Former World Champion David Wilson of Balmullo, Scotland has been the judge of the 2008 World Championship Blacksmiths Competition at the Calgary Stampede this week.
David, who is 71, was invited to judge for the fourth time in his career; no other farrier has judged the prestigious Calgary event so many times. He was the World Champion in 1985; I remember him on the stage in front of the entire rodeo audience receiving his award...dressed in a beautiful kilt.
The bronze sitting on David's anvil in the photo is the coveted trophy he won as World Champion at the Calgary Stampede.
According to an article in a Scottish newspaper last week, David has won 13 gold medals for draft horse shoemaking at the Royal Highland Show and has been show champion eight times, also receiving a special honor in 2005 to mark his 50th Highland Show. He also won the North American Challenge Cup Futurity in 1988. In 1983 Queen Elizabeth presented David with the British Empire Medal for services to farriery.
Word is that entries from Scotland were especially high this year, so there may be an entire flock of kilts on the stage tonight when the awards are presented.
Click here to read more about David Wilson, who will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his marriage to Mari this summer.
One person that David was judging in Calgary is Ben Yeager, who lives near Victoria, British Columbia. Ben is the current Canadian champion and was scheduled to compete in Calgary along with three teammates from the Vancouver area. They will also compete in the international team competition in England later in the summer.
Here's a little video clip from last year's Calgary Stampede shoeing events, courtesy of the Stampede:
I don't know for certain who the winner was tonight. I do know that former World Champion Grant Moon did come out of retirement and competed at Calgary this week.