Dunmore’s Karley Appell was announced as the 2019 Little Britches Rodeo Sweatheart competition winner on Saturday at the Dunmore Equestrian Centre.
She could not stop smiling after the two-day competition was done.
“I’m just so surprised,” said Appell.
“This competition has been so much fun and I’m so excited for the year to come.”
Appell says she was nervous and excited going into the competition.
“Most of us were in 4-H together except for Kaylor (Carter) and we just know each other really well. They were just so nice and so much fun to compete with,” said Appell.
All the jitters were gone and she felt great once the competition got going, she added.
With the Sweetheart crowning in her back pocket, Appell wants to aim towards Stampede royalty when she is eligible in six years time.
“One day I want to run for queen too. This kind of makes my confidence a little higher,” said the Medicine Hat Christian School student.
Appell, Emma Baedke,Kaylor Carter, Lauren Chalifoux and Charlatan Sandford all had to participate in a horsemanship portion on Saturday.
The competition kicked off Friday night at Safety Buzz in Dunmore with speeches and modeling.
Tenley Warburton was the 2018 Little Britches Rodeo Sweetheart and she handed over the sash and belt buckle to Appell this year.
“I definitely shed a few tears,” she said.
“But hanging out with these girls made me really realize we’ve got some great people to step in now after me. I definitely won’t be completely gone from this title. I’m definitely wanting to help out Karley throughout her year and excited to see her grow as a woman.”
Warburton says she knew what the girls were a going through having done the competition last year.
“Even if you tell them ‘don’t be nervous,’ they’re still going to be nervous because I went through that last year,” she said.
“I’m so proud of the girls for taking the courage and putting themselves out there.”
This year’s organizer and 2018 Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede queen Haley Schlenker took over from Brittney Chomistek for the third annual event and says overall it was a great experience.
“It took a lot of dedication and a lot of question asking from Shelley and Brittney Chomistek. But overall it was a great learning experience and I look forward to many more,” said Schlenker.
“I would like to stay with it a while and get it going more-and-more and just helping the community and getting girls to represent rodeo.”