Royals Congratulate Dental Hygiene Student
Jessica Gilchrist, a recent Fanshawe College graduate from Lucknow, was the 2009 winner of the Queen's Guineas at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Her victory banner was presented by none other than His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Jess Gilchrist, left, won the Queen's Guineas at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall presented Jess with her banner as Grand Champion.
Since its inception in November 1922, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - more often simply called "the Royal" - has become the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition. The Royal draws more than 325,000 visitors to Toronto annually to see Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors, along with over 4,500 large and small animals.
On November 6, 2009, Jess, who completed the Dental Hygiene program at Fanshawe, was named Grand Champion at the Royal. Her winning animal was an Aberdeen Angus steer named "Last Call."
This victory represents the realization of two dreams for Jess. "Not only did I accomplish my dream of graduating from the Dental Hygiene Program," she says. "I also accomplished my dream of winning the Queen's Guineas at the Royal."
The excitement became even more pointed when the Royals, who presented Jess with her Grand Champion banner, spent exclusive time after the ceremony in conversation with her. The Prince of Wales seemed particularly interested in her winning animal. "It was a great honour and an amazing experience," says Jess. "Prince Charles talked with me on how the Angus breed has changed over the years and seemed to be very knowledgeable. I can't remember everything he said, as I was so excited and there were so many people surrounding us, but he asked a lot of questions about my animal and seemed to be a very nice man."
Jess became the fourth person from Huron County to take the title of Grand Champion at the Royal, and in fact the win is a repeat for the Gilchrist family. Brad Gilchrist, her brother, was the third, winning the competition in 2003.