How did you get started into riding horses?
“I grew up with it. I’m a fourth generation family member of thoroughbred horse racing in the chuckwagon industry. So I was born around horses and have been around them my whole life.”
Have you always lived in Alberta, Canada?
“For a long time. My great grandfather is from Alberta and he raced chuckwagons and then my grandfather, my father and myself. So we’ve all been from Alberta.”
So for all of our readers who might not understand what you do, would you like to explain it for us?
“Chuckwagon racing, it comes from way back in the 1800’s or even further back from when they used to have cattle drives across North America. They started racing from location to location to the saloons and the last person to the saloon would buy drinks or whatever. It started evolving into more of a professional chuckwagon race. It’s really hard to explain to someone that has never seen it. You’d almost have to Google the Calgary Stampede and look up chuckwagon racing. That would be the easiest way for someone to get a visual of it. It’s four horses that pull a chuckwagon and there are four wagons in each race. Then there are two out riders that are separate guys on just individual horses that follow us around the racetrack. It’s not much different than a normal thoroughbred racetrack. We go around the same track. The only difference is we start in an infield so each wagon goes around barrels. You make a figure eight around the barrels and then you go around the track.”
Here is a great video that shows a chuckwagon race at the 2010 Calgary Stampede:
Is it generally thoroughbreds that you are using?
“Yah they are all thoroughbreds, quarter horses can’t run far enough.”
What made you decide to do this as a career or in your case, how did your family become involved?
“That is a very good question. Back in 1923 I believe it was, Guy Weadick, he’s kind of the founder of the Calgary Stampede. He started putting on rodeo events and guys like my great grandfather; they just figured they would race chuck wagons for the event and that’s kind of when it was born, 1923. We have been racing at the Calgary Stampede ever since.”
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
“I would say winning the Calgary Stampede was probably the biggest accomplishment. We have an association where we go to ten different towns in the summer and we keep track of the points and the leader after the whole year is called your world champion. I have won that four times so that’s a very hard thing to achieve too. Between that and winning the Calgary Stampede are very big.”
What was the best piece of advice you received when you were starting out?
“My family and my father, we’re not huge on talking or telling people how or what to do so my biggest advice I guess from my father was just pay attention, watch and learn. He always said if I ever said I can’t do something, there’s no such thing as you can’t do something.”
For even more information about chuck wagon racing, check out: http://www.wpca.com