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“Fitness to Compete” A new animal care standard for the 2011 Calgary Stampede

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:00 AM


CalgaryOver the next three weeks the Calgary Stampede will roll out one of the most comprehensive animal care programs in North America.

The hundreds of majestic thoroughbreds of the GMC Rangeland Derby and the powerful bucking and bovine stock of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo will be scrutinized as never before as part of the Stampede’s new Fitness to Compete program. The program enhances the Stampede’s position as a leader in animal care and ensures that only the healthiest and fittest of animals will compete at The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, July 8-17.

“This new program takes the Stampede’s animal care program to an entirely new level,” says Dr. Greg Evans, chief veterinarian for the Calgary Stampede. “It provides our independent veterinarians more detailed information about each horse and allows us even closer contact with each animal on race days and in between.”

Beginning this weekend, veterinarians will begin implanting a microchip in every horse that is scheduled to compete in the GMC Rangeland Derby this year. The microchip allows veterinarians to carefully track and monitor performance days and rest days for over 500 horses competing in 90 heats. It also provides an effective tracking system for horse’s receiving any kind of medical treatment or therapy. The Fitness to Compete program also includes:

  • All horses will be given a thorough inspection by a team of veterinarians upon arrival at Stampede Park and prior to competition.
  • Drivers must submit an inventory of horses for competition and the inventory of horses will be subject to ongoing veterinarian inspections.
  • Drivers will be asked to submit a list of horses competing daily by 4 p.m. for a thorough pre-race inspection. If a horse is found not fit to compete, it will be “scratched” for that evening.
  • Post-race inspections of all horses as they leave the track and
  • Mandatory rest days for all horses – a horse can race four days consecutively, but then will require two rest days prior to being eligible to compete again.

“We know that when our drivers compete in the GMC Rangeland Derby this year, they will be competing against and with the healthiest and toughest thoroughbreds anywhere in the horse racing industry,” says Pat Powell, president, World Professional Chuckwagon Association.

The bucking and bovine stock of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo will also receive increased attention while on Park. Brought onto the Park each day, every animal in the rodeo will undergo a thorough veterinarian inspection prior to competition. The vet will have the authority to withdraw the animal from the day’s event should the animal’s health appear to be in question in any way.

For more information, please contact:

Doug Fraser

Media Relations Manager

T 403.261.0242

C 403.585.3376

E  dfraser@calgarystampede.com