There's a special place in our hearts for the Cochrane Lions Rodeo Queen.

She serves as an official ambassador of the Lions Club and unofficially represents the town while participating in rodeos across southern Alberta and at multiple community events.

We've been fortunate to have Breanna Correia represent our rodeo and community since 2020 while we work our way through the pandemic, but it's now time to crown a new queen.

Applications are now being accepted for the Cochrane Lions Rodeo Queen Competition. The deadline for submissions is July 28.

Coordinator Susan Black says applicants outline a bit about themselves, why they are interested in serving as Lions royalty, and ideas of how they will continue to support the sport of rodeo, the Labour Day Weekend Rodeo, and Cochrane.

The contestants are judged on horsemanship, public speaking, rodeo, local knowledge, personality, and their comfort level with the role. It begins with an information session in late July, followed by several events in August right up until the crowning on Labour Day Monday (Sept. 5).

Annually, they participate in over 60 events.

Black says serving as Queen is a memorable and life-changing experience.

"It's a great opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people. Young children love them, young people look up to them as mentors, and I think they certainly have an impact on the older demographic that they meet. I think they bring a lot of joy.

"When we first crown these young women, we see them as being confident, capable, and community-oriented. After the year is through, we see them just blossom and grow. Their self-confidence substantially improves.

"Their ability to think and act on their feet and come out smiling every time is a life lesson that they all talk about and that they value and carry with them."

While not an official Cochrane ambassador, nor sponsored by the town, the role she plays reflects the pride we share in our community.

"I believe we all take pride in the fact she is an unofficial ambassador and brings joy to people wherever she goes and talks positively about Cochrane. Certainly, for the Lions, she is very much an ambassador and she proudly has the Cochrane Lions logo on her saddle, sash, and crown."

The first queen was crowned in 2011

Many past members of the royalty have gone on to become queens and princesses in other communities, with one being a member of the Calgary Stampede Trio.