South Peace News
Two High Prairie teens are competing for the honour of 2019-20 High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Queen.
Shelby Cook and Gracey Rich-Carifelle have tossed their cowgirl hats into the ring, so to speak, and are off and running.
Both contestants already introduced themselves to the Elks and are preparing for the next phases of the competition, which includes public speaking and horsemanship. Both are required to also sell 50-50 tickets, which also comprise part of the competition.
The winner will be crowned at the Elks Pro Rodeo July 29-30.
Cook, 16, just completed Grade 11 at E.W. Pratt High School. She grew up on a small cattle ranch outside of High Prairie.
“Ever since I was little I’ve not only been crazy about horses and the western lifestyle, but about every aspect of rodeo,” she says.
“Rodeoing has been a huge part of my life for the past seven years,” she adds. “It has taken me around Alberta competing [she has competed in the Alberta High School Rodeo circuit for three years] in as many events as I can.”
Cook, who owns two horses called Mila and Mee-La, also competes in the Wildrose Rodeo Association circuit in barrel racing and roping. She is also a four-year member of the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Wranglers.
Her hobbies are varied as she also enjoys riding and training young horses, cattle ranching and fishing.
When Cook is not rodeoing or going to school, she spends a lot of her time riding and training young horses.
“The biggest reason I decided to run for rodeo queen was because I love being a role model for younger people as well as my peers, and I love being around the rodeo environment.
“If I was crowned queen I would do my best to represent High Prairie and neighbouring communities to the best of my ability. I look forward to the opportunities that will be given to me going forth in this competition!”
Cook is the daughter or Vern and Michelle Cook of High Prairie.
Rich-Carifelle, 17, recently graduated from E.W. Pratt High School. She was born and raised in High Prairie.
Since she was a small child, she enjoyed and had the opportunity to help her grandfather on his farm with his cows and horses.
“My responsibilities were brushing the horses, taking them grain and watering them,” she says.
“I also helped feed cows, and assisted with calving and caring for the newborn calves.”
She also rode in tractors and helped make hay.
She first started riding around the age of two.
“My mom was involved with horses and she has helped me to learn, grow and develop my skills and passion for horses. She always helped me with riding as I was growing up.”
Rich-Carifelle has always loved her horses. She would frequently ride off and spend lots of time alone. It allowed her to spend many hours improving and growing her skills.
“My hard work and dedication paid off as I was given the opportunity to partake in the High Prairie Elks Rodeo with the Wranglers in the grand entry in 2015 and 2016,” she says.
Her passion for horse and rodeo prompted her to run for rodeo queen.
“I love watching the rodeo and being involved with it. I also love the idea that being involved in the queen competition will give me the opportunity to pass on knowledge and inspire younger and older generations.”
If successful, she promises to represent the sport and Elks proudly.
“I would be sure to be continuously involved within the community and in the schools.
“The legacy I would like to leave behind is embracing the youth and older generations to become more involved with rodeoing and ranching. I feel it is really important to pass on these traditions.”
She feels the opportunity to compete for the queen title will give her the knowledge and skills to volunteer in an even bigger way in the years to come.”
She has already volunteers for the Elks Pro Rodeo in former years by selling 50/50 tickets and working in the kitchen.
“I thought that running for Rodeo Queen would be a perfect opportunity to get back into the rodeo scene and put my passion for volunteering to use.”
Other hobbies include basketball, spending time with family, and track and field.
She is the daughter of Joey Carifelle and Kristin Rich of High Prairie and owns two horses, Bolt and Peggy Sue.