Kicking off the 2012 WPCA Food Drive

The World Chuckwagon Association and Encana’s 3rd Annual Race Against Hunger sets to kick off this weekend in Grande Prairie, AB. The next stops for this tour include Ponoka, Strathmore and Dawson Creek.

The WPCA announce that they are thrilled to be a part of assisting food banks with this program. May 26, starts the gathering of donations and everyone is invited to meet the WPCA Chuckwagon drivers on site, aiding in this campaign.

“The communities involved in the Race Against Hunger program are so vital to both Encana and the WPCA that we feel honoured to be able to support the people who live there. We’re so excited to be involved in the program for a third year, and hope to surpass the money and donations we gathered in past years” says WPCA Marketing Manager, Cori-Anne Bowhay.

This program raised over $58,500 and more than 13,800 pounds of food for local food banks in 2011. “Encana is committed to helping build strong, sustainable communities where we are privileged to work, including the Grande Prairie area. As part of our commitment, Encana will match contributions to the Race Against Hunger dollar for dollar or two dollars per pound of non-perishable food,” says Mike Forgo, Vice President Business Services and Stakeholder Relations for Encana Corporation. “Our natural gas truckwagon will be on the Stompede grounds in front of the Tech Centre every day to accept donations for the duration of the Grande Prairie Stompede and we thank everyone for their generosity.”

If you are in the Grande Prairie, AB, area and would like to support this program, the Grande Prairie IGA (located at 11299 99 Street) will be collecting non-perishable food or cash donations from 12pm to 4pm.

New Hands Take Lines


The World Professional Chuckwagon Association is about to begin their 2012 season, with a new title sponsor taking the lead.  The WPCA Pro Tour is proud to announce GMC, and the Alberta GMC dealers as the title sponsor for the GMC Pro Tour.  This partnership is a natural fit for both groups, who now look forward to working together to develop sustainable chuckwagon racing in Western Canada.

“Having GMC on board is huge for us,” explains WPCA President, Pat Powell.  “We are looking forward to working with this class organization, developing a lasting partnership into the future.” The World Professional Chuckwagon Association has been bringing chuckwagon races to Western Canada for over 30 years, and credits its success to the support of its sponsors.

“GMC, and the Alberta GM Dealers, are proud of our longtime support for chuckwagon racing across the West at various levels, including the GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede, and are excited about our new relationship with the WPCA,” said Mike Degutis, Marketing Manager – Western Canada, General Motors of Canada. “We and our dealers are looking forward to being part of these great events in each community.”

“On behalf of all chuckwagon drivers, we proudly welcome GMC as a World Professional Chuckwagon partner,” adds 12 GMC Rangeland Derby Champion, Kelly Sutherland.  “I trust this new partnership will be extremely rewarding for both parties.”  No stranger to success, Sutherland has been with the WPCA since its inception, and continues to be the most recognizable face in the sport.

It is with the support of its great sponsors that the WPCA is able to showcase western heritage and culture in the communities in which they race.  The 2012 season looks to be the best yet, with tour stops all across Alberta and northern British Columbia.  The 36 best chuckwagon racers in the world are vying for top prize money and their chance at the GMC World Championship Truck and belt buckle, which will be awarded in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta at the end of the season.

Heavy Horse Pull Auction

The gentle giants of the equine world were on show Thursday night at the Victoria Pavilion during the Calgary Stampede’s 10th annual Heavy Horse Pull Advertisers’ Auction. The Heavy Horse Pull will take over the Big Top on Friday, July 15, Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17. Photo credit: Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull got a mighty push on Thursday evening.

The annual Heavy Horse Pull Advertisers’ Auction, which acts as the annual kickoff to the Stampede pull, featured plenty of auctioneer patter and bidder banter at the Victoria Pavilion. And when the dust had settled, a whopping $62,200 had been raised – a dramatic leap from last year’s bottom line of $39,300, and a total that’s believed to be the highest in the 10-year history of the auction.

