For 35 years, the fiercest farrier competitors traveled to Calgary for the World Championship Blacksmiths Competition (WCBC). Held at the Calgary Stampede each year, the contest featured nearly 1,800 farriers over its run. That run came to an end in 2014 as the Stampede decided to cease hosting the event. The Stampede replaced the contests with iterations of team competitions and exposition, but subsequent events lacked the excitement of the WCBC. After nearly 10 years following the end of the WCBC, a major farrier event will return to Calgary.
In partnership with Spruce Meadows, World Championship Blacksmiths has announced a new farrier competition; Blacksmith World Championships at Spruce Meadows. Spruce Meadows is a leading equestrian complex located just outside of Calgary. This competition fittingly will be held Sept. 6-10, 2023, during Spruce Meadows’ Masters, one of the world’s foremost show jumping tournaments, bringing some of the top horses and riders from around the world.
The competition will be limited to 85 contestants, with international contestants encouraged to join their Canadian and American counterparts. To enter, prospective contestants are required to submit a non-refundable $25 processing fee with a completed application. The entry form and shoe list is available for download here. The shoe list with images is available here. A panel will review the candidate pool. Selected candidates will pay $800 if they choose to move on.
World Championship Blacksmiths President Craig Trnka gives credit to President Linda Heathcott and the team at Spruce Meadows for their leadership in bringing a top competition to Calgary and raising $136,000 in prize money, with the top finisher will walk away with $75,000.
“There are many worldwide competitions, but there is nothing like the Stampede’s individual competition of top farriers,” says Trnka. “Thanks to Spruce Meadows, we now have that international contest featuring the cream of the crop. The shame of losing the contest at the Stampede was that for nearly 10 years, we lacked a huge international contest. Calgary was the measuring stick for performance and was the bragging rights for countries. So many farriers who were in their prime during those years missed their chance to be part of that. A new generation will have their chance this September.”