Hannah Chalifoux was crowned the Dunmore Equestrian Centre’s Little Britches Rodeo Sweetheart in early September last year and feels she is ready to pass on the crown this weekend.
“It was really good, I had lots of awesome opportunities,” said Chalifoux.
One of the first events she attended was the Hanna pro rodeo where she met all the queen contestants and got to observe the competition from behind the scenes. Immediately after, Chalifoux went to the Canadian Finals Rodeo and met the Miss Rodeo Canada contestants.
“It was amazing to meet all those interesting people. I talked to them about how their year is going. During the winter, I didn’t do much but in the spring I was able to go to some senior homes and bring them some chicks and pets and do some pet visits with them. A couple weeks ago I was at some rodeos and the Medicine Hat rodeo.”
The Sweetheart experience has been a time where Chalifoux was able to get out to events she would not have otherwise attended and meet different people.
“You learn lots about self confidence and believing in yourself. To be able to talk to other people that you’ve never talked to before because they are older and bigger than you. It’s a great experience all around.”
Throughout the year, she feels she’s gotten better at communicating.
“That’s probably been the hardest part for me because usually I’m in my own bubble and talk to the people I know. You just gotta get out there, talk to different people. Just get to know lots more and learn stuff you probably wouldn’t if you are by yourself for everything.”
Mom Kristine acknowledged there was lots of driving in the past year but feels it was worth it.
“She did things we wouldn’t have done normally. I really like showing her a different world. My girls have competed in rodeo, but being an ambassador and really promoting it is a different part of that world.”
While Chalifoux has always been outgoing, her mom noticed her self-confidence has significantly increased in the past year.
“She really feels quite comfortable going anywhere and talking to anyone. I really do admire her for that. She’s been very brave and definitely grown that way.”
This year’s competition begins Friday evening, where Chalifoux will be the emcee for evening events that include a fashion show and speeches. Horsemanship takes place Saturday morning at Dunmore Equestrian Centre followed by the crowning of the new Sweetheart.
“I think after this we are just going to enjoy the rest of the summer we have. It was a really great experience, but I think it’s time for someone else to do the same thing,” concluded Chalifoux.
By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 28, 2023