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
“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
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.”