“We had a lot of registered bidders out tonight . . . probably the most we’ve ever had,” said Bill Nelson, chair of the Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull committee. “And there was really spirited action between bidders, back and forth.

“The per-team totals are as good as we’ve ever had. Our group spent a lot of time prior to the event finding good-quality sponsors, and friends of the Heavy Horse Pull, which really contributed tonight,” added Nelson. “We’re getting more bidders, but we’re also getting people who are really enthused about the program, and willing to support it.”

A total of 23 teams from as far away as Oregon, Washington, and Saskatchewan have arrived for the Stampede’s “tight-tug” pull that is developing a sterling reputation across the continent — and ranks as the richest horse pull in North America, with the winner receiving a cheque for $3,000.

The 2011 Heavy Horse Pull will take over the Big Top for the final three nights of Stampede. The lightweight division gets things underway on Friday, July 15, the middleweights take centre stage on Saturday, July 16, and the gentle giants of the heavyweight division bring the curtain down on Sunday, July 17. Start time all three nights is 7 p.m.

Since it was established in 2002, the Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull Advertisers’ Auction has become a truly magnetic event for individual and corporate supporters, with attractive and affordable branding possibilities and a unique venue for entertaining clients and employees. For successful bidders, the Heavy Horse Pull advertiser’s package includes passes to watch their teams during competition from a private VIP section under the Big Top, signage on the horses during competition, stall signage in the barns, and an exclusive party in the Victoria Pavilion alongside the horses after the main events.

Thursday night, the Springbank Belgians team of heavyweights, owned by Dennis Weinberger of Cochrane, Alta., garnered the top auction bid, $4,700, from the We’ve Got Pull consortium.

Stan Grad and the Soderglen Ranches team from Airdrie, Alta., commanded the top bid among middleweights, at $4,200, from Lantz Farms Ltd. And Bob McGowan’s team from Lebanon, Ore., earned the top bid among lightweight outfits, at $2,100, from Lone Wolf Wireline.

Also Thursday night, a total of $4,075 was raised for Stephanie Ross, an equestrian rider and 2012 Paralympic hopeful from Vancouver, through the auction of blacksmith art and other items.

Last year, Weinberger and his Springbank Belgians outfit made history by winning the triple crown for the first time in Stampede Heavy Horse Pull history — claiming all three divisions. And Weinberger capped his triplicate win in dramatic fashion, as his gargantuan duo of Dan and Jesse set a Stampede heavyweight division record by pulling a 13,200-pound sled the full 14 feet.

This year’s teams primarily feature Belgian and Percheron horsepower. Outfits compete in three classes based on the total weight of the two-horse team – lightweights from 2,400 to 3,000 pounds, middleweights from 3,001 to 3,500 pounds, and heavyweights tipping the scales at 3,501 pounds and up.

Chuckwagon Drivers Race Against Hunger

Donations stack up outside the IGA for the second annual Race Against Hunger

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) and Encana Corporation together raised 925 pounds of non-perishable food and almost $3,400 in cash donations during the second annual Race Against Hunger at the Ponoka Stampede June 28 to July 3. As part of the total donations from the Race Against Hunger Program, Encana matched cash dollar-for-dollar and provided $2 for every pound of food collected during the Stampede.

After events in Grande Prairie, Drumheller and Ponoka the Race Against Hunger has raised over $27,000 in cash donations and almost five tonnes of non-perishable food.

“There was a strong show of support from the Ponoka community, an indication of the support and growing awareness for this year-round need in this community,” says Mike Forgo, Vice- President, Business Services & Stakeholder Relations for Encana. “We want to thank the WPCA and all of the folks who made these donations. Hunger doesn’t take a vacation. But thanks to the support of this community, our Race Against Hunger program will go a long way in stocking local food banks this summer.”

Vying for bragging rights and the title of Food Driver of the Year, WPCA drivers also got in on the program action at a day-long event at Hamilton’s IGA, bagging food for customers and helping to sell food hampers for $10 or $15 dollars each. Encana will crown the driver who raises the most donations later this summer.

