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Dodge horsepower prevails in middleweight Heavy Horse Pull

CALGARY – For the second straight night, it was time for the competition to get outta Dodge.

Randy Dodge, that is, the veteran teamster from Albany, Ore., who snared the middleweight division

crown on Saturday at the Calgary Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull, sponsored by Soderglen Ranches, UPS,

Burnco, and Wrangler.

Dodge is the toast of the Big Top tent right now, having already captured the Stampede’s lightweight

division on Friday night. Twenty-four hours later, he doubled his pleasure with a minuscule margin of

victory . . . four inches.

“This is the best thing that ever happened to me, besides my kids being born,” said an exuberant Dodge,

whose Glover International Trucks-supported Belgian duo of Herb and Mike pulled an 11,500-pound sled

71 inches for the win.

“I didn’t even know I had it won until a friend told me. I was sure I was third or fourth. But my pair

hooked really nice, and gave it a very good second effort.”

With four teams still alive at the 11,500-pound level, Saturday’s Heavy Horse Pull was decided by the

measuring tape – and not much of it, at that.

Dodge’s 71 inches gave him the champion’s cheque of $3,000. Meanwhile, two Springbank Belgians teams

teamstered by Dennis Weinberger of Cochrane, Alta. – the Copps Services Inc.-supported pair of Tim and

Dillon, and the Candor Engineering Ltd.-supported team of L.D. and Mark – finished in a dead heat for

second place, pulling those 11,500 pounds exactly 67 inches each, allowing Weinberger to pocket a total

of $4,000. Fourth place went to the Airdrie-based Soderglen Ranches outfit of Simon and Hawk,

teamstered by Uruguay native Nicolas Pouso and supported by Lantz Farms Ltd., which managed 57

inches at the same weight.

Now, Dodge has a chance to accomplish what Weinberger did last summer for the first time in Stampede

history – pulling off the Heavy Horse Pull triple crown. On Sunday, July 17, at 7 p.m., the heavyweights

will take over the Big Top, and Dodge has his own team entered.

“My team tomorrow night (Jack and Michael) is an older team, kind of on the downhill side of things right

now,” said Dodge. “And they’re smaller . . . they’re outweighed by about 1,500 pounds, since the

heavyweight division is unlimited. But they’ll give it a good try.”

This year’s Stampede Heavy Horse Pull, the richest in North America, has drawn teamsters from as far

away as Oregon, Washington, and Saskatchewan, with outfits primarily featuring Belgian and Percheron

horsepower. The teams of the Stampede’s heavyweight division tip the scales at a combined two-horse

weight of 3,501 pounds and more.

Weinberger, meanwhile, marveled at how the bar is continually raised at the Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull.

Last year, he won the middleweight division when his Belgians managed 25 inches at 11,000 pounds.

“What we saw tonight was four teams pull further, and with more weight, than first and second last year,”

he noted. “Every year, the competition gets a little better.”

Weinberger, who hauls to horse pulls in Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, was also second-guessing his

middleweight pairings in hindsight. Dillon was his only division returnee from 2010, while Tim, L.D., and

Mark were newcomers.

“We put lots of time in this crew here,” he said, “and if I had to do it all over again, I’d make it L.D. and

Dillon together. Next pull I go to, that’ll be the lineup.”

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