Sunday, July 06, 2014

Calgary Stampede: Forging On to the World Championship's Top Ten

The Calgary Stampede World Championship Blacksmiths Competition is over the hump. Competition through Saturday was an elimination series that was a complicated dance of simultaneous divisions run under timed conditions. At the end of it all, ten farriers emerged as the "Top Ten" who would go forward for the title of World Champion.

The problem is that when they stepped forward, they left all their hard-won points behind. On Sunday morning, they all started at zero, and one super class will determine who makes it to the "Top Five".

Competitors at Calgary this year have been competing outdoors.
(Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede)

One farrier who won't be going forward is one who deserves some recognition. I can't remember a a husband and wife competing against each other at Calgary, if indeed that has ever happened. I know that husbands and wives have been on teams together but this year, Scotland's Sarah Brown was a competitor in her own right. She will also represent Scotland on the British team at the European Championships this summer.

Scotland's Sarah Brown competed at Calgary this year. Her husband, three-time world champion Steven Beane of England, has advanced to the semi-finals. (Aaron Kampfer photo, used with permission)

If it seems like it is difficult to find out what is going on there, it is not an illusion. It really is. Calgary, like most rodeos, has rules against taking photos and also against uploading photos to social media. The event loves social media, but they prefer to stock Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with images and request that they provide for you to share, rather than allow you to take your own.

The reason for that became obvious on Friday night, when two women chained themselves--by their necks--to the rail of the racetrack to prevent the chuckwagon races from starting. That's the sort of thing that would go viral at most events but Calgary was able to somewhat minimize the impact. They'd rather the public not photograph interactions between humans and animals that can be interpreted differently by people with varying views of how animals should be treated.

When you buy a ticket to the Calgary Stampede, you agree to this:
“To protect, among other things, the personal information of our guests, you agree: (i) not to reproduce, perform, display or upload any photographs, videos and/or recordings, that you may take or record while at the Calgary Stampede; and (ii) upon our request, to immediately remove and/or delete any and all such photographs, videos and/or recording online or from any other media.”

Obviously, the media is allowed to cover the Stampede, but there doesn't seem to be any media covering the farriers and the event doesn't issue press releases or post scores on the Stampede's website, which is their choice.

In past years, a video livestream was available on the web, but that was discontinued this year. The lead sponsor, Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center, has posted hundreds of photos of the farriers on the company's Facebook page for their friends and families to see.

Every year, people are impatient for score information as the tension builds but pretty much the only way to know the score is to be there.

I'll share more later. Good luck to all!

Thanks to Theresa Coates of Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center for help with the scores this morning.

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