by Christy Parrott
Each summer for the past 7 years, Jen Zander, along with her husband, Jeremy, put together the Colorado Classic, a farrier competition event sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Farriers Association, along with Oleo Acres, a horseshoeing and blacksmith supply house. Starting Thursday, July 25th, farriers from around the country meet at the Kremmling fairgrounds to compete, enjoy camaraderie and keep traditions alive. “In the day and age we’re in, tradesmen and women often get overlooked, but they tend to be the backbone of our society,” Jen Zander notes.
The Colorado Classic provides a private clinic and meal for participants on Thursday. Then forging starts at 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. this Friday, followed by Saturday’s events, beginning at 8am, which include the two-man draft, demos and live shoeing. Competitors enter to win cash and prizes, such as tools and gear donated by various sponsors. But more than the prizes and inherent bragging rights, competitors learn from one another. “Most farriers will tell you they learn by competing alongside other farriers. Clinics and competitions are crucial to further the skills of the farrier and the trade,” Zander explains. “We put in our best work in front of our peers,” Seth Holestine, a certified journeyman farrier, adds. “There’s always something to learn and improve on. Blacksmithing is a trade that’s been around for centuries, and most of us are still using steel shoes and nails.”
This year, industry expert Lamar Weaver will judge the competitions, which can get intense, as Holestine describes, “It’s fast-paced. We’re all definitely against the clock.” The public is welcome to attend fairground events on Friday and Saturday free of charge, and all are invited to attend the banquet dinner Saturday evening (available for purchase at $25/person) that includes an awards ceremony with a silent auction. Raising a heel to all involved.
by Christy Parrott