Mark Sutherland remains in first place, but hot on this heels is Dave Galloway followed by Rick Fraser, Darcy Flad and Layne McGillivray. “The guys had a good time at Hamilton’s IGA – folks know how competitive they are on the track, but everyone needs to see the sparks fly in the checkout line!” says a good spirited Meghan McIvor, Marketing Manager for the WPCA.

“We want to thank everyone who made a donation in Ponoka, and remind folks that Encana’s natural gas truckwagon will be in Strathmore at the Strathmore Heritage Days for the next Race Against Hunger tour stop,” says Meghan McIvor, Marketing Manager for the WPCA. “We’re looking forward to more great results to help reduce hunger in the communities where we race.

The Race Against Hunger program takes place in select Dodge Pro Tour stops including the Alberta communities of Grande Prairie, Drumheller, Ponoka, Strathmore and Dawson Creek B.C.

In 2010, the program raised $25,000 and more than 3,800 pounds of food for local food banks.

Watch for the arrival of the “Food Drivers” in your community! The WPCA driver’s have been challenged by Encana to engage their fans, friends and sponsors to raise the most food and cash in support of the Race Against Hunger. The most successful driver will receive a matching donation for his efforts up to $10,000 from Encana to the food bank of his choice, a $1000 prize and a commemorative silver belt buckle but the sweetest reward will be the bragging rights!

Watch Chucks & Feed the Hungry

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) is teaming up with Encana Corporation once again for the Race Against Hunger, which will roll into the Grande Prairie Stompede May 25 to 29. Now in its second year, the program raises awareness and donations of food and funds for local food banks in the summer when contributions can be fewer than the need. Encana will match all donations dollar for dollar or $2 per pound up to $10,000.

Food and comfort have run deep throughout the WPCA‟s heritage, with chuckwagons once serving as the rolling kitchens of the prairies. Adding a modern twist to the tradition, Encana‟s natural gas powered “truck wagon” will serve as the collection point for donations. The Dodge pick-up truck turned covered wagon will be parked at Evergreen Park‟s TEC Centre for the duration of the Stompede where volunteers from the Horizon 4-H Club and the Salvation Army will be accepting donations.

“We encourage everyone to bring a donation of non-perishable food or cash in support of the Grande Prairie Salvation Army Food Bank during this great community event,” says Mike Forgo, Vice-President, Business Services and Stakeholder Relations at Encana. “Our company is privileged to work in the Grande Prairie area, and the Race Against Hunger is part of our larger commitment to make this a strong and sustainable community.”

The WPCA is rearing to go, and the drivers are a key part of the program action this year. “We‟re very pleased to have the support of Encana,” says Meghan McIvor, Marketing Manager with the World Professional Chuckwagon Association. “As part of our long-time partnership, the company issued a friendly challenge to our drivers – whomever engages his friends, family and sponsors to raise the most food and cash for Race Against Hunger will be recognized as the official „Food Driver of the Year‟ and will be eligible for a $1,000 prize and matching donation to the food bank of his choice, courtesy of Encana.”

The Race Against Hunger program takes place in select Dodge Pro Tour stops including the Alberta Communities of Grande Prairie, Drumheller, Ponoka, Strathmore and Dawson Creek B.C. In 2010, the program raised $25,000 and more than 3,800 pounds of food for local food banks.

Chuckwagon Auction #2


Right on the heels of a successful Calgary Stampede chuckwagon canvas auction, the second auction of the year was held on Friday, April 1, 2011 in the Alberta Ballroom at the Edmonton EXPO Centre at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta for the Capital Ex Chuckwagon Derby. A little over a quarter of a million dollars was bid on the 36 participating drivers, however the sale was down $49,500.00 over 2010 totals.

2010 World Professional Chuckwagon Association Dodge Pro Tour Championship winner Mark Sutherland was the high bid at $20,000.00, up $1,000.00 from 2010’s top bid of $19,000.00 for Chad Harden. The average bid on all 36 wagons came in at $7,152.78 down $1,375.00 from $8,527.78 in 2010, with the median bid being $6,000.00 down $1,750.00 from $7,750.00 in 2010.

