South Peace News
Sarah Neill was crowned the 2018 High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Queen July 31.
She succeeds 2017 rodeo queen Brooke Monteith.
“I was very surprised, I didn’t expect to win,” says Neill, 17, who graduated from E.W. Pratt High School in High Prairie in June.
“When my name was called, I didn’t react at first, but Brooke said my lips quivered.”
She was delighted to compete with Hayley Cox of High Prairie and Reann Cardinal of Sucker Creek First Nation.
“The whole experience was fun, especially with Reann and Hayley,” Neill says.
“I wanted to compete for the High Prairie Rodeo Queen for many years.”
She previously participated for the Teepee Creek rodeo queen for two years and was runner-up in 2016.
For the coming year, she says she is committed to the title.
“Everywhere I go, I will do my best to represent and promote High Prairie and the region,” Neill says.
Now entering her adult life, she plans to pursue a career involving horses.
“I want to become a horse chiropractor or anything else related to horses,” says Neill, who started her love for horses when she was six years old.
Over that time, she has been a member of the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Wranglers for five years and the High Prairie Thundering Hooves Gymkhana Club for three years.
“I want to thank everyone for supporting me, the other contestants and the Elks Pro Rodeo,” Neill says.
All three contestants were highly qualified to earn the crown, says co-ordinator Leigh Blackhurst.
“I would have liked to have all three wear the crown for some time during the coming year, but we can have only one,” Blackhurst says before the winner was announced.
“They were all really close in all [scoring] categories, they worked together very well and they supported each other.”
With three contestants this year, Blackhurst is optimistic about the future of the contest.
“It shows the interest is increasing and I hope it continues,” says Blackhurst, who has organized the event for the past nine years.
Neill is the daughter of Kyla Fjeld and Clancey Neill.
She won a saddle and buckle sponsored by X-Cel Energy and Abstract Concepts, and many other smaller prizes.