Calgary –Two out of three isn’t too bad.

Millarville, Alberta’s John Swales won the inaugural Calgary Stampede Working Cow Horse Fence Spectacular Open Bridle title on Friday while also tying for first in the Open Hackamore division, splitting the win with Dale Clearwater of Saskatchewan. Both competitors had an aggregate score of 290.5 in the Open Hackamore Division.

Swales, who was also competing in the Non-Pro Bridle division, took both wins in stride.

“It was exciting,” he said after the double win, one on Northern Metallic and the other on Cats Picasso. “It was good. I was really happy with my horses. It’s a pretty good crowd in there, it brings the excitement up.”

Traditionally, the Calgary Stampede Working Cow Horse Classic consisted of two of the components: the reined work and the fence work. This year, the Calgary Stampede also showcased the Cow Horse Fence Spectacular in addition to the traditional working cow horse classes, all in front of a supportive crowd in the Nutrien Western Event Centre.

The Working Cow Horse Fence Spectacular hosts bridle and hackamore divisions for fully-trained horses and four- and five-year-olds, respectively, with open and non-pro designations for various levels of rider experience.

The Cow Horse Fence Spectacular sees the horse-and-rider team first box a steer, then send it at full tilt along the fence, heading it off and turning it both ways, before finally circling it once in each direction in the centre of the arena.

Swales is no stranger to the sport, joined in competition by his brother Clint Sales, and his sister Veronica Swales, who won Thursday’s Working Cow Horse Classic Open Bridle division.

“We want to see each other do well, but we want to do well ourselves, too,” Swales said of the competition with his siblings.

The cattle were tough competition Friday, but that suits Open Bridle Reserve Winner Geoff Hoar just fine, who rode his 11-year-old mare Deal Gold.

“They were a little tougher than (Thursday).  I think that … the judges are going to mark big because these tougher cattle show your horse off better,” he explained.

Hoar says he would prefer to crack first place, but he was happy with winning the reserve. 

“Oh, it’s fun when you get to this spot, Whether you’re first, second or third, it’s fun making the finals. We show a lot of places all year long but nothing has the energy and prestige that Calgary does,” Hoar said. “You go out there and the horses can feel it, the riders can feel it and I think everyone tries a bit harder.”


For full results from the Working Cow Horse Classic competition, please visit


About the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west.  The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values.  All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.


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