After a competition that whittled competitors to just three, the Calgary Stampede selected their 2023 Stampede Princess.
The selection was made after a pair of final competitions held near Okotoks on Friday.
Springbank’s Sarah Lambros was selected by the Stampede’s judges over Annie Coward and Brooklyn Wong after a final round of equestrian riding and impromptu speech making.
“I’m kind of speechless, honestly. This was a really tough competition, a lot of amazing girls entered, and I just couldn’t believe it when they called my name,” said Lambros.
“I’m thrilled, I was just thrilled.”
Lambros is a geophysics and geology major at the University of British Columbia, and works as a math and science tutor.
She said that schedule of appearances over the next year was daunting, but that she is looking forward to representing the Stampede and meeting new people.
“This is what really brought me to try out for the role in the first place, because I knew I’d be meeting lots of people and speaking a lot, so I can’t wait for that,” Lambros said.
“I’ve also heard great things about the very first grand entry for the Calgary Stampede, so I definitely will be looking forward to that as well.”
She said that growing up in Calgary, there wasn’t a summer where she missed the Stampede, often going multiple times.
“It’s really big in my family. My grandma moved here—she was 19 she moved to Calgary from Regina, Saskatchewan—and she hasn’t missed a parade or stampede rodeo since,” Lambros said.
“Being able to represent the Stampede and what it does for my city, especially in front of my grandmother and the rest of my family, it’ll be amazing. Amazing doesn’t even cover it.”
Lambros will be taking over for current Stampede Princess Jenna Peters as a major representative of the Stampede starting January 1, 2023.
The Stampede will be selecting the First Nations Princess later this month.
Proud to have all of the contestants compete
Janelle Fortmuller, Chair of the Calgary Stampede Royalty Committee, said that the contest to become the Stampede Princess had an independent panel of judges who are experts in their field to evaluate networking skills, interpersonal kills, speaking, and equestrian skills.
“All of the contestants that we had throughout the contest were incredible women, they come with unique talents and they all brought their best faces to the competition—we would have been happy to have any of them,” said Fortmuller.
“We’re very, very lucky to have Sarah, and I know she’ll be a great representative.”
She said that the reasoning behind the contests is to give young women a chance to grow and develop their skills.
“If you ask any of our previous contestants, they’ll tell you even over the course of the three weeks there’s so much growth and so much to learn,” Fortmuller said.
“We really pride ourselves in creating a contest that’s not just for showcasing skills, but also for building skills.”
Fortmuller invited any women interested in competing to consider “throwing their hat into the ring” to become the 2024 Stampede Princess.
“This experience is absolutely life changing, and we’d love to see everybody come out in 2024,” she said.
Role has changed, with more emphasis on combined ambassadorship for Stampede
Outgoing princess Jenna Peters said that being the 2022 Stampede Princess was a big role, not only for the number of events her and First Nations Princess Sikapinakii Low Horn attended, but for how the Stampede organization changed what it meant to be a princess.
“We were tasked to change what this will look like, and challenge a lot of boxes that everybody thought that this role really fit into,” she said.
“I feel so lucky that we were tasked with this job because I felt like we were meant for it.”
Low Horn said that when she thinks of Reconcilliation, she thinks of Peters.
“She’s very open, and she loves to ask questions and she wants to learn. That just makes me happy,” Low Horn said.
Being connected to the next 2023 First Nations Princess as dual ambassadors for the Stampede was something that Lambros said she was looking forward to.
“We met all of the First Nations contestants at a previous mingling event, and all three contestants seem to have such great stories and different experiences to bring to the table,” she said.
“Being able to learn from them, and learn about their culture and what they bring to the Calgary Stampede will definitely be a highlight of my year.”
The First Nations crowning ceremony will take place on Nov. 27. For more details on the Stampede Royalty, see www.csroyalty.com.