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Ponoka Stampede runs in the family for Mackenzie Skeels

By Carlie Sanderson
Mackenzie Skeels was crowned at the Ponoka Stampede tarp auction in May. (File photo)

By Carlie Sanderson


Mackenzie Skeels was crowned Miss Ponoka Stampede 2022 and it’s something that runs in her blood.

The 22-year-old, who resides on her family’s farm just outside of Rimbey, said Ponoka has been a huge part of her life growing up as her mom was Miss Ponoka Stampede in 1992.

“It’s super exciting. It’s just a huge honour to carry the same title that my mom had,” she said in a recent interview.

Skeels was selected back in May as this year’s rodeo queen after showing off her skills in several categories including horsemanship and public speaking. She will be taking the reins from Naomi Akkermans, who held the title for a record time of three years due to COVID-19 halting the Stampede.

Born in Ponoka on June 30 during the Stampede itself, the role of Miss Ponoka Stampede seemed meant to be for Skeels.

While she was being born, her dad was a volunteer, helping manage the box suites.

“We actually slept in one of the box suites when I was being born, so the Ponoka Stampede was actually the first stampede I attended at only a few days old,” she recalled.

Skeels currently resides at her family’s farm called Anchor D Simmentals where they have around 460 purebred Simmentals along with some registered Charolais cattle. And it’s not just a place she calls home, it’s part of her lifestyle.

Skeels shows purebred Simmentals throughout the summer and is part of the Young Canadian Simmental Association on the Alberta and national board.

She also competes in the Canadian Cowboy Challenge, and although she hasn’t done any this year so far, she plans on doing some in the near future.

“Those are super fun. They are like extreme trail kind of challenge courses you get to do with your horse.”

Along with her hobbies, Skeels will also be promoting the Ponoka Stampede at different rodeos and will take part in school visits, educating others on the sport of rodeo.

Skeels currently puts her diploma in media studies and professional communications to good use, as she works for Direct Livestock Marketing Systems, conducting the online portion of sales in the world of auctioning.

“If you are unable to make it to a sale and you’d like to bid on an animal I relay the bids to the auctioneer,” she explained.

She also does photography and videography within the company and show broadcasts, which included a stint at last year’s Farmfair International where people were showing their cattle.

READ MORE: Miss Rodeo Canada feels honoured to take part in ‘triumphant comeback’ of Ponoka Stampede

Being involved in the auction industry is also a way Skeels follows in her family’s footsteps, as her father Dan Skeels is an auctioneer.

“He was the world champion auctioneer in 2004 and so being involved in the auction business is something I’ve grown up around.”

Skeels will be Miss Ponoka Stampede for one year and will also be running for Miss Rodeo Canada in November.

People can see her every day at the Ponoka Stampede from June 27 to July 3.

said Ponoka Stampede president Jason Cline.

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More Ponoka Stampede coverage

Stay tuned from now until the start of the Ponoka Stampede for all you need to know about concerts, rodeo action, entertainment and attractions. Stories will be posted every day from now until the action kicks off on June 27. Check out our page on Ponoka News for all things Ponoka Stampede, now and during Stampede Week for daily coverage.