Cook crowned Pro Rodeo Queen

Shelby Cook wears the crown and sash as the 2019 High Prairie Elks Rodeo Queen. She sits on her horse Mila. Cook was crowned July 30.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Shelby Cook is the 2019 High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Queen.

She was crowned the winner July 30 and succeeds 2018 rodeo queen Sarah Neill.

“I was very excited and surprised when I heard my name,” says Cook, 16, who enters Grade 12 at E.W. Pratt High School in High Prairie.

“I look forward to what this opportunity has for me.”

Her love and passion for horses and rodeo inspired Cook to enter the contest.

“I like the sport and I thought it would be a great way to promote my hometown,” says Cook, the daughter of Verne and Michelle Cook of High Prairie.

“I will represent High Prairie and the neighbouring communities to the best of my ability.”

Cook also wants to be a role model for younger people and her peers.

She has competed in barrel racing with her horse Mila in the Alberta High School Rodeo circuit for three years and in the Wildrose Rodeo Association.

Cook has also been a member of the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo Wranglers for four years.

Gracey Rich-Carifelle was the other contestant.

Cook says the contest was a positive experience for her.

“It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways,” Cook says.

“Gracey was tough competition.”

Contest co-ordinator Leigh Blackhurst says the two young women were top candidates.

“They were good to work with,” says Blackhurst, co-ordinator since 2010.

“They are really good friends with each other and with Sarah who helped them know what to expect.”

Cook will represent the region well, she says.

“I look forward to working with Shelby,” Blackhurst says. “She’s always smiling.”

Cook won a saddle sponsored by Vern’s Light Towing in High Prairie and Prime Time Hunting in Grande Prairie, a buckle sponsored by Barb Turcotte, and prizes donated by Peavey Mart.

Cook left on Aug. 2 for Oklahoma for 10 days. She is staying at The Bar Nothing ranch, which raises high-performance horses.

Cook plans to enter rodeos and jackpot events in barrel racing and in the roping pen.

Blackhurst says big plans are underway for the 60th annual Elks Pro Rodeo in 2020.

“I’d like to get as many former queens since the contest started in 1999,” Blackhurst says.

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