The annual Wild Cowgirls Race at the Williams Lake Stampede has its first out-of-town champion.
Wendy Stad of Chilliwack, riding Dudley, picked up the win in Monday’s fifth and final day of the race, where the top two riders from each of the four previous heats had advanced to form an eight-rider field.
Second went to Kamloops’ Sandra Mulvahill, on Who’s the Queen, followed by Kayle Hartman of Prince George, on Turbo.
“It’s surreal,” Stad said following the race, adding she had competed previously in 2016 and 2017 — both times placing in the money, however, both times shy of the elusive title of champion.
For her efforts, Stad was awarded a 2019 Wild Cowgirls Race championship saddle from Ellis Cattle Co., plus brought home $2,000 cash and a buckle from winning her heat race Saturday.
“It’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful,” Stad said of the saddle. “I’m a spoiled girl.”
She credited the speed and work of her horse, Dudley — a six-year-old thoroughbred with three years racing experience at the Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver — for helping her claim the saddle.
“I’ve only had him a month, so wasn’t sure how it would go,” she said.
“But I just love this race. It’s well put together. Professionally run. Monica Sellars and Janice Sapp do an amazing job of putting it together.”
Sapp, also the president of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society, said it was amazing to see the sportsmanship on display throughout the weekend.
“These ladies are sportsmen,” she said.
Sellars, meanwhile, who started the Wild Cowgirls Race six years ago at the Williams Lake Stampede, thanked all the sponsors, and the Williams Lake Stampede Association for allowing them to host the race during the event.
“It’s pretty special, the bond all these girls form with each other,” Sellars said.
“Everybody cheers for each other, everybody’s there for each other, everybody steps in to help if someone needs it. It’s just bringing women together.
“We leave here with 24 new friends each year.”
The results from the final Wild Cowgirls Race are as follows:
1.) Wendy Stad on Dudley (Chilliwack)
2.) Sandra Mulvahill on Who’s the Queen (Kamloops)
3.) Kayle Hartman on Turbo (Abbotsford)
4.) Kimberly Kozak on Nacho (Langley)
5.) Sarah Geary on Timmy (Fort Fraser)
6.) Courtney Butler on Jake (Tatla Lake)
7.) Mary Charters on Titan (Prince George)
8.) Silvana Huber on Yankee (Vernon)