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Cochrane resident wins Stampede triple crown

A Cochrane-area resident made history by winning the first ever triple crown in the Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse pull, July 18.

A Cochrane-area resident made history by winning the first ever triple crown in the Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse pull, July 18.

Dennis Weinberger and his Springbank Belgian Ranches teams won first place in all three divisions of the horse pull July 16-18, earning $9,000 in prize money.

“I feel pretty good,” said Weinberger, who has been competing in the event for nine years.

“This has been my goal for a long, long time.”

Weinberger’s teams won second place in all three events during last year’s Stampede, but after changing trainers and programs, he managed to beat out the competition to earn the much coveted title.

Weinberger started his winning streak on July 16 when his lightweight Belgian team of Spike and Kris, placed first out of seven teams.

The only team to successfully pull a 9,000-pound sled the full 14 feet, they also shouldered another 1,100 pounds just for show in front of a packed Big Top crowd.

Weinberger’s middleweight Belgian team of Davey and Dillon out-pulled nine rivals by a margin of 10 inches, July 17.

The team succeeded in pulling an 11,000-pound sled to clinch the victory, and a cheque for $3,000.

But it was the impressive show put on by heavyweight Belgians Dan and Jesse on July 18 that clinched the first-ever triple crown for Weinberger. The pair pulled a 13,200-pound sled the full 14 feet, beating last year’s record set by Airdrie-based Soderglen Ranches outfit owned by Stan Grad and teamstered by Nicolas Pouso.

Weinberger’s team was the only one out of a field of six to manage a full pull at 13,000 pounds, although Billy and Ben, a team out of Michigan teamstered by Scott Fisher, finished second by pulling 13,000 pounds a distance of 8 feet, 11 inches.

Last year’s record setting team, Ben and Jim, committed a line infraction after hauling the required weight more than half the necessary distance.

Fisher, who was reserve champion on both July 17 and 18, was instrumental in Weinberger’s feat, as he trained all of Weinberger’s heavy horses from January through June in Michigan.

“There is a secret weapon here, and his name is Scott Fisher,” said Weinberger.

“He deserves a lot of the credit. Scott spent a lot of hours building muscle on these horses, training them to behave, training them how to get under the load.”

Heavy horses have been part of Calgary’s annual agricultural fair for 125 years, dating back to the Stampede’s predecessor the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.

This year, Belgian and Percheron teams travelled from as far as Oregon, Michigan and Washington to compete.

Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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