Ray Mitsuing, Kris Molle and Jamie Laboucane will headline a competitive field of drivers from Aug. 7 to 9 at the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) Turtleford Derby.
The Turtleford stop along the CPCA tour marks the last one before the CPCA Pro Tour Finals in Lloydminster the following weekend.
“These points are pretty crucial to these guys to where they finish up for going into Lloydminster and then getting their points to come back to Calgary for the next season,” said Chris Nielsen, president of the Turtleford and District Recreation Association.
The three-day event sees drivers race around a half-mile track, and the one with the fastest accumulated time over the three days will be declared the 2015 Fieldtek CPCA Turtleford Derby Champion. A year ago, Curtis Morin won the event in what was his first career show victory.
Tickets for the event will sell at the gates for $15 for a day pass and $35 for a three-day pass. Nielsen says he expects a full arena for one of the most anticipated events of the year in Turtleford.
“Summer, there’s really not a whole lot of events to go to (in Turtleford). So there’s quite a bit of excitement in the community when we have it on. We’ve had great support, a lot of volunteers come in and the stands are always full with the locals, with all the lake people,” said Nielsen.
Nielsen says that the smaller track in Turtleford helps form one of the best atmospheres of the year for the CPCA.
“The thing that we like about the track is how close the spectators can be to the action. Our cabaret and beer garden stands, you’re literally standing against the track watching the drivers go by. You’re three feet from watching all those sets of horses whip by. You feel the wind come off the wagons and you feel it, you smell it, it’s something you don’t get in other events.”
He adds that the grandstand gives fans a great view of the whole track, a rarity for most sporting events.
“You can see the action all the way through and I think you just get a better feel for the race since it is such a tight track and you get so close to the action.”
Friday and Saturday’s races are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start time, while Sunday gets going at 2 p.m. The derby is also holding a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the daycare, which is raising funds to build a new facility.