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Local wins Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Pull for second year in a row

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am

Heavy horse driver Randy Dodge and nine-year-old Belgian Simon along with 11-year-old Belgian Mike won first place in the Calgary Stampede’s Middleweight Heavy Horse Pull competition for the second year in a row. The team is co-owed by Airdrie rancher Stan Grad.
Heavy horse driver Randy Dodge and nine-year-old Belgian Simon along with 11-year-old Belgian Mike won first place in the Calgary Stampede’s Middleweight Heavy Horse Pull competition for the second year in a row. The team is co-owed by Airdrie rancher Stan Grad.
File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdrie rancher Stan Grad came away from the 2014 Calgary Stampede as a big winner when his team of Belgian horses along with their driver, Randy Dodge, claimed the champion title for the second year in a row in the Heavy Horse Pull competition for middleweight class on July 12.

“Stan’s a good man and he’s done a lot for me over the years,” said Dodge, who co-owns the team with Grad, in a press release.

Dodge, who hails from Albany, Ore., lead horses Simon and Mike to victory by pulling 11,000 pounds of weight a full pull of 14 feet. The second-place winner Kevin Danyluk and his team only managed to pull the impressive amount of weight to the halfway point of about seven feet.

The event, which ran for three evenings during the Stampede, began with each team pulling a combined weight of 3,000 to 3,499 pounds. The weight was progressively increased during the next 10 rounds to the winning pull of 11,000 pounds.

It took until the sixth round, with a weight of 9,000 pounds, before any of the 10 teams entered in the event fell out.

Dodge said the pressure increases for him and the horses with each new round.

“They (the horses) know it’s getting heavier,” he said.

“They’re old veterans so they get worked up for it.”

The driver, who has been competing in the Stampede for the better part of a decade, said he knows the trick with his team.

“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.”

This is Dodge’s forth heavy pull victory in row with 11-year-old Mike and his third with nine-year-old Simon.

He said the thing he likes best about competing at the Calgary Stampede in the Agrium Western Event Centre is the benefits of the facility.

“I’ve never pulled in an air-conditioned facility. It was really refreshing when we came into it,” he said.

Rounding out the competition in third place was Cameron Witman and his team Tom and Tickle.


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