Wagons ho—and quickly!
That’s what taking place during the five-day Westridge GMC Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) Finals at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds until Aug 21.
The action got underway Wednesday night at Halstead Downs with 27 drivers from all over Western Canada taking part in the 24th annual event.
There will be a total of nine heats of four wagons starting daily at 6 p.m. to determine the final four drivers for Sunday’s championship race at 2 p.m.
The winner of each race is decided by the fastest time.
“They’ve been competing all year for the driver standings so we will establish who the top driver is at the end of the week,” said CPCA rep Maryse Daze, from Calgary.
“It’s going to be really busy with full stands and a full week of events.”
In between the wagoneering is a loaded festival of beer gardens, pancake breakfasts, a family fun night, a pink night breast cancer fundraiser and a chuckwagon cabaret to draw crowds.
Thrown into the mix of the spectacle are mounted shooters competing in the Western Series Finals Saturday and Sunday.
There is also a trick riding competition and the Midlite Rocky Riders and Border Cowboys shootout.
“The finals is always a bit of a larger event—we are very excited to be back here,” said Daze who is lending support to the event.
“The community of Lloyd is so great to host us.”
The City of Lloydminster proclaimed the entire week of Aug. 15 to the 21 as Wagon Week given the economic impact of being the host city of the finals in Western Canada.
“It’s an exciting week, one I look forward to every year,” said Deputy Mayor, Jason Whiting during Monday’s proclamation at council chambers.
“It brings in a lot of revenue; it brings in a lot of visitors from outside of town,” he said.
“It’s great for our economy.”
Buck the Bronco tipped his hat for the proclamation along with Owen Noble, the CPCA chair who spoke for the mascot.
“We’ve got lots of stuff lined up and basically would like everyone to come out and enjoy themselves and have a good time — relax and let their hair down and have some fun,” he said.
Noble said other than the Calgary Stampede, the CPCA Finals is the best show of its type on Earth.
“We hope to fill the stands so the chuckwagon drivers can feel the rush,” he said.
The winner gets to drive home a new GMC 3/4 ton truck from the title sponsor Westridge and supporting sponsors.
“I would like to thank Westridge for being the major sponsor this year,” said Paul Klaassen, president of the Lloydminster CPCA.
He said drivers and fans are in store for some nail biting performances.
“The racing’s really tough this year,” he said with the top two drivers, Ray Mitsuing and Kris Molle just half a point apart coming into the CPCA Finals.
He added there was only 8.5 points separating the next four guys. “We have no idea who’s going to be in the final dash for four,” he said.
Horse and rider safety is top of mind at all CPCA events and Daze said the finals in Lloyd are no exception for the organization.
“Every horse has been checked with a vet, she said.
“Safety is definitely the top priority at the CPCA and the WPCA (world’s) and the Calgary Stampede.”
August 18, 2016 12:00 AM
Wagon Week Aug. 15-21 was proclaimed by city Deputy Mayor Jason Whiting in council chambers on Monday with support from Buck the Bronco and on Whiting's right by Owen Noble, chair of the CPCA Finals and Paul Klaassen, president of the CPCA. Chuckwagon races started Wednesday night at the Lloydminister Exhibition Grounds with the finals on Sunday.
Wagons ho—and quickly!
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