The Calgary Stampede Blacksmith Classic, a three-day invitational competition, kicks off Friday, July 15, 2016. Twelve blacksmiths from Canada and the U.S. are firing up their forges and facing off for $8,000 in prize money.

This year marks the introduction of a new format for the Blacksmith Classic. Four-person teams compete in four classes. On July 15, teams will compete in two classes designed to evaluate technical skills with respect to forging and metal work. The teams will then shoe a performance horse on Saturday, and a heavy horse on Sunday.

“The competition has always been great in Calgary, but this is a fun new format,” says Craig Trnka, who has been competing at the Calgary Stampede for 25 years. “It’s good to see them pumping fresh, new ideas into the event. It shakes it up for us.”

This year is particularly special for Trnka, as one of his teammates is his son, Bodie. 

“It’s a dream come true to compete on an international level with my son,” said Trnka of World Championship Blacksmiths. “I’m probably past my prime, but he’s just getting started. It’s great to see the event through his eyes.”

There are three teams competing:

• World Champion Blacksmiths: Tom Petersen (Bozeman, Mont.), Lamar Weaver (Denver, Pa.), Robert Jukes (Weatherford, Texas), and Chris Madrid (Sante Fe, N.M.)

• American Farriers Team: Craig Trnka (Eagleton, N.M.), Bodie Trnka (Eagan, Minn.), Tim McPhee (Epping, N.H.) and Jeremy Scudder (Maryland, N.Y.)

• Canadian Farrier Specialists: Kris Kemp (Barrhead, Alberta), Mark Currie (Okotoks, Alberta), Greg Toronchuk (Onoway, Alberta), Jason Wrubleski (Sherwood Park, Alberta)

In addition to the competition, there are daily blacksmith demonstrations at the Calgary Stampede.