Mane Event Recap

2015 Trainer’s Challenge competitors: TJ Clibborn, Kateri Cowley, event champion Patrick King, and event commentator Hugh McLennan. Photo by Deanna Kristensen.

The 9th annual 2015 Mane Event Expo in Red Deer, Alta., took over Westerner Park from April 24-26 and, despite a spring snowfall, attracted thousands of equine fans to south central Alberta. This season, crowds were entertained and educated by 280 exhibits and more than 100 hours of informative clinics geared towards equestrians of all disciplines.

Vying for the 2015 Trainer’s Challenge Championship title were Alberta’s Kateri Cowley, Pennsylvania’s Patrick King, and Aussie native TJ Clibborn. Each trainer was successful in saddling and riding their 2-year-old horses that were supplied by Ace of Clubs Quarter Horses. Hugh McLennan — the voice of the Trainer’s Challenge — explained that this year’s competition was a compelling event to host, as King captured the 2015 Trainer’s Challenge title.

“I was skeptical when I heard there would be two studs and a filly,” says McLennan. “I was there for every minute, and I think it was probably one of the best Trainer’s Challenges we’ve ever had.”

17-year-old Naomi Akkermans of Red Deer received one of the most exciting awards from the weekend — she was declared the winner of the first-ever youth essay contest. She was presented with a filly from the Rocking Heart Ranch, located in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alta.

Mane Event organizers Ron and Gail Barker noted that they are already generating ideas to make the 10th anniversary of the event bigger and better than ever.

“We’re looking at several things,” said Gail Barker. “We’re considering going to four days, or perhaps adding a competition. We want to celebrate a decade of the Mane Event in Red Deer.”