​Rig crews from Akita and Beaver Drilling are competing every night during the Stampede Grandstand Show

Image: Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede’s grandstand show has a new feature this year, designed to illustrate the safety and efficiency of Alberta’s primary industry.

The Roughneck Run, which is being held every night of the 10-day Stampede beginning July 8, is a race between drilling companies competing to be the fastest to kill a well.

A full crew — five rig hands — from each of Beaver Drilling and Akita Drilling is using actual equipment in an example of the energy industry coming together to promote teamwork, community spirit and safety.

The whole event takes about eight minutes including a short, introductory video followed by the race itself, which is over in two minutes because the competitors are going full out, says Jennifer Rallison, communications manager for Beaver.

“It’s pretty fantastic to see and the crowd totally gets behind it,” she says. adding that the Roughneck Run was the brainchild of Dave Pierce, creative producer of the grandstand show.

It promotes the industry as a whole; Beaver and Akita just happened to be the two companies involved, she says. “It’s an industry collaboration between all of us. It was spearheaded by the Stampede; they really wanted to showcase and pay tribute to the oil and gas industry.”