Stam­pede roy­alty ready to rep­re­sent Medicine Hat

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Alberta - BY JAMIE RIEGER jrieger@prairiepost.com

Ha­ley Sch­lenker and Abby Per­rett are geared up and ready for a busy 12 months ahead as they rep­re­sent Medicine Hat on the rodeo cir­cuit and at re­gional com­mu­nity func­tions. The

2018 Medicine Hat Ex­hi­bi­tion and Stam­pede Queen and Princess, re­spec­tively, have al­ready been tak­ing part in events across the city as the an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion and stam­pede kicks off.

The two had com­peted in last year's event that saw eight com­peti­tors vy­ing for the Stam­pede crown. The loss did not dis­cour­age ei­ther one of them who worked hard to get ready for the 2018 Rodeo Queen con­test.

As the only two who en­tered the con­test, they al­ready knew each other, which made the ex­pe­ri­ence that much eas­ier.

"Last year, we had eight girls com­pete and we didn't know what to ex­pect. This year, we knew each other. It was a dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere and that al­lowed us to bond eas­ier," said Sch­lenker, adding that they help each other through any chal­lenges they may face.

Sch­lenker who grew up on the fam­ily farm west of Medicine Hat, has been in­volved with rodeo in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties, in­clud­ing as a bar­rel racer with SAAMIS Bar­rel Rac­ing and the Chi­nook Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion. She is a mem­ber of the Medicine Hat grand en­try team, some­thing she would like to be more in­volved with. She also vol­un­teers for the an­nual horse show.

Sup­port and con­nec­tions with for­mer Stam­pede roy­alty was her in­spi­ra­tion to com­pete this year.

" I am good friends with some for­mer roy­alty and I had a lot of sup­port from them. They re­ally in­spired me," she said.

Sch­lenker re­cently re­ceived her Bach­e­lor's de­gree in Nurs­ing and cur­rently works in the Psy­chi­atric and Ma­ter­nity wards at the Medicine Hat Re­gional Hospi­tal.

Per­rett grew up in the Ray­mond/Coal­dale area and was al­ways close to her grandpa's side as a young girl, learn­ing as much as she could about horses.

"My grandpa re­ally in­ter­ested in horses. He taught me how to ride and it was him who en­cour­aged me to com­pete in the Rodeo Queen con­test," said Per­rett, who has done some team rop­ing with him.

Per­rett would like to start a rid­ing drill team for young girls who as­pire to be part of a grand en­try team.

"I want to start a rid­ing drill team for young girls who can work up to grand en­try, for those who are too young to be a grand en­try girl. It would start the next gen­er­a­tion," she said.

Typ­i­cally, the rid­ers start out with rid­ing the spon­sor lap, then work their way up to do­ing the an­them ride, and fi­nally, the grand en­try.

Per­rett has taken part in cat­tle drives, cow­boy chal­lenges, and trail rides and has rid­den in many pa­rades, in­clud­ing at the Cal­gary Stam­pede. She was also part of the Cal­gary Stam­pede Show Rid­ers.

Sch­lenker and Per­rett would both like to see more girls com­pete in the Rodeo Queen con­test and en­cour­age them to give it a try next year.

Pho­tos by Jamie Rieger

The 2018 Medicine Hat Ex­hi­bi­tion and Stam­pede Queen, Ha­ley Sch­lenker (pic­tured, right) and Princess Abby Per­rett (pic­ture, left) are ex­cited for the up­com­ing 12 months when they will serve as am­bas­sadors, rep­re­sent­ing the City of Medicine Hat at...

HA­LEY SCH­LENKER

ABBY PER­RETT

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