Perseverance pays of for rodeo queen
Okotoks: Mattea Palin to balance duties with school
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 06:00 am
Okotoks Rodeo queens
Okotoks rodeo queens since 2007:
2013: Mattea Palin
2012: Erica Lee
2011: Nicole Schlaak
2010: Kenna Lockwood
2009: Kezia Morrison
2008: Nicole Westersund
2007: Aaron Courchesne
Okotoks’ newest rodeo queen knows if you fall off a horse, you have to get back up and try again.
Mattea Palin was selected as Miss Rodeo Okotoks Queen at Sunday’s performance of the rodeo at the Murray Arena. She succeeds Erica Lee, who ironically was selected ahead of Palin last year.
“I didn’t look at it as a huge disappointment — I took everything in stride,” Palin said about last year’s pageant. “I learned a ton and I had a lot of fun.
“I looked at it as a huge learning experience.”
Palin, a 2011 alumnus of Holy Trinity Academy, is continuing to learn. She has received plenty of advice from the outgoing queen and her friend, Erica Lee.
“She has told me to be myself and to make sure to make it a year I will remember,” Palin said.
One of her goals it to make the rodeo queen more prominent among potential queen candidates.
“I want to bring it back a little bit more — you don’t hear much about it,” she said. “I want to do a lot of town events and try to get girls to run next year.”
She is looking forward to promoting rodeo and the community of which she is so proud.
Saying good things about Okotoks is easy, what will be difficult is finding the time.
Palin plans to attend Mount Royal University in January where she will study education.
“Erica told me to make sure I have a day-planner and mom has already bought me one,” she said with a laugh. “It will take a little bit of juggling for sure, but I can do it.”
Her goal is to become an elementary school teacher after being motivated as a young girl to become an educator by Okotoks teachers.
“I had a lot of favourite teachers,” Palin said. “The St. Mary’s (elementary school) teachers are the reasons I am pursuing education.”
One thing she won’t have to pursue is her love of horses and rodeo. They have been a large part of her life while growing up in the Okotoks area.
“I always loved horses and when I was younger I started barrel racing with the FCC, which is the Future Cowboys and Cowgirls,” Palin said. “I haven’t stopped since.”
She competed in the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association in barrel racing last season, but didn’t ride with the association this year due to horse issues.
Palin wasn’t turning barrels on the weekend, but instead was gracefully galloping around the arena, expertly waving to the crowd with one hand while keeping a hold on the reins with the other.
It was a pair of expert riders who inspired her to take a shot at Miss Rodeo Okotoks Queen back in 2012, former queens Kenna Lockwood and Kezia Morrison.
“They always told me about their year as rodeo queen and it sounded like so much fun,” she said.
Through last year’s pageant, Palin has also become friends with 2012 queen Erica Lee.
Lee said Palin is in for an exciting year.
“I had a fantastic year,” Lee said. “I encouraged Mattea to do the same — to just be herself and make sure she has a fantastic year.”
She said the highlight for her was representing Okotoks at the famous Omak Stampede and of course the 2013 Calgary Stampede.
It was a busy year for the outgoing queen.
“I had a day-planner and without it, I would have been lost,” Lee said with a laugh.