Calgary Stampede Centennial 2012 Part 2
Chuckwagons!!! I need an entire post dedicated to Chuckwagon racing! It was an EXTREMELY controversial year at the Stampede for Chuckwagon racing.
Hey! These guys should audition for “Hell on Wheels”!!!!!
What is Chuckwagon Racing?
I’ll tell ya (because I had no idea it existed until I met Jeff). A chuckwagon race is led by a driver who represents a symbolic “cook”. An outrider on the rear of the chuckwagon loads a barrel representing a camp stove into the back end of the chuck as if they were “breaking camp”. The team of horses is raced through a figure 8 obstacle, lead by a 2nd outrider + the chuckwagons begin the race on the track. “DO WHAT?!” you’re asking – don’t worry it’ll be laid out in the next couple of paragraphs.
The day before we attended the Chuckwagon races there was a terrible accident on the racetracks. Chad Harden’s left lead horse suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm, causing the horse to immediately collapse. This impelled 2 other horses to come tumbling down with him + all 3 horses had to be put down. It really grieved me + all of the racing community. It tore me apart. I was shopping around town + it was all over the radio, all over peoples’ lips as I walked the town. I have more to contribute on this much disputed subject towards the end of the post.
Here is Jeff’s buddy Jason Glass, three time world champion Chuckwagon Driver explaining the intricacies of Chuckwagon Racing in a more detailed manner.
I kid! Additional outrider fact: outriders must cross the wire within 5 seconds of the wagon, or late outrider penalties occur. There are also penalties for missed pegs, dropped stove and other things the spectators seldom catch.
Ahem! Moving on!
Da-da-da daaaa (trumpets)!!! Here comes Jason Glass in his tell-tale checkered Shaw GMC chuckwagon. The Glass family has been involved with chuck wagon racing for nearly a century. Jason Glass is a fourth generation chuck wagon driver!!!
It’s basically a barn party, y’all!!! Although all the riders were competing the next day for the big Centennial win, everyone was gracious as could be! Here I am with 2 time world champion outrider (+ 4th generation Chuckwagon competitor) Chad Cosgrave. Super Hooooottieeeee!!!!!
Here I am with sweet + jovial driver, Troy Dorchester! Apparently I had worked with all 3 cowboys on, “Inception”. But I wouldn’t have known with all the snow storms + balaklavas covering every inch of their faces.
Lastly, we arrived at the barn door of legendary Chuckwagon driver, Grant Profit. Jeff had known him for years as a teamster in the film industry. The next day (Sunday) was to be his last day of racing – he was to retire. Thus, his barn was more lively than others who were early to shut down before the big day. We asked a drunken reveler to take a picture of the 3 of us.
Grant’s stables were so beautiful. His thoroughbreds were so silky, so shiny – their coats were gleaming! Grant’s family + admirers alike were fawning over the horses, cooing + nuzzling with them. It was magical.
After the races the Profit family held an auction that sold off more than $800,00 of their racing legacy.
I had a 15 minute long conversation with an eager, drunken young man who explained to me in length about why he couldn’t grow a moustache as resplendent as Jeff’s + how he tried + wished that he could. I expressed to him how truly sorry I was.
A thrilling first day at Stampede. Yes, sometimes I have a really difficult time at rodeos because I love animals SO much + have conflicting views. But after spending hours with the chuckwagon drivers + their thoroughbreds, I no longer feel conflicted. I have never felt so much love, companionship + teamwork from the drivers towards their horses. The drivers are crazy IN LOVE with their horses! The horses are extremely well taken care of + doted over, like babies. And you can tell from the body language – the animals adore + seek out their drivers. It was truly a beautiful + moving dance to watch. That is my stance, I witnessed the love with my own eyes. And I’m sticking to it.
This was a longer post than intended, too much to say on the subject – more Stampede to come!!!