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Monday, July 11, 2011

Calgary Stampede: Steven Beane Three-peats as World Champion

Steven Beane of North Allerton in Yorkshire, England captured his third consecutive global title at the Calgary Stampede’s 32nd Annual World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition on Sunday. Beane is the first competitor to win back-to-back-to-back world crowns at Calgary since Welshman Grant Moon snared his fifth straight WCBC title back in 1992.

And Beane’s competition in Sunday’s five-man final made the feat that much more impressive. Stoking coke forges around the Big Top floor were Moon, with six world titles to his credit, fellow Welshman Billy Crothers, with five Stampede titles, and Paul Robinson of Northern Ireland, who won the WCBC crown in 2008 before Beane went on his current run.

“It’s very hard to win Calgary every time. But this year, with this field of competitors, there was nothing between us, you know?” said Beane, 32. “These guys are all friends and colleagues of mine.

The full top five were from the U.K., which is quite an achievement.

“And to beat them, you’ve got to be at your best, and I’m lucky it happened for me this week. I’ve prepared, and I’ve put a lot of time in for Calgary – for the past three months, Calgary has been my goal,” added Beane. “With the jet lag, I average only four hours of sleep a night here. So I’ve got to be fit. I’ve got to be focused.

“And when you hear who’s coming, it makes you more determined. You want to win the world championship when all the best farriers in the world are there.”

Beane takes home the winner’s check for $10,000, as well as a gold-and-silver Stampede championship buckle, a limited edition bronze trophy, and a champion’s jacket. Final standings showed Beane with 152 points. Robinson was second with 115 points, Derek Gardner of Scotland placed third with 111, Crothers was fourth at 102 and Moon finished fifth at 95.

Nathan Powell of Water Valley, Alta., was the top Canadian, finishing 10th overall. The WCBC has not crowned a Canadian champion since Bob Marshall in 1986.

The WCBC, known as the “Olympics of blacksmithing,” attracted 56 farriers from 13 countries around the world this summer: England, Denmark, New Zealand, Scotland, Australia, Ireland, Norway, France, Wales, Belgium, Northern Ireland, the United States, and Canada, with more than $50,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs.

Sunday morning’s semifinal saw the 10 remaining contestants shoe the front feet of a light draft horse in 60 minutes. The finalists were given another 60 minutes to shoe the hind feet of that same horse. Judges Ian Allison of England and Dan Haussman of the United States based their decisions, through a blind judging process, on shoe forging, finish, and nail placement, as well as preparation and balance of the horses’ feet.

Henrick Berger of Denmark, Scotland’s David Varini, Jim Quick of the United States, and Yoann Policard of France also made the top 10.

Moon, Robinson, Varini, and Crothers won the four-man team championship, splitting a prize pot of $8,000. Beane was named Forging Champion, taking away $1,000, while Robinson was tapped as Shoeing Champion, pocketing the same amount. Patrick McIvor of Salmo, B.C., took home Artistic Champion honors, while Jason Bromley of the United States was named Rookie of the Year.

At Saturday night’s Metal Art Auction and Metal Art Showcase, Doug Taylor of Blackfalds, Alta., was named overall traditional forging champion, McIvor took overall non-traditional forging champion honours, and Rodney King of New Zealand and England’s Jonathon Nunn teamed up to win the potluck forging category.

Competitors must do their best work in 10 different point classes, including Sunday’s semifinal and final, to win the WCBC. Beane knew he had a 13-point cushion heading into Sunday’s action, but wasn’t really interested in further updates. “I was happy with the work I did. The way I look at it, if I hadn’t won, I was still happy with what I’d done,” he said. “I think that once you please yourself, then you can please everyone else.”

Scores for Top Ten: Beane 152; Robinson 115; Gardner 111; Crothers 102; Moon 95; Berger 63; Varini 56; Quick 48; Policard 34; Powell 34 (Policard ninth).

Results and article provided by the Calgary Stampede.

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