The Canadian Supreme is a not-for-profit society whose sole purpose is to manage a major western horse event called appropriately enough the Canadian Supreme. The event is held in Red Deer each year, the week before Thanksgiving. The group is run by 30 volunteers who plan, direct and work at the show all for the glory of making a significant contribution to the western horse industry. The Show Chairman is Jeff Robson.
40 Years of History
The show started in 1976 as the Alberta Stakes and Futurity Association and the first show was held at Spruce Meadows. The promoters of the show were Bill Collins, John Miller, Gary Coleman, Hans Hansma, Roger Heintz, Fred Duke and Chuck Strom. The following year, the show moved to Claresholm which was more suitable as the show needed cattle facilities. Classes at the first show included fence work, reining, pleasure and trail. The overall winner was Art Graves riding Magnolia Sun.
The show is now located in Red Deer at the Westerner Exposition where it has resided since 1983. The show runs from Tuesday through Sunday evening. In 2015, the show had 614 entries in 41 classes encompassing cutting, cow horse and reining. These are the premier western horse events. Added money for the show was $140,825. The payout to event finalists in 2015 was $417,700. The budget for the show is approximately $800,000. Funding for the show comes from entry fees, commercial exhibit fees, a portion of the fees generated by the Canadian Supreme Stallion Program, practice works and sponsorships from supporters of the sport. Neither subsidies nor government money are involved. The show has generated a small surplus each year.
The Canadian Supreme Stallion Program began in the early 80’s as a method of supporting the show. For many years that program grew. In 1990, the program was changed so that foals by these stallions would be subscribed to the Program and would be eligible to compete as 3 year olds at the show for a substantial purse. Today, the program has 72 stallions enrolled, there are approximately 300 foals eligible to compete this year and the added purse from the Program is in excess of $50,000.
Canadian Supreme Trade Fair
As early as 1982, commercial exhibits have been part of the show. Today, in the Red Deer facility, we are able to accommodate 70 exhibitors in over 30,000 square feet of first class space. Each year, we have a waiting list of groups wanting to show at the Supreme. Many visitors to the show make Red Deer the destination for the weekend and use this opportunity to shop at the Canadian Supreme Trade Fair.
Thursday Evening Social
The Thursday evening social for competitors, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers, hired personnel, and committee members is held in the Canadian Supreme Trade Fair. Hors d’oeuvres and pie are served and a cash bar is available. A great evening of mixing and mingling with everyone involved with the show.
Western Horse Sale
On Friday evening of the Supreme week, the Western Horse Sale is held. About 60 horses are sold each year and the sale has become a feature sale for the horse industry. Spectator attendance at the sale is overwhelming. The majority of these spectators not only raise the attendance at the show but provide a new group of customers for the Trade Fair.
The Supreme has gone to considerable effort to put on a spectacular show on the Saturday evening. A special opening ceremony is developed each year featuring famous Canadian horses and horsemen. The evening is planned with the spectators in mind: spotlights, a giant size video, outstanding music, two announcers and tight choreography. Then, the evening is turned over to the horses and riders who compete in the finals for 4 premier classes. The show lasts 3 hours and the spectators always stay till the end. The crowd fills the stands on Saturday night alone, leaving standing room only.
Thousands of dedicated horse enthusiasts, cutters, cow horse, reiners, spectators, exhibitors, etc. attend the Canadian Supreme every year. Admission is free for the 2016 show.
The show starts Tuesday in the Stockman’s Pavillion where the cutting and cow horse classes are held. Classes continue through Sunday. On Thursday, the Agricentre, the other indoor working arena, is available to the reining horses for familiarization and warm-up. The reining show starts on Friday and continues through Sunday.