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Horse Enthusiasts Attend Mane Event in Record Numbers

RED DEER, AB - The Mane Event Education & Trade Fair ended Sunday having had over 42,000 people come through the doors to take in over 100 hours of clinics and presentations, and shop at the over 400 trade fair booths. As the doors closed on the Event’s second appearance at Red Deer’s Westerner Park, the general consensus was that attendees left the Event feeling they had learned something, or at the very least, had a really good time.

Spectators at the Trainers Challenge finals clearly had a good time as they gave loud verbal approval to the three trainers and the young fillies they had been working with over the 2 ½ days of the Event. Last year’s champion, Steve Rother of Oregon, was again awarded the championship trophy after completing all the required elements. Dramatically standing on top of his horse cracking a whip, and trailering his horse - while mounted - he left the ring with five minutes to spare in the allotted half-hour.

“My horse had an open mind for everything I threw at her,” he said after accepting the special edition Mane Event trophy from Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine representative Terri Mason.

Both of the other trainers also completed the required elements, though Craig Cameron needed some prompting from the audience when he seemed to forget some of the tasks. Jon Ensign, who drew first in the order of go for his first appearance in a Trainers Challenge, later admitted to being nervous. “I was just trying to survive and get done in the right amount of time,” he said.

Ensign and Cameron both ended their sessions by loading their horses in a trailer. And in the end, it was only a one point spread in the judge’s calculations that saw Rother named the champion.

The final day of the Mane Event began early with Hugh McLennan, the voice of the Spirit of the West radio show and Alberta’s Bryn Thiessen, rancher, preacher poet an philosopher. Throughout the day riders and spectators had one last chance to learn from the impressive list of top trainers and horsemen and horsewomen, and to shop at the trade fair.

Rodeo legend and local auctioneer Jack Daines of Innisfail, who was attending his second Mane Event, said, “It’s nice to see the friendliness of the whole thing, beautiful horses, great people, city people, country people - it’s a whole cross section. And I never realized that there are people here at the Mane Event from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, all over Alberta and British Columbia.”

“I haven’t heard anything but good from everyone that has come by our booth,” said Allan Sparks of Sparks Innovations, who provided the equipment to groom the round pen for the Trainers Challenge.

The Mane Event returns to Red Deer next year April 24 - 26. Organizers said that while they were absolutely blown away by the support and enthusiasm shown by the attendees this year, they are already working to ensure that next year’s Event will build on its reputation as being the “must do” event for horse people. Next up on the calendar is the Mane Event’s 5th anniversary in Chilliwack, BC running October 17 - 19, 2008.


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