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Kaylee Shantz’s reign as Miss Rodeo Canada has been an ‘absolute joy’

Former Miss Ponoka Stampede enjoying time at the helm as national rodeo queen
Miss Rodeo Canada 2024 Kaylee Shantz.

It’s been a thrilling whirlwind of milestone experiences for Kaylee Shantz who landed the Miss Rodeo Canada in 2023. 

On top of that, she achieved the lifelong dream of being named Miss Ponoka Stampede last year as well, having served in that role until April 2024. 

For Shantz, the national title has been an absolute joy. 

“I get to go and visit all of the girls who represent their rodeos,” Shantz said, adding that it’s a role she has thoroughly enjoyed. 

“It’s been incredible. There is a rush of emotions every time I go into a rodeo because as Miss Rodeo Canada, this is my last year as a rodeo queen,” she said. “So it’s a bittersweet moment. 

“It’s been incredible to have had this opportunity to represent Canadian professional rodeo on both a national and an international scale.” 

“It’s been unlike anything else, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, absolutely.” 

Her visits with rodeo queens for the various communities have provided a rich opportunity to be something of a mentor, too. 

“You get some perspective because you think, that was me a couple of years ago or a year ago. They are all excited, and they will be vying for Miss Rodeo Canada this year. So it’s really exciting,” said Shantz. 

READ MORE: Miss Ponoka Stampede 2024 Olivia MacLennan plans to ‘soak in’ every moment

“It’s really fun to talk to those girls. They have so much passion for the sport, and for what they are doing, so it’s fun to share in that passion, too. 

“It’s cool to have such a great community of girls coming together like this.” 

Born in Calgary, Shantz’s early years were spent in Airdrie. 

The family later settled in Ponoka County on a farm near Rimbey. 

Shantz, 23, would eventually attend Red Deer Polytechnic, earning her health care aide certification. 

She hopes to go back to school after her reign as Miss Rodeo Canada ends and complete her psychology degree. 

Beyond her academic goals, she closely holds to her rural roots, including involvement in the equine industry. 

Shantz also has connections rodeo world through her cousins, the Dorchesters, who brought chuckwagon racing to the Ponoka Stampede. 

Meanwhile, she’s excited for Miss Ponoka Stampede 2024 Olivia MacLennan as she will now take on the duties of Miss Ponoka Stampede. 

This was also a title that meant the world to Shantz. 

“That was kind of the height of my rodeo queen career. I had wanted to be Miss Ponoka Stampede so badly, as it was my home and my family. My goodness, they were so proud and so excited to be a part of it, too,” she explained. 

“Now, I get to be an alumni which is amazing — to be part of such a community of ladies that have come before me. It’s really great to be a part of that group, too. 

“I’m also very stoked for Olivia — she is going to have an amazing year. The advice I gave her when she won Miss Ponoka Stampede was to just take in every moment of it because it goes by so fast!” 

Shantz had an early start in landing these titles, having been named the Rimbey Rodeo Queen back in 2018. 

She was also Miss Rodeo Sundre in 2021. But home is where her heart is. 

“The Ponoka Stampede is just something I am so stoked about. I’ve had the opportunity to go to some incredible places and it’s been amazing, and I have loved every moment of it, but it is different when you are in your home arena, and you are in this place that kicked off your growth and development. 

“This is also where I’ve had so much support, and I see so many familiar faces. I’m so excited about Ponoka.” 

Ponoka News is your source for all things Ponoka Stampede leading up to and during Stampede Week June 25 to July 1. Find more Ponoka Stampede stories here.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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