background.
“You don't have to be born and raised in the rodeo world in order to do this. If you have a passion for it, you have a passion for it, and that's all there is to it. Basically you can do whatever you want, whatever you dream of.”
Vallee says most people don't realize that the contestants aren't able to ride their own horse in the competition.
“Miss Rodeo Canada is expected to be able to ride any horse because she doesn't really get to bring her horse with her,” she explains, adding that the winner must feel confident enough in her skills to ride any horse.
Vallee was crowned the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo Chuckwagon Association Princess last May. It was the first time the BPRCA crowned a queen and princess in several years. She says her parents have been very supportive of the experience.
“I just love the opportunity to represent something like this,” says Vallee. She says her favourite part of her role is riding in rodeos and chuckwagons, and carrying the Canadian flag.
Vallee is studying animal sciences at Lakeland College in Vermillion. If she were to win Miss Rodeo Canada she would be prepared to give up a year of school, but would return after to pick up where she left off.
So what does a rodeo princess like Vallee do in her spare time?
“Ride,” she says. “I really love to ride so that's what I do in my spare time.”
Vallee has been involved in Bonnyville's 4-H club and riding since she was nine years old. She has also taught riding lessons.
The Miss Rodeo Canada Pageant takes place in Edmonton from Nov. 5- Nov. 12.
“The opportunities are endless, really,” she says. “If I were to win I think that I would have a lot of doors open up for me.”