Weyburn, Saskatchewan, farrier Chad Johnstone’s unexpected death in November 2014 was a shock for the hoof-care community, but banded them together to create something good out of the tragedy. Olds College in Olds, Alberta, the school where Johnstone studied farriery, set up a scholarship fund for farrier students in Johnstone’s name and the Weyburn Agricultural Society, which Johnstone had been the president of, began looking for ways to help.
The first annual Chad Johnstone Memorial Contest was organized by the Weyburn Agricultural Society and held June 29-30 at the Weyburn Fair. The society gathered 24 sponsors for the contest and raised $11,000 from the sponsorships alone.
On the first night of the event, Gerd Martin, a board member of the Weyburn Agricultural Society, says they held an auction that raised an additional $16,000 toward the scholarship.
“We had excellent community support,” he says. “We had big crowds from the fair every day to watch the competition. But for me, the biggest highlight of the event was all the money raised for the scholarship. That’s so hard to beat.”
The competition, judged by Steve Dixon of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, drew 12 competitors to forge in a mix of gas and coke forges and participate in a live shoeing. First through third place winners received a cash prize as well as a Jim Hyde belt buckle. Jonathan Green of Winnipeg, Manitoba, took first place in the open division. Oudran Marchal of France won the intermediate division and Norm Kohl of Saskatchewan won the novice division.
“Chad was always interested in clinics and contests,” Martin says. “If I was putting on a clinic, he would always come up and help me out. This will become an annual event and we’re hoping it will get bigger and bigger.”