On Monday afternoon, on the heels of the Canadian Professional Chuckwagons Association (CPCA) Finals in Lloydminster, Mayor Rob Saunders proclaimed Aug. 10 to 15 Wagon Week in the city.
“It’s been 23 years that the Lloyd Ex has hosted the CPCA Finals,” said Saunders. “We’re really proud of the support that the community and the region gives the chuckwagons finals in Lloydminster.”
The CPCA Finals run from Wednesday to Sunday at the Lloydminster Exhibition, and several festivities have been organized to celebrate the big event.
On Thursday’s Family Fun Night, children 12 and under receive free admission, with a bounce house, balloon animals and performances by the Hot Doggers waiting inside. On Friday, between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., Border Eats is hosting a free Wagon Week Pancake and Bacon Breakfast, while “Pink Friday” encourages fans to wear pink to the races that evening in support of breast cancer awareness.
Saturday features a pancake breakfast at Westridge GMC from 8 to 10 a.m, a Diamond 7 Grill Master Competition at the Exhibition at 11:30 a.m. and a cabaret headlined by musician Tom Hicks throughout the day. Another pancake breakfast is scheduled on Sunday from 8 to 10 a.m. back at the Exhibition.
Drivers are expected to be in attendance for each of the breakfasts and beer gardens featuring local talent will also be open at the races each night.
“I believe this is around the fourth or fifth year that Wagon Week has been proclaimed and it just shows the commitment that the community of Lloydminster has to the sport of chuckwagon racing,” said Bryan Hebson, the CPCA’s marketing manager.
“A few years back, there’s a lot of things that really accelerated. We added five days, the proclamation, the community really got involved and (Lloydminster Exhibition general manager) Mike Sidoryk and (CPCA Finals committee chairman) Owen (Noble) and his crew really took the CPCA to another level in the sport of chuckwagon racing.”
The City of Lloydminster will celebrate Wagon Week throughout the week, and again next year, but there is some uncertainty about the future of the CPCA Finals in Lloydminster after that.
“We’ve got one more year under contract and we’ve got to reissue a contract between us and the CPCA to continue on, and from there, see what happens,” said Noble.
Despite the non-guaranteed future of the signature event in Lloydminster beyond 2016, Noble says he’s confident that the CPCA will manage to strike a new deal with the Lloydminster Exhibition to keep the event in the Border City.
See “Wagons,” Page 18
“I think we’ll be all right. Depending on the CPCA, if everything stays in tact with them, it’s an ongoing issue where it’s tough for these (drivers) to go down the road with all the costs and stuff like that,” he said. “We’ll wait and see but I’m looking positive towards it.”
Not only do the Finals mark the biggest five days of racing on the CPCA schedule, but the event also shines a spotlight on the Border City and attracts visitors from all over Western Canada.
“Whenever you get a major event like this in our city, we do reciprocate some of the financial input and the economy is given an injection, a shot, so to speak, in the arm and we really appreciate that,” said Mayor Saunders.
The Lloydminster Exhibition is selling tickets on site, as well as online at www.lloydchuckwagons.com/tickets. Ticket prices vary, but start at $6 for children ages seven to 12.