Mention this western Canadian city to leading farriers around the world and they’ll think first about the Calgary Stampede and its famous forging and shoeing competition

While in Calgary earlier this summer for the World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition (WCBC), my wife and I toured the city’s Olympic Park. This is where the ski jumping, bobsledding and luge competitions were held during the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Catching our attention was an exhibit that spelled out what it takes to be an Olympian athlete:

  • Accuracy
  • Endurance
  • Intelligence
  • Speed
  • Strength

I quickly realized these Olympian standards also apply perfectly to the competitors in the worldwide forging and shoeing competition at the Calgary Stampede. As with Olympic athletes, these winning farriers represent the best of their craft in the world and rely on these same five essential Olympic success traits.

21st Blacksmiths’ Competition 

First organized in 1980 with the help of the Pratt family, this year’s 21st annual WCBC contest drew 47 contestants from 15 countries. Thanks to support from the Mustad Hoofcare Group, this event is recognized around the world as the “Olympics Of Blacksmithing.”

Nearly half the contestants were competing in Calgary for the first time. Veteran farriers who’ve competed as many as 15 times in Calgary were also on hand.

Following 4 days of intense shoeing and forging competition, Darren Bazin of England was named the World Champion Blacksmith. He took home $10,000 for his shoeing and forging efforts. The Reserve Champion Blacksmith was Andy Martin of Wales.

Bazin was also recognized as the World Forging Champion and Martin was the Reserve Forging Champion.

An Educational Vacation

Even if you never decide to compete in Calgary, taking…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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