As we come into the New Year, I can’t help but reflect on the last few months of 2017. Being a Stampede Princess was always a dream of mine and in September that dream became a reality. After a month-long competition that tested our speaking abilities, personal skills and riding talent, Calgary Stampede Queen Lindsay, Calgary Stampede Princess Jaden and I were crowned the 2018 Calgary Stampede Royalty Trio. Since that day, our lives have been changed forever;  for the better of course!

(L-R) 2018 Stampede Princess, Jessica Wilson, 2018 Stampede Queen, Lindsay Lockwood and 2018 Stampede Princess, Jaden Holle

From the end of September 2017 to now, March 2018, there have been some remarkable changes in the three of us. Before the competition I had never spoken on live television before, or  had the opportunity to stand on a stage and address a crowd of enthusiastic football fans, or even ride in a parade. But the first day on the job, we had not one but TWO interviews with Global TV and Breakfast Television! Within that same week, we were riding in the first annual Irricana Fall Fair Parade, waving and laughing with pure excitement. In October, we jetted off to Ottawa for the Grey Cup and the three of us, alongside  Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Cieran Starlight, had the honour and privilege of speaking to a group of football fans from all across Canada – at the coldest pancake breakfast I think I’ve ever been to!

The Royal Trio and 2018 Indian Princess, Cieran Starlight, on Global TV Calgary

Being a princess has come with its fair share of learning outcomes as well. For example, I’ve learned that coming from an English riding background, a girth on a western saddle is called a cinch (okay, I kind of knew that before)! I have also learned the importance of organization and timeliness, and just how lucky I am to have grown up in a city as amazing as Calgary.

I wanted to be a Stampede Princess because of how much I love the 10 days of the Calgary Stampede,  but  10 days just wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to share in the culture and the history of the Stampede and its relationship with the city, I wanted to play a role in an organization that has such a strong presence in the lives of so many. What I didn’t expect to develop was a better  understanding of the unique role that “western hospitality” plays in shaping the small Calgary community. I also discovered a new found confidence in my abilities, and  gained three new best friends (Cieran, Jaden and Lindsay) who are equally as supportive as they are caring and kind. And I couldn’t ask for anything more than that!

Signed,

Princess Jessica