The 2011 Capital Ex Chuckwagon Derby will be held right after the Calgary Stampede from July 23 – 26, 2011, and will be a four day event from it’s traditional five days.

The next chuckwagon canvas auction will be held on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 with the main hub being at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary. The reception will be at 4:00 pm with the auction at 5:00 pm. Additional hosting venues will be at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie, Wetlander Bar and Grill in Bonnyville, Boomers Pub and Lounge in Rocky Mountain House, Dinosaur Derby in Drumheller and Exhibition Park in Medicine Hat. The Badlands Dinosaur Derby in Drumheller is unconfirmed at this time.

Driver Sponsor Amount Bid
Mark Sutherland York Realty Inc. $20,000.00
Obrey Motowylo H & E Oilfield Services Ltd. $16,000.00
Jason Glass Birchcliff Energy Ltd. $12,000.00
Grant Profit Thru Tubing Solutions $11,000.00
Kelly Sutherland Kay Dee Ranching $10,000.00
Troy Dorchester Team Rig & Supply/Decarson Rentals $10,000.00
Chad Harden Image Distributors/ Ron May Consulting $10,000.00
Jerry Bremner Standard Resources $9,500.00
Luke Tournier ATB Financial $9,000.00
Rae Croteau Jr. Friends of CCT $9,000.00
Doug Irvine B & R Eckel's Transport Ltd. $9,000.00
Kirk Sutherland EMCO Corporation $8,000.00
Reg Johnstone Direct Horizontal Drilling $8,000.00
Troy Flad Ironwood Building Systems $8,000.00
Barry Hodgson Roadtrek $8,000.00
Buddy Bensmiller World Financial Group $7,000.00
Kurt Bensmiller Stahl Peterbilt $6,000.00
Cliff Cunningham Basnett Truck Service $6,000.00
Chance Bensmiller Tri-Service Oilfield Manufacturing Ltd. $6,000.00
Colt Cosgrave Planet Trucking $5,500.00
Mike Vigen Roper Apparel & Footwear $5,500.00
Tim Haroldson Westeel/Northern Steel $5,500.00
Dave Galloway Xplornet Internet Services $5,500.00
Rick Fraser Terra Core Rentals $5,000.00
Hugh Sinclair Sabre Concrete $5,000.00
Jordie Fike Blazer Insurance $5,000.00
Darcy Flad Northwell Oilfield Hauling (2009) Inc. $5,000.00
Layne MacGilIivray Crystal Kids $5,000.00
Codey McCurrach Eddie's Men'sWear $5,000.00
Lincoln Douglas McCuaig Desrochers LLP $4,500.00
Mitch Sutherland Red Deer Motors $4,500.00
Jason Johnstone Sabre Concrete $4,000.00
Evan Salmond Eternity Limousines $3,000.00
John Walters JW Enterprises $3,000.00
Brian Mayan Welsh's Saddlery and Western Wear $2,000.00
Cody Ridsdale Planet Trucking $2,000.00
Total Amount Bid $257,500.00
Average Bid $7,152.78
Median Bid $6,000.00
High Bid $20,000.00
Low Bid $2,000.00

Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Tarps Sold

The results for the 2011 Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction are in. The total canvas sales are up $874,000 over last year, and individual average bids also showing a strong upwards trend. Traditionally, many view the results from this auction as a forebearer of the economy of the year. Certainly, if that is the case, we’re heading in the right direction. Congratulations to all the winning chuckwagon advertisers and their drivers.

2011 Stats

  • Total Auction Proceeds: $2,840,000 (2010: $1,966,000)
  • Average Bid: $78,889 (2010: $54,611)
  • Top Bid: $170,000
  • Driver: Kelly Sutherland
  • Advertiser: YaYa

Thanks to Billy Melville from the World Professional Chuckwagon Association’s for the following report on the auction:

The first chuckwagon canvas auction of the year was held on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at the Archie Boyce Pavilion on Stampede Park in Calgary Albertafor the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby. It was a fantastic sale as $2,840,000.00 was bid on the 36 participating drivers, up a whopping $876,500.00 over 2010 totals. It was the 12th consecutive year the Calgary Auction crossed over the 1.5 million dollar mark, in addition to being the 3rd highest total in the 33 year history of Calgary’s canvas auction.

