It’s a long way from the banks of the North Saskatchewan River to Palm Springs, California.
But for Blaine Lake’s Brenda Cheveldayoff, the journey has been both challenging and rewarding.
Cheveldayoff, known provincially for her dedicated work in preserving and promoting the historic Doukhobor Dugout House southeast of her hometown; is preparing to step onto the stage at the Mrs. Globe pageant in Palm Springs June 12-15.
She qualified for the prestigious international event after winning both the Saskatchewan and Canadian national Mrs. Globe Classique titles. She’ll be competing against 21 other women in the age 50+ division.
“It will be a bit hectic in the lead-up to the pageant because I also compete in body-building,” said Cheveldayoff in a phone interview on Friday, May 24. “I’m scheduled to be on stage at a body-building competition in Regina on Saturday, June 8. And then the next day, Sunday, I get on a plane to head for the pageant in Palm Springs.”
Cheveldayoff said the two types of competitions are “worlds apart,” but her fitness regime for body-building has obviously proved advantageous.
“If I didn’t do body building, I don’t think I would have been approached to enter this pageant,” said Cheveldayoff. “I’ve been doing body-building for about five years, but just got involved in the pageant scene last January.”
She said the international pageant brings together competitors from around the world. While physical beauty is important, there is also a huge emphasis on the competitors’ volunteer involvement and commitment to their community. Public speaking is a key component in the competition.
“I have my speech nailed down,” she said. “I’m focusing on the fact that I’m a grain farmer that helps feed the world. I think that’s very important. I’m also bringing in my Russian heritage, and the role the Doukhobor people played in the history of Saskatchewan. It’s really about telling a story that will be meaningful.
“I’m very comfortable speaking in front of people because I’ve worked for so many years to make the Doukhobor Dugout House a going concern. It’s all about connecting with people.”
She credits motivational speaker and writer Norm Rebin with helping her get to the next level. “He’s my mentor,” she said. “He’s helped me develop confidence in my abilities.”
The Doukhobor Dugout House is featured in the 2019 Saskatchewan Valley Visitors Guide, published by the Clark’s Crossing Gazette and available at tourism destinations throughout the region.