Red Deer – New classes and opportunities to compete highlight changes to the 2014 Canadian Supreme, which takes places September 29 – October 5 at Westerner Park. Over 500 of the best western horses from across the Pacific Northwest will vie for nearly half a million dollars in cash and prizes at the largest event of its kind in the country, featuring reining, cutting and working cow horse classes.
“We put out a survey of our competitors last year,” said Canadian Supreme Chairman Jeff Robson. “We wanted to get a read on how we were hitting the mark.”
Feedback steered show management to obtain NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) approval for this year’s Supreme.
“That means the money won by each horse and the rider in the reining classes will count towards their lifetime earnings,” added Robson. “It’s already resulted in more entries in our reining classes.”
In the Cow Horse division, a Non Pro Rein/Box class makes its debut. It allows riders to show their horse in the reining pattern, and then a form of cutting where they simply ‘box’ a single animal at one end for a short time. It removes the element of the fence work.
“A lot of riders are intimidated by the speed and cow factor of going down the fence,” explained renowned trainer Les Timmons, a competitor at the Canadian Supreme since its inception.
The rein/box class is beginning to show up at many major western horse events, such as the spring show in Las Vegas.
“It’s designed to get more people involved with the working cow horse, and broaden the exposure to newcomers. It also helps deal with the changing demographics of our riders,” he added.
Timmons is also President of the Canadian Cutting Horse Association, and was pleased to see the addition of three new amateur cutting classes to the Canadian Supreme program this year, as well as a Non Pro 7-Up cutting class. The class, which features seven-year-old horses, is a great opportunity for Non Pro riders to showcase their skills confidently on an aged horse.
Timmons, who’s now based in Saskatoon, will be among the veteran riders contending for the titles in the Open Classic Challenge this year, along with the likes of Denton Moffat, of Armstrong, B.C.; Gerry Hansma of Granum; and Brad Pederson of Lacombe.
But there are also some ‘young guns’ emerging in the sport, challenging for the honors. For instance, Travis Rempel of Fort Langley, B.C., is the first competitor in years to show horses in all three disciplines: Cutting, Reining, and Working Cow Horse. Dustin Gonnet of Cayley, who took the Open Cutting Class for 3-year-old horses last year, is back and Saskatoon’s Seth Abrahamson has been having success on this season’s Working Cow Horse circuit. For reiners, keep your eyes on the likes of Christa Turel from Olds, or Austin Seelhoff of Cochrane.
Another change this year will see Ron Anderson take over management of the Friday night Western Horse Sale, as part of Canadian Supreme week.
“Elaine and Bill Speight did the sale for years, and decided to step away,” said Anderson, who has also served as show announcer for nearly two decades. “We want to carry on the reputation for quality and trustworthiness they created for the sale.”
“I’m pleased with the consignments we’ve received, and I believe everyone looking can find a horse at the right stage for their needs.”
Over forty horses will be offered, ranging from prospects to competition ready-ready mounts. More information on this year’s sale is available at www.thewesternhorsesale.com.
Additions to the popular “Cinch Night at the Supreme” Saturday night program feature bridle-less cutting, and a ranch rodeo flavored Team Doctoring contest. As well, the Trade Show is back, with a wide range of horse related and western lifestyle products, as well as western art. It opens daily Thursday-Saturday at 10:00 am. For the third straight year, admission to all Canadian Supreme events is free.
Enthusiasts can also keep up with the action thanks to the live webcast, which can be accessed, along with daily schedules, on the revamped website www.canadiansupreme.com.