Stampede royalty visit warship


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They might occasionally wear chaps and stirrups, but their crowns signify them as Calgary royalty.

 Calgary Stampede Queen Danica Heath, along with Stampede Princesses Shannon Black and Stephanie Patterson, made good on their royal duties by visiting HMCS Calgary May 23 for “Cowboy Up”, the ship’s annual celebration.

Before the evening’s shindig, the visiting royals toured Calgary with Executive Officer LCdr Josh Yanchus, getting a peak at the bridge, crew quarters, and naval life in general.
“It’s great going on these kinds of visits because we get to experience so many new things,” said Heath. “I’d never been on a ship like this until today, and it’s very interesting getting a first-hand look at how sailors live day-to-day.”

They also took the time to present Calgary Commanding Officer, Cdr John Wilson with a new white Stetson hat, a traditional symbol of Calgary’s western hospitality.

“We have a special place in our hearts for the people of Calgary,” said Cdr Wilson. “Even just the little affectations, like the Stetsons we wear, the Coxswain’s sheriff badge, and the Calgary Stampede paraphernalia all over the ship helps us strengthen that connection. We love having visitors from the city know that we take our bond seriously.”

The Queen and Princesses of the Calgary Stampede are positions dating back to the 1940s. Selected through a competition that includes interviews, presentations, and shows of riding skill, Heath, Black, and Patterson began their terms in September 2013, touring the world and singing the praises of Calgary and its Stampede.

“To represent our city and meet people in our hometown and as far away as Germany has been amazing,” says Black, who has dreamt of playing that part since childhood. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The visit was more than just an opportunity to shake hands and share a square dance. Each vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy has a special relationship with its namesake city; a relationship especially strong between Calgary and the Albertan metropolis for which it is named. While having the Stampede Queen and Princesses visit is a nice treat, it also goes to demonstrate that relationship and how important it is to crew and city alike.

“We like to renew and recognize that relationship  as often as possible,” says Cdr Wilson. “To have the Stampede Queen and Princesses present as we welcome a brand new slate of officers is a real honour, and we’re proud to show them how much we care about our ship, and its city.

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  1. Dana Tremblay says:

    Thanks to everyone on HMCS CALGARY, particularly LCdr Josh Yanchus and Cdr John Wilson for making us feel so welcome. on behalf of the Royal Trio – a BIG thanks for such an amazing visit. Dana Tremblay, Past Chair Royalty Committe

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