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THE WINNING SHOES. The champion shoe (center), the 2nd-place finisher (left) and the 3rd-place forging were the best of the more than 100 entries. Event organizers say the quality of submissions is rising each year.
Craig McMillen of Nettleton, Miss., embodies all of the ideals behind the annual Mail-In Forging Exercise. He believes a good farrier should be able to forge a shoe. He works hard at that skill, always looks to learn more, and — though quietly confident in his abilities — is a bit unsure of himself when it comes to entering forging contests.
All of which makes McMillen a fitting winner of the 2003 Mail-In Forging Exercise, which was sponsored by Calgary Stampede and American Farrier’s Journal, with support from the farrier supply industry. (Please see “Suppliers Give Valuable Prizes.”)
McMillen earned the top spot by creating a Scottish hind preventer shoe that no one else in the world could quite match. McMillen edged Ben Yager of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, by a slim margin, 44.25 points to 44. Brant Crittenden of Chimacum, Wash., finished a close third with 42.75 points.
McMillen never thought seriously about capturing first place in the shoe-building event. “I just went out there and made one and sent it in,” he says. “I didn’t really think I’d win. I figured it would be great just to make the top 10.”
It was McMillen’s first entry in the Mail-In Forging Exercise. His interest rose after hearing about the challenge of the Scottish hind…