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In early July, the last of 35 yearly World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competitions was held during the Calgary Stampede. Dating back to 1980, the 4-day forging contest has always attracted top farriers from around the world.
Back in mid-January, Calgary Stampede officials announced they were dumping the international forging competition, leaving doubts about the future for a worldwide forging event.
Stampede officials maintain the forging competition doesn’t fit the future direction they want to take. They argue it doesn’t appeal to urban visitors that make up the majority of attendees.
Nobody in the farrier industry seems to have a logical answer as to why the international forging competition lost its welcome at the 102-year-old Calgary Stampede. Some folks say it’s a political move while others see it as a way to appease animal rights opponents. This doesn’t make much sense since the Stampede’s nightly chuckwagon races have led to occasional injury and even death to a few horses over the years.
Stampede spokeswoman Bonni Clark says the decision to dump the forging competition was due to the need to refresh the livestock programs.
While Stampede officials say they want to showcase blacksmithing over all 10 days and continue to attract international farriers, they have no idea about how to do it. And without a competition, farriers from around the world will stay home.
This doesn’t make sense as most of the Stampede’s other livestock events don’t run for 10 days. So why does it seem like they’re picking…