- Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:30
- Written by Pat Kolafa | © DrumhellerMail.com
For years the Calgary Stampede has been billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, but coming into its centennial year, it is looking bigger and better than ever.
And what a year it will be for 23-year-old Danielle Gariepy of Rockyford who will have a front row seat to it all as one of the Stampede Princesses. In fact, it has been a ride of a lifetime since she won the prestigious honour last September.
“I was crowned on October 2, which was also my birthday, so it was a really good day,” Gariepy told The Mail.
She is in elite company with Stampede Queen Candice Lee of Cochrane and fellow princess Jessica Manning of Longview. Indian Princess Amelia Crowshoe joins them, and all are charged with the duties of royalty, and it is a hectic pace.
“We’ve been going since October, and we do community events. We have also been travelling a lot. We were in Vancouver for the Grey Cup in November, and we went to Anaheim in March, Berlin, and we are going to Washington in June,” said Gariepy explaining they partner with Travel Alberta and the Canadian Tourism Commission to promote visiting Canada and the biggest Stampede ever… “unless you want to wait another 100 years,” she quips.
“We are definitely very fortunate to be part of it this year,” she said. “You are an ambassador, not just for the Stampede, but for Calgary too.”
Beyond Calgary, she also represents the rural Alberta Lifestyle.
“We represent Western heritage and values, whether you grew up in the city or you are from a farm,” adding that the background of the royalty represents all gamut’s of life in Alberta. The Mount Royal University nursing student is the first princess selected from Rockyford.
“I am all about small towns and I never thought I would go anywhere in the competition and did it for fun. When I get a chance I will thank my home town and come back to Rockyford. I really enjoy it. I’ll be back for the Rockyford Rodeo in July,” said Gariepy.
If it was busy leading up to the Stampede, the 10 days in July will be even more intense.
“We appear everywhere during the Stampede. We move into a hotel two days before, and we have a schedule, every day, hour to hour of where we will be. We probably do 20 events a day during the Stampede, it’s really, really busy.”