Finding her way into the high school rodeo family made Milagh Sattler of Stockton, Manitoba feel like she had a place to belong.
Growing up with horses, the little farm girl, now a Grade 10 graduate from Glenboro School, has always had a passion for rural life, sharing farm duties with her parents, Mike and Sheilagh Sattler, and her four siblings.
Since 1995, the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) has provided an area to not only ride horses, but also excel in competition in and out of the arena. Now, Sattler has set her sights on reigning as the MHSRA Queen, as the provincial 2016-17 season comes to an end on home soil, but opens to a whole new world at the National High School Rodeo Finals (NHSRF) down south.
If one can’t ride, there’s really no purpose in being in the competition, as horsemanship plays a key role. “Our horsemanship has to be as good as any cowboy’s,” Sattler said.
“Striving to get an upper edge, I ride daily with sister and mentor Mikaela, practising horsemanship requirements to excel in barrels, poles, breakaway roping and goat tying.”
The former horseshow participant with jumping in the mix, she captured the rodeo bug, finding that the MHSRA has been so much more than what she thought it would be. Having met so many amazing people with the same interests, it has allowed Sattler to reach many goals.
Although the Canadian queen competition doesn’t reach the richness and royalty as it does throughout the U.S., it takes a special person to earn the title each year. Being involved in the queen competition, it takes more than athleticism, as the contest involves so much more.
“When I joined the MHSRA, Sarah Stemmer of Minnedosa, was the queen,” said Sattler. Conversations with Stemmer prompted Sattler to look at the other side of rodeo, gaining confidence with each smile, each wave and each discussion with fellow members.
MHSRA not only promotes rodeo at the high school level, but also junior high, and recently introduced the Lil Buckaroo program welcoming students from K to Grade 5 to become a cowboy by riding a calf, tossing a lariat or tying a goat.
For Sattler, rodeo has blended her into a hard worker, with school, chores and competition, being among the responsibilities, and says, “My dad and mom play a huge role, helping me through the bad runs and cheering loudly through the good ones.”