By Christine Thompson, Calgary Stampede
There was a certain energy in the air as the search for the 2020 First Nations Princess and Royal Trio began weeks ago. As the reign of the 2019 Stampede Royalty came to a close—with many memories of a lifetime shared between the group—the legacy of the Calgary Stampede Royalty continues, with four new young women, who are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
The first of these four women is the 2020 Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess, Falon Manywounds, who was crowned on Sunday, September 22. After a two week competition, where six finalists participated in a series of events, including public speaking and traditional dance performances, the 25-year-old Jingle Dress Dancer from Tsuut’ina Nation took the top spot. She will represent the nations of Treaty 7 (Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani), Elbow River Camp, presented by Enbridge and the Calgary Stampede around the world over the coming year.
About Falon, 2020 First Nations Princess
“It’s surreal to be the 2020 First Nations Princess,” said the newly crowned First Nations Princess, Falon Manywounds. “I’m looking forward to the year ahead and to being a role model for youth and sharing my traditions, language and culture with people from around the world.”
Falon’s passion is to learn more about the human body. She has a diploma in Nutrition Science and Personal Training from Elevated Learning Academy. Falon’s Dene name is Misichushi Tsasdi Ts’ika, which translates to Lone White Buffalo Woman and was given to her by the late Fred Eagletail. Over the coming year, Falon wants to inspire people to achieve their goals, to take failure as a learning lesson and to be thankful for every experience.
“Each year it is incredible to see strong, passionate and talented young ladies compete for the title of Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess,” said Vanessa Stiffarm, First Nation Events committee and herself a 2016 First Nations Princess. “Each of them has an unrivaled commitment to their community and culture. Falon will do a great job of representing the five nations of Treaty 7.”
The 2020 First Nations Princess will make hundreds of appearances locally, nationally and internationally throughout her reign, educating those she meets about First Nations cultures, as well as their connections to the iconic Calgary Stampede.
The day following the First Nations Princess crowning, the 2020 Royal Trio competition came to an exciting conclusion on Monday, September 23. The top six contestants competed in the final two events of the month-long competition, which included an impromptu speech and horsemanship.
The contestants anxiously waited in the Nutrien Western Event Centre arena, as a panel of esteemed judges calculated the final scores. The 2020 Royal Trio was then announced, with 22-year-old Kelcey Moore named as 2020 Stampede Queen; 24-year-old Janelle Mackenzie as 2020 Calgary Stampede Princess and 22-year-old Madeline Kerkovius as 2020 Calgary Stampede Princess.
About Kelcey, 2020 Stampede Queen
“Being the 2020 Calgary Stampede Queen is a role I’m excited to take on. I’m looking forward to getting to know Janelle and Madeline and to growing together as a group,” said Kelcey Moore, 2020 Calgary Stampede Queen. “It will be exciting to meet new people and to promote the values of the Calgary Stampede and share our stories with them.”
Kelcey is a professional dancer. Currently she is a choreographer and teacher with The Show Performance Company. Kelcey attended the Edge School for Athletes and graduated in 2019 from the British Columbia College of Equine Therapy, Equine Sports Therapy program. She enjoys volunteering for professional and competitive dance groups and has been an instructor with The Young Canadians, which has given her an understanding of the Stampede’s youth development programs.
About Janelle, 2020 Stampede Princess
“It means the world to me to be able to represent my hometown of Millarville and my second home here at the Calgary Stampede,” said Janelle Mackenzie, 2020 Calgary Stampede Princess. “My family has been volunteering with the Calgary Stampede for four generations and it will be incredible to now be an ambassador of the Calgary Stampede.”
Janelle is a journeyman Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic, currently working with Calgary Freightliner. She enjoys recreational and competitive riding, gardening, volunteering for agricultural societies, yoga and weightlifting. She is a member of the Horse Safety subcommittee for the Stampede Parade committee and is a member of 4-H Alumni. Through 4-H, she learned valuable skills of preparation, commitment and professionalism.
About Madeline, 2020 Stampede Princess
“Being a part of the Calgary Stampede Royalty is a dream come true,” said Madeline Kerkovius, 2020 Calgary Stampede Princess. “It’s an amazing opportunity to represent the Calgary Stampede, which has been a huge part of my life since a very young age. I am looking forward to all the people we will get to meet in this position.”
Madeline is employed as a Health and Benefits Analyst at Willis Towers Watson. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. She enjoys travelling, cycling and healthy cooking. She was a member of the Calgary Stampede Showriders.
“The Calgary Stampede Royalty program is a testament to celebrating women in western culture for more than 100 years,” said Rachel Hamilton, Royalty Committee Chair. “I know Kelcey, Janelle and Madeline will continue to represent the Calgary Stampede as ambassadors in western culture and heritage.”
Throughout their reign, the Royalty Trio will make more than 400 appearances as ambassadors of the Calgary Stampede, promoting western heritage and values in Calgary and around the world.
We wish all four of these exceptional women a successful and thrilling reign as the 2020 Calgary Stampede Royalty! We look forward to sharing in their journey and are proud to have them representing our organization.