On October 12-16, the Calgary Stampede will welcome hundreds of competitors from across North America to the annual Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. Some will fly in. Others will come, hauling horses from thousands of miles away. The end goal is the prestigious competition in the state-of-the-art Agrium Western Event Centre. But getting here, and enjoying the city and surrounding countryside can make the experience just that much more memorable.
We spoke with two of the top competitors from 2015 about the competition, and the importance of enjoying the scenery along the way. Russ Elrod, the 2015 Open Futurity Champion, resides in Terrebonne, Oregon. Carl Gerwien, the 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion, lives just outside of Calgary near the town of Nanton, Alberta.
Calgary Stampede: You come to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity. What is your favourite thing about it?
RE: It’s just a well-produced show with friendly helpful staff, held in a great facility. The arena is almost like showing in Fort Worth.
CG: I really like the new arena, the ground is so good. It’s become a very prestigious show, with all of the money and added exposure of the past 10 to 15 years. Plus it’s kind of like Julia’s (his wife’s) ancestral home, as she is AE Cross’ great, great granddaughter. (AE Cross is one of the ‘Big Four’, the founders of the Calgary Stampede)
Calgary Stampede: Outside of Stampede Park, what do you enjoy most about Calgary?
RE: We mostly go from the hotel to the park. I would like to catch a Calgary Flames game. I like hockey but I’m not much of a town person! I knew it was a major metropolitan centre, but I was surprised how large the city actually was.
CG: I prefer to take people to the Nanton area, to take them sightseeing in the back country along Highway 22 and Kananaskis country. And I take people to the steakhouse in Longview. When the Texans come they ask about the best place to go for dinner. It’s the Longview Steakhouse! Some people have also fished a bit. There’s lots of rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, just an abundance of fish in the creeks.
Calgary Stampede: What kind of reaction do you see from visitors?
CG: They just love it. They love the scenery along the back roads and around Chain Lakes (Provincial Park).
Calgary Stampede: How would you describe your experiences and the things you’ve seen coming to the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity?
RE: From Coeur D’Alene to Nanton it’s just beautiful country and a lot to look at. There’s that mining town where the mountain slid down. (Frank Slide) When we drove through the town of Frank we looked it up as we went through and it was really interesting. I loved Nanton. We stayed at Carl Gerwien’s and I loved his ranch and the area around it. Seeing the animals and the mountains, it was beautiful.
We look forward to welcoming all of our guests in October for the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. And no matter how you choose to get here, travel safe! For full event details and schedule, click here. The event is free, so join us anytime during the competition!
A reminder for competitors – entries close Monday, September 19. More information and the registration form can be found here.