Family Affair: Stampede Heavy Horse Show’s roots run deep

In 1967, Bill and Wayne Lucas from Claresholm, Alberta and Allan Gordeyko of Willow Way Farms from Ohaton, Alberta brought their first draft horses to the Calgary Stampede.

A lot has changed since then, but the Lucas and Gordeyko families are still here along with many others that have deep

Courtesy: Loree Photography

connections with the Stampede.

Gordeyko says horses have been in his and his family’s blood since before he can remember.

“We grew up with horses as a kid on the farm, they were a main source of power for the longest time, then when we got mechanized, it was kinda of an enjoyment kind of thing,” said Gordeyko.   “Now we still enjoy the horses, but they are also part of our farming operation.”

Gordeyko says his son Wes is already carrying on the tradition.

“He does a lot of the work now, I still do the farming operation, he tends to the horses.”

One row over in the Ag Barns in the Lucasia Ranch, Flint Lucas is recounting stories of his grandfather Bill and all the time his family has spent together raising and showing horses.

He says the tradition is already carrying into the next generation.

“This has been such a great place for our kids to grow and learn and see how we get horses ready, take care of horses, show horses, prep horses, it’s a great place for them to learn it’s like a community,” said Lucas.

He adds they are already building lifelong friendships.

“As the next generation grows up they’re all friends, they stay friends as they get older and basically we can then have a place where our kids can start into showing exhibiting horses down the road.”

Arlin Wareing from Blackfoot, Idaho, is one of those people who has been showing at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth for several decades.

This is the 31st time in the last 34 years his family has made the 15 hour trek to Calgary.

“We enjoy it quite a bit up here, we’re treated well, we’ve got a lot of good ole friends up here and always meeting new friends,” said Wareing.

Wareing is proud that his business is about family.

“It’s strictly a family affair, I have two sons and two daughters at home getting this thing together, we are all involved.  I have 10 grandkids and a whole bunch of great-grandkids and even the great-grandkids are involved.”

The seven-days of Heavy Horse Shows have been all about family and is why the Calgary Stampede has such a rich tradition.