Last Sunday, the stage at the 17th Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival was illuminated with the smile of Barriere’s Rae-Lee Fraser, when the announcement was made that she had just won the Country 103 Rising Star Award.
“I was pretty excited,” said the Barriere Secondary grad, who is now a student at TRU, “Mom was worried I’d go up there and make a fool of myself. I was pretty shocked when I made it into the finals, as I was up against a bunch of people who were about 30 years older than me, some had been performing at the Festival in past years, and some already had CD’s out.”
Sponsored by CJKC, Country 103 Radio in Kamloops, the annual Rising Star contest at the Festival is open to emerging western entertainers, regardless of age. Entrants may be entertainers, singers, musicians, or poets as long as their material is western/cowboy.
There are two categories; one for cowboy poets and one for musicians, and judging is based on singing or speaking ability, entertaining ability, material content, stage appearance, and audience interaction.
Rae-Lee took home the top poetry spot, along with a cheque for $1,000 with the presentation of her original cowboy poetry through both the semi-finals and the finals.
“The poems are about things that had happened on our farm,” said Fraser, “I tried to be humorous, and wrote about the bottle fed lambs, gopher hunting, my mare, my boots, growing up in the valley.”
Fraser says her parents are pretty excited as well; and that for herself, she’s thrilled to already have a few appearances booked for the future. Of course part of her win requires her to return to the Cowboy Festival in 2014 and participate as a main stage performer throughout the event. She will also be featured both days at the upcoming Apr. 27 and 28, Celebration of Rural Living Expo and Trade Show at the Fairgrounds in Barriere, and is signed on to perform at the North Thompson Fall Fair’s Cowboy Concert and outdoor stage for the September long weekend.
Fraser wrote her first cowboy poem at school in a grade 11 English class, then wrote some more for the Festival contest.
Will this rising star keep writing cowboy poetry? “Definitely.”