I can’t believe that an entire year has flown by and our rein as the 2010 Calgary Stampede Royalty is over. It seems like yesterday when they announced our names and the beautiful sparkling crowns were put on our snow white cowboy hats. Now, a year later, hats yellowed and boots scuffed we passed our titles to a new trio who have yet to understand the true significance of the crowns that have been placed on their heads.

Being a Stampede Princess had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. My passion for horses and the Stampede drew me to this role. It wasn’t until now, at the end of my rein, when I realized the true meaning of the crowns. Being Stampede Royalty is not only about riding horses, making speeches and representing an amazing organization and city. It is about becoming a part of a family of thousands of volunteers and employees. It is about finding out more about Calgary’s history and why it is important to preserve our heritage. It is about sharing a sense of integrity and community with our city, province and the world. This year has helped me grow and mature and has changed me in ways that I will never be able to express in words.

To the Stampede family, thank you for educating me and for sharing your passion for western heritage and values. I feel honored to have been part of such an incredible organization and to have stood beside such accomplished and selfless individuals. To all of the Stampede committees, thank you for sharing your dedication and enthusiasm. You are an incredible group of people who we will never forget.

To our fabulous sponsors, thank you for taking us from three girls who love horses, to Royalty. Your generosity has reinforced the western spirit of giving back to the community. We were so proud to represent your business and we will continue to be promoters of your amazing products.

To the Royalty Committee, you allowed us to go out and do our jobs without having to worry about anything. You taught us about the true meaning of hard work and dedication. Your passion for the Stampede and the committee is contagious and we owe all of our success this year to you. Thank you to our advisors, Leigh, Andrea and Wendy, for being our “Stampede Mom’s” and helping us get the most out of our year. You are all amazing women who taught us a lot about the Stampede and about life. We love you dearly and you will have a special place in our hearts forever.

To Katie and Kirstie, my two new sisters – thank you for being part of the best year of my life! I will never forget the fun times we had, the emotions we shared and the bond we have made. I look forward to our future adventures as the “has-beens.”

To the 2011 trio, soak up every moment. You will never have a year that flies by as fast as this one. The people that you meet and the friendships that the three of you will develop are invaluable. I wish you all of the best and I look forward to watching you grow over the year. We are so proud to have passed our crowns on to such amazing women. Congratulations!

My year as a 2010 Calgary Stampede Princess is one that I will never forget. I expect that for the rest of my life, I will be sharing my stories about the adventures that we had and the friends that we made. I have grown so much this year and I know that this is only the beginning of my journey as a Stampede volunteer. Thank you for everything!

Love Always,

2010 Calgary Stampede Princess Janelle Phillips