Tuesday, July 08, 2014

It's Official: England's Steven Beane Wins His Fifth Calgary Stampede World Championship Title

The Calgary Stampede did not provide photos of the awards this year, so The Hoof Blog had to go hunting for some. We found a perfect photo taken by Tony Kay, OBE, Her Majesty's British Consul General to Calgary and the prairie provinces of Canada. Tony is now quite a fan of farrier competitions and especially of Steven Beane. He snapped this photo of Steven on the huge video screen above the rodeo grandstand. Ok, I dressed it up a little bit. (Tony Kay photo, used with permission)

World Champion – Steven Beane, Northallerton, Yorkshire, UK
Reserve Champion – Matthew Randles, Biddulph, Staffordshire, UK

The Calgary Stampede has issued an official press release confirming results announced unofficially on Monday morning:

Calgary – It is said sometimes that ‘you have to lose a championship to win one’. For Englishman Steven Beane, losing last year’s World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition (WCBC) at the Calgary Stampede is part of the reason he won this year.

This year was the 35th anniversary of the WCBC in Calgary and it attracted a stellar group of 59 of the world’s best farriers. “The best part is that they represented 15 countries,” said Erik Swanby of the Stampede Blacksmith Committee. With much of the competition taking place just outside the Agrium Western Event Centre, Swanby said, the hard-working blacksmiths drew considerable interest from Stampede visitors. “They heard the noise, went to find out what the noise was and stayed and watched,” he said.

This year there was no team concept, everyone competed as an individual. Another change was in the format, “We had some shoeing classes running at the same time as some forging classes,” Swanby said. “We’d have ten guys building shoes and ten guys shoeing horses.”

The action began on Thursday for Sneak-a-Peek with three classes designed to exhibit how fast competitors could build a shoe. On Friday and Saturday, beginning at 11am and going all day, competitors built a variety of specialty shoes within a set time and then had their handiwork judged.

Steven Beane on stage in front of the rodeo during the announcement of his victory. Notice the face of sponsor Hans Mustad of Delta Mustad Hoofcare Center, making the announcement on the screen at the top. Steven is holding his new solid gold hammer up for everyone to see. (Calgary Stampede Twitter photo)

Points were earned in each class, with the top ten progressing to the semi-finals and finals on Sunday in the Northern Lights Arena.

On Sunday, the ten semi-finalists each shod the front feet of a horse. In the final five, the contenders for the crown shod a horse’s hind feet. Consistency was the key to winning, Swanby explained. “If you couldn’t score high in all the classes, you wouldn’t make it to the top,” he said.

According to Beane, “The level is so high, you have to be an all-around great competitor. This year was very special. There were six former world champions here.”

Beane won the Stampede WCBC in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. At 35, he’s been shoeing horses for 18 years, which is also the length of time he’s been competing. Not long after he was hired for his first job shoeing, he says, his boss entered him in a competition without his knowledge.

“When I came home, I said, ‘When’s the next one'?” Beane recalled. “Some people are just competitive. I like the atmosphere, the buzz and the pressure. How I shoe horses in a competition is how I shoe every day. I do the same standard always.”

Missing the win last year, he said, "probably did me good. I went home. I evaluated it, improved my game and came back. It seems surreal that I've won it five times. When you're at the top of your game, you want to be doing it when the best guys are there. Everyone was here because it was the 35th anniversary and it was an honor to compete against them and finally come out on top."

Beane takes home a very special trophy for winning the 35th WCBC: a golden hammer appraised at $55,000.

"It's beautiful," said Beane. "I love the Calgary Stampede...(These are) the elite farriers of the world."

As well as his golden hammer, Beane and the top competitor from each country were honored in front of the crowd in the grandstand for the Sunday night chuckwagon races. Swanby noted, "You can't go anywhere else in the world and stand in front of a grandstand full of that many people because you won a blacksmith contest."

About the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme "We're Greatest Together", the Stampede is a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

Thank you to the Calgary Stampede for providing this official press release.

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