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The Rodeo Queen

Learn more about Western Stock Show Rodeo Queen Isabelle Piche ‘24.
The+graphic+depicts+the+2024+Responder+Relief+Rodeo+Queen+Isabelle+Piche+24+with+her+horse+Apollo.
media by Addison Cabeen
The graphic depicts the 2024 Responder Relief Rodeo Queen Isabelle Piche ’24 with her horse Apollo.

The boots, the horses, the cowboy hats.

Hundreds of thousands gather in the Denver Coliseum every year for the biggest celebration of agriculture in the West: the National Western Stock Show.

Since 1906, the Stock Show has drawn crowds to enjoy their array of events. From Jan. 6 to Jan. 21, hundreds of people came from all over the country to compete in the shows, sell their crafts or become Rodeo Royalty, including Isabelle Piche ‘24. 

Piche started riding horses at the age of 10, after her grandfather’s passing. Her cousins were responsible for introducing her to horses. 

“They had their own company,” Piche said. “It was a dangerous horse sporting facility and training. I got really into it after the passing of my grandfather.”

In 2023, Piche became a Queen’s Attendant for the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo,  where she attended the 2023 Western Stock Show as an Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo representative. 

“It was a very surreal feeling when I won my first title as the Elizabeth Stampede 2023 Queen Attendant. I spent the year making the most amazing memories and learning so much,” Piche said.

But, becoming the Rodeo Queen was more of a challenge.

Piche went through a series of tests assessing her on subjects including her horsemanship, public speaking skills and even a written test. She was then crowned the Responder Relief Rodeo Queen of 2024. 

“This year, when I won as the 2024 Responder Relief Queen, it was more of a motivation to continue what I love to do,” Piche said.

Isabelle Piche ’24 stands in front of the US Army star, sporting her Responder Relief Rodeo Queen Sash Jan. 16. For the 118th National Western Stock Show, the queens will reign for one year, then surrender their titles. “We hold the crowns for a year, calendar year to calendar year,” Piche said. (media by Addison Cabeen)

But, being queen isn’t just sitting around.

“I think a lot of people think that what we do is a pageant. It’s really not,” Piche said. 

Piche’s job as Rodeo Queen is to be an ambassador to the rodeo. The Responder Relief Rodeo’s mission is to help first responders through hard times by raising money and awareness for these men and women. Piche works as a helper and supporter of the cause in addition to teaching children about rodeo. 

“I love working with kids. I think that’s a lot of my drive,” Piche said. 

Piche spends some of her time at the Stock Show educating kids about Western culture. Many Colorado elementary schools bring in field trips to tour the Stock Show with Rodeo Queens to get them excited for the event itself.

Between participating in the school’s Fire Science Program, having over 400 hours of community service and being the Responder Relief Rodeo Queen, Piche stays busy with her work.

“My motivation is making the good out of the bad,” Piche said. “I’ve learned a lot. I look at myself my sophomore year versus now. Tremendous [growth], you know, I was not the same person. And so, I can sit here and say [that] I’ve grown and I’ve also learned a lot, not only about rodeo, but about myself.” 

Miss Rodeo Canada Kaylee Shantz, Responder Relief Rodeo Queen Isabelle Piche ’24 and Miss Rodeo Wainwright Harleigh Zack pose together during the Stock Show Jan. 16. The Stock Show attracted Rodeo Queens from all over the country and abroad. “[Miss Rodeo Wainwright] represented a local rodeo in Canada, her title is basically the same as mine,” Piche said. (media by Addison Cabeen)
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