RESULTS: HEAVY HORSE PULL – Middleweight Class
Champion – Simon & Mike, Randy Dodge, Albany, OR/Stan Grad, Airdrie, AB for New West Truck Centres
Reserve – Bob & Dan, Kevin Danyluk, Edmonton, AB for Eau Claire Distillery
Calgary – On Saturday night the Middleweight teams, each weighing in at a combined 3,000 to 3,499 pounds, were hard at it in the second of three evenings of the Stampede Heavy Horse Pull. After eleven rounds of progressively-increasing weight on the sled, Randy Dodge, driving Simon and Mike, was the winner. It was Dodge’s fourth victory in a row with Mike, and Simon’s third.
Dodge is co-owner of the team with Airdrie’s Stan Grad. “Stan’s a good man and he’s done a lot for me over the years,” said Dodge, who has been competing at the Stampede for most of a decade. The Albany, OR puller also made a point of giving credit to another vital member of the team. “My wife Stacy is the backbone of the operation,” he said.
It took until the sixth pull, with 9,000 pounds on the sled, before any of the ten teams entered fell out. By round ten, the weight was up to 11,000 pounds and there were only two teams left. Simon and Mike put their heads down and managed a full pull of 14 feet. Kevin Danyluk and his team did their best, but could only drag the sled to the halfway point – 84 inches.
Cameron Witman put on an impressive display of horsemanship to finish third. His two The Catalyst Group-backed horses, Tom and Tickle, got out of sync on pulls seven and eight when they were only partway down the course. With only two attempts allowed, the Ferndale, WA, teamster halted the team, settled them down and got all the way to the finish. Witman and his team were eliminated in round nine, just 33 inches short of a full pull.
According to Dodge, everyone feels the pressure as the number of pulls increases. “They know it’s getting heavier,” he said. “They’re old veterans so they get worked up for it. When you get wound up, you fight the ground more – then you slip more. If you hold onto the reins a little tighter, you can keep them on their feet.”
The Agrium Western Event Centre is a good place for heavy horse pulling, according to Dodge. “I’ve never pulled in an air-conditioned facility,” he noted. “It was really refreshing when we came into it.”
The Heavy Horse Pull concludes Sunday evening at 7pm in the Agrium Western Event Centre with the Heavyweight class for teams tipping the scales at 3,500 pounds and over.