September 13, 2012 18:25
Red Deer becomes the center of the western horse world once again this September. The Canadian Supreme is being held at Westerner Park, beginning September 23rd. The prestigious week-long competition attracts more than five hundred horses, from as far away as Quebec and Texas.
The Canadian Supreme is largest working cow horse and reining event in the Pacific Northwest. With close to half a million dollars available in cash and prizes, it’s also the richest western horse event in Canada.
Long-time Show Manager Dave Robson says it’s a showcase for building the reputation of superstar horses.
“This is the ultimate show for young horses, testing their abilities with cattle, and their response to the rein,” Robson commented.
It takes years to season a competitive performance horse, or even build a reliable ranch horse. But these young prospects have a head start from some of the best trainers going, and it’s amazing to see their talents at work. During the Supreme, there are cutting horse competitions, reining classes, and the demanding working cow horse event; where horses have to be able to excel at cutting, reining, and the always exciting fence work portion of the contest.
“That can get a little western,” chuckled Robson. “A single cow is turned out and the horse and rider have to control it at one end of the arena, then turn it several times going up and down the fence, and finally circle with it. The crowd really gets into the fence work.”
2012 marks the 36th year of the show, which also includes the Canadian Supreme Stallion Program, providing bonus payouts for winning horses that are sired by nominated stallions.
Along with the seven full days of equine competition, there is also the Western Lifestyles Marketplace, which runs the Thursday through the Saturday of the show. Exhibitors from across western Canada bring their finest horse related products, and there is also a large selection artists, as well as unique gift items.
Friday night features the Western Horse Sale, which Elaine Speight of Rocky Mountain House has organized for 18 years. It’s one of the most popular western performance horse sales in all of Canada. There will be around 60 head of both prospect colts and trained horses on offer. (See them at www.thewesternhorsesale.com)
A special treat this year is the fact that fans and horse enthusiasts of all kinds can watch the entire Supreme for free, including the spectacular Saturday evening Showcase, featuring the Finals in several events.
“We’ve been the best kept secret in Red Deer for years,” noted Robson. “We want visitors to have the opportunity to see this exciting competition and take in the trade show. That’s why we decided to waive the admission fee this year.”
Local trainers often make appearances in the winner’s circle at the Canadian Supreme, and fans can cheer on the likes of Lacombe’s Brad Pederson, the youngest ever member of the Canadian Supreme Hall of Fame. He claimed the Supreme Open Cutting Futurity award buckle in 2011.
There are also the Hoar brothers from Innisfail. Geoff Hoar is the defending Open Snaffle Bit Futurity champion, and he convinced his brother Greg to get out of steer wrestling on the rodeo trail and take up working cow horse competitions instead.
Reining superstar Shawn Sapergia of Cochrane won both the Open Reining and Open Reining Derby titles last year, and she’ll be back in the hunt for buckles again this year.
And you can never count out legends of the cutting and cow horse world like Gerry Hansma, Les Timmons, and Doug Reinhardt, who are always well-mounted for the show.
The 2012 Canadian Supreme begins Sunday, September 23rd and concludes with the exciting Cinch Night of the Supreme, 7:00 pm on Saturday September 29th. The Western Lifestyles Marketplace opens at 10:00 am September 27-29th. Admission this year is free.
For further information, head to www.canadiansupreme.com or contact Betty Gardner @ 403-313-8673.