Caia Morstad transitions from royalty to athletics in stride
Her flowing blonde hair was once perfectly curled under a white sparkling cowboy hat.
Her blue eyes and bright smile greeted thousands of people coming from far and wide to take in the Calgary Stampede.
Now, Caia Morstad, a former Stampede princess, is not afraid to work up a sweat on the court for the SAIT Trojan women's volleyball team.
Morstad grew up on a farm just outside Swift Current, Sask. As a child, she had an interest in many different sports including: basketball, curling and track and field.
Eventually, she gravitated to volleyball.
"It was about Grade 7," Morstad said. "I took to it. I really enjoyed it, and the experience was really encouraging for me."
Morstad is not only a talented athlete. She is focused when it comes to her education as well. She has already earned a degree in agriculture with a minor in business from the University of Saskatchewan where she played volleyball for the Huskies. She also spent time studying at Middle Tennessee State University on a full volleyball scholarship.
She said it was a natural decision to pursue something she loved.
"Agriculture was a big part of my life. I love my animals and my horses. It seemed like the next step for me," she said.
She is now studying at SAIT in hopes of becoming a petroleum-engineering technologist. She is in the middle of her first season with the Trojans women's volleyball team.
There is no underestimating her ability when it comes to volleyball.
Her level of skills and experience has not gone unnoticed by Art O'Dwyer, SAIT's women's volleyball head coach.
"She brings a level of perspective to the game," O'Dwyer said. "She has a lot of skills. She is a leader and helps the younger girls cope with the pressures of being a student athlete."
In 2007, Morstad was selected as a Calgary Stampede princess. The whole experience was a big undertaking but interesting at the same time, she said.
"It was a very busy year for me. We got to go to Florida and Québec City for a carnival. Over the course of the year we had to go to over 450 different events," Morstad said. "There were a lot of long days starting early at 5:30 a.m. and usually ending at about 12:30 a.m. the next day."
For Morstad, the biggest take away was just getting out there speaking, finding new friends and meeting new contacts.
Morstad's boyfriend Darryl Williamson can't help but admire her work ethic.
"She is determined. If she wants to do something, she will get it done," he said. "You can see that in her schooling and in volleyball. It takes a high level of commitment."
- By Sarah Harrower