Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calgary Stampede Guest Post by Joey Sabljic

The Calgary Stampede is well underway. The Ag Media committee is keeping the intern team consisting of myself, Shelley, and Joey, very busy. Joey has been writing articles all week about the people and events that make up Stampede agriculture. He hails from Guelph, Ontario as a Research Writer for Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowlege (SPARK) at the University of Guelph. Here's one he wrote about a heavy horse exhibitor family from Didsbury, Alberta:

The Leclair factor
Sister trio make another strong showing at Stampede heavy horse event
By Joey Sabljic
Good things come in threes – a statement that especially rings true each time the Leclaire sisters from Didsbury, Alberta polish up their Clydesdales and compete in a heavy horse show.
Together, this talented young trio – whose family owns Green Leaf Farms – have been wowing audiences at heavy horse show competitions across North America. And now, they’ve extended their success story to this year’s Calgary Stampede, with a strong showing at the Junior International Heavy Horse Show. 
In this event, each competitor is judged on their own showmanship, as well as their horse’s appearance, disposition and breeding characteristics.
Jocelyn, at age ten and the youngest competitor in the junior category, placed second in decorating and second in showing. Hannah, 14 and the middle sister of the trio, won first prize in the intermediate decoration and show categories. Meanwhile, big sister Amy, 18, claimed fourth in decoration and second in showing for the senior category.
All three sisters advanced to the final stage of six, where Hannah was named this year’s grand champion in showmanship.
Last year’s Stampede saw the Leclaire sisters make a sweep of the same Junior International Heavy Horse Show event, placing first in each of the junior, intermediate and senior categories.
At the tender age 18, Amy, the eldest of the sisterly trio, could be considered the veteran of the bunch, having competed in heavy horse competitions across Canada and the United States for almost a decade. She sees herself as a mentor to her younger sisters, even though the nature of the competition sometimes pits them directly against one other.
“You don’t like to compete against your sisters, but you try to give them as much help as you can – especially when you’ve been through everything yourself,” she explains.
However, Amy’s two younger sisters aren’t exactly newcomers to heavy horse events, either. Hannah’s victory at this year’s Stampede marks her eighth year competing. And although only her second year of competition, Jocelyn plans to compete and move into the older categories as her sisters did before her.
Like many tight-knit family groups, the Leclaires come by their passion for heavy horses honestly. One might even say it’s genetic, as their father, Roger, began competing in heavy horse show events when he was Jocelyn’s age.
Since then, each of his daughters has been quite literally raised into the family passion. 
“When Hannah was only about three weeks old, she was already at one of my father’s shows with us,” recalls Amy. “I really couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.”
The Leclaires plan to compete in October at the International Youth Livestock Show in Madison, Wisconsin. But for now, with their competition at the Stampede over, the Leclaires will pack up their horses and head back to Didsbury to savour another successful showing.
“Just the fact that you competed at the Stampede is something that’s special – after all they say it’s the greatest show on earth,” says Hannah. “But it’s also something that can really raise your profile and help you out in the future.”  
“You all may have done well,” interjects their father, Roger, who watched anxiously from the sidelines as his daughters competed. “But I definitely won first place in stress.”

No comments:

Post a Comment