$2,007,500.00 of the total was bid on the 24 drivers that will represent the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) at this year’s Calgary Stampede, for an average bid of $83,541.67/driver. In comparison, $835,000.00 was bid on the 12 drivers representing the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association, for an average bid of $69,583.33/driver. Defending Calgary Stampede Champion Kelly Sutherland was the high bid at $170,000.00, up $50,000.00 from 2010’s top bid of $120,000.00 for Chad Harden.

WPCA drivers took 14 of the top 15 bids, including all of the top 10 bids. The average bid on all 36 wagons was $78,888.89 up $24,277.78 from $54,611.11 in 2010, with the median bid being $75,000.00 up $25,000.00 from $50,000.00 in 2010. Another bright spot in the 2011 Calgary auction was the low bid was $60,000.00 up $23,000.00 from the 2010 low bid of $37,000.00.

Driver Sponsor Amount Bid WPCA Drivers
Kelly Sutherland YaYa $170,000.00 x
Kirk Sutherland Cam Clark Ford $100,000.00 x
Troy Dorchester Country Club of the Hamptons $100,000.00 x
Chad Harden The Rug Shop $100,000.00 x
Kurt Bensmiller International Eco Fuel Savers $100,000.00 x
Colt Cosgrave Plains Midstream Canada $97,500.00 x
Jason Glass Shaw GMC Chevrolet Buick $90,000.00 x
Mark Sutherland Cowboys $85,000.00 x
Rae Croteau Jr. TOMCO/Ranchman’s/ Nabors Drilling $85,000.00 x
Buddy Bensmiller Pidherney’s From Start To Finish $82,500.00 x
Mike Vigen Hatch Engineering Ltd. $80,000.00 x
Obrey Motowylo H & E Oilfield Services Ltd. $80,000.00 x
Cliff Cunningham Basnett Truck Service $80,000.00 x
Jordie Fike Friends of the Calgary Food Bank $80,000.00 x
Gary Gorst Team YYC Calgary International Airport $80,000.00
Darcy Flad Purolator $77,500.00 x
Jamie Laboucane WestJet $77,500.00
Jerry Bremner Walking Eagle Resources $75,000.00 x
Vern Nolin BKDI Architects $75,000.00
Roger Moore The Legends $75,000.00
Logan Gorst RE/MAX Realtors of Calgary $75,000.00
Tim Haroldson 1525423 $70,000.00 x
Troy Flad Saucier Construction $70,000.00 x
Lincoln Douglas Savage Oilfield Rentals $70,000.00 x
Jim Knight Border City Oilmen $70,000.00
Ross Knight BNL (1997) Ltd. $70,000.00
Hugh Sinclair Northern Patriot $67,500.00 x
Reg Johnstone ATB Financial $65,000.00 x
Wayne Knight Express Employment Professionals $65,000.00
Layne Bremner Friends of the Mavericks $65,000.00
Shane Nolin Noralta Lodge $62,500.00
Rick Fraser Heninger Toyota / Chickwagon! Foundation for Women $60,000.00 x
Grant Profit Pride of Cochrane $60,000.00 x
Luke Tournier Auto Touch Ups $60,000.00 x
Brian Laboucane The Mavericks Chuckwagon Team $60,000.00
Ray Mitsuing Sandlewood Developments Ltd. $60,000.00

WPCA Supports the Calgary Stampede

On February 23, 2011 the Calgary Stampede announced important rule changes for the Rangeland Derby. They worked together with the World Professional Chuckwagon Association officials to come up with changes that would maintain the integrity of the sport while going the extra mile to protect the athletes (human and equine) that make Chuckwagon Racing so exciting.

