A NORTH Yorkshire farrier has been named the best blacksmith in the world in an international championship.
It is the fifth time Steven Beane has claimed the world champion blacksmith title at the Calgary Stampede in Canada, a gruelling, four-day contest that tests forging and shoeing skills.
It is believed the 2014 contest – held in July – may be the last ever.
The fact that it may never be repeated made the competition even more fierce as top farriers from across the world vied to be the last ever world champion.
“It was quite special because it was the last ever world championship blacksmith competition,” said Mr Beane.
“They’ve been running it for 35 years and said this was the last one.
“It’s an immense atmosphere and occasion; there were 15 countries there and you had to qualify to get there. Because it might be the last one there were eight former world champions trying to win it.”
Mr Beane said the contest involves three days of contest to whittle down the competition to the final ten competitors with the most points. On the fourth day the finalists’ points are reduced back to zero and they battle it out for the title.
“It is quite gruelling; we are outside for half a day and depending on the luck of the draw you can get temperatures out there of up to 32 degrees. I have to do a bit of fitness work before I go; some distance running.
“Although I work on horses every day, I wouldn’t normally be working that long without a break.”
Mr Beane, 35, from Manor Cottage Farm, Trenholme Bar, near Northallerton, became a farrier’s apprentice with Huw Dyer, at Londonderry Forge near Northallerton after leaving school and won his first competition a month after joining Mr Dyer.
Just two years after qualifying he scooped the top prize at the Great Yorkshire Show and was taken on by the English International Farriers Team when he was 24.
He had his sights set on being a farrier since he was 13-years-old.
“I’ve always been around horses – when I was 13 I went over to the Londonderry Forge and saw the fire and thought it looked quite good,” he said.