The WPCA Officers and Directors agree with the proposed rule changes. The most controversial rule changes was moving from four to two outriders per team. This rule is not new to the WPCA, with 37 of our 43 race days out of the Calgary Stampede already being run with two outriders.

WPCA President Pat Powell, fully supports the move, “Not only do we agree from a safety standpoint, but this is an opportunity to showcase a consistently throughout our race season,” explained Powell, adding, “We will honour our commitments to the Calgary Stampede by providing the best wagons and outriders this sport has to offer.”

The 2011 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour begins in Grande Prairie on May 25. Drivers and outriders will be gunning to secure their spot at the greatest outdoor show on earth, the Calgary Stampede, which begins July 8.

WPCA Qualification Run Off

Mitch Sutherland - Best Time Of The Week On Final Day In Bashaw. Photo Courtesy Of The Western Chuckwagon Association.

The final day of the WPCA Qualification Run-Off ran Sunday afternoon in Bashaw where 8 drivers were each looking to grab one of 6 available spots on the 2011 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour. Sunday’s results contributed to a big shake up in the standings which will see some new faces on the WPCA Dodge Pro Tour next season.

All three drivers from the 2010 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour – John Walters, Chance Bensmiller and Cody Ridsdale all regained their spots for 2011 by finishing 2nd, 3rdand 4th respectively in the Run-Off Point Standings. They will be joined by 2010 Western Chuckwagon Association (WCA) drivers Dave Galloway and Mitch Sutherland who respectively placed 1st and 5th overall, with World Champion Outrider Chanse Vigen grabbing the last qualifying spot. Just missing the cut for 2011 was champion outrider Chad Fike, with WCA driver Roy Romanow placing a distant 8th.

A far as the day results go, Mitch Sutherland, driving the Ernco Interiors Outfit, posted the fastest time of the 4 day event with a 1:05.01. Coming off barrel number 1 in heat 2, Sutherland earned top points by 59 one-hundreds of a second over Chad Fike who placed 2nd for the day. John Walters, Dave Galloway and Chanse Vigen rounded out the top 5 for the night.

The WPCA 2010 Awards Banquet will be held on October 23, 2010 at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary. Contact the WPCA office at 403-236-2466 for more information.

~ Billy Melville

Qualification Run-Off Point Standings

4 Day Total

1 Dave Galloway Xplornet Internet 24
2 John Walters Drifters Casing Service 22.5
3 Chance Bensmiller Cascade Services Partnership 22
4 Cody Ridsdale Triple K Oilfield 20
5 Mitch Sutherland Ernco Interiors 19
6 Chanse Vigen Jack Lefley & Sons 17.5
7 Chad Fike Alberta Pressure Testing 14
8 Roy Romanow Beverly Park’s Condo – Innisfail 5
Top 6 Qualify for 2011 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour. Ties are broken by aggregate time

Day 4 Results

Total Time

1 Mitch Sutherland Ernco Interiors 1:05.01
2 Chad Fike Alberta Pressure Testing 1:05.60
3 John Walters Drifters Casing Service 1:06.12
4 Dave Galloway Xplornet Internet 1:06.33
5 Chanse Vigen Jack Lefley & Sons 1:06.43
6 Cody Ridsdale Triple K Oilfield 1:07.64
7 Chance Bensmiller Cascade Services Partnership 1:11.03
8 Roy Romanow Beverly Park’s Condo – Innisfail 1:11.6

4 Day Aggregate

Rank Driver Sponsor 4 Day Total
1 Dave Galloway Xplornet Internet 4:28.28
2 John Walters Drifters Casing Service 4:28.94
3 Cody Ridsdale Triple K Oilfield 4:29.41
4 Chance Bensmiller Cascade Services Partnership 4:31.32
5 Chanse Vigen Jack Lefley & Sons 4:34.36
6 Mitch Sutherland Ernco Interiors 4:35.66
7 Chad Fike Alberta Pressure Testing 4:46.76
8 Roy Romanow Beverly Park’s Condo – Innisfail 4:53.76