This year’s Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association Turtleford Derby will go ahead Aug. 11-13 with the Turtleford & District Co-op as the sponsor. FILE PHOTO
You could say the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Turtleford & District Co-op Derby is second to none.
The popular event to be held Aug.11-13 at the Turtleford Agricultural Grounds is the second last race with points on the line before the Denham Ram Tough Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) Finals in Lloydminster.
“Coming in and out of Turtleford, these points mean a lot to these guys; it’s not just a small town event,” said Chris Neilsen, president of the Turtleford and District Recreation Association.
“This will mean a lot to how these guys finish up and go into Lloydminster and finish up the season and get ready for Calgary next year.”
The winning driver of each event is determined by the fastest accumulated time over the course of the weekend.
The CPCA makes a stop in Frog Lake this weekend before the finals are held Aug. 16-20 at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds.
Neilsen said the riders don’t take it lightly when they come to Turtleford.
“It’s a tight track, but we put up some real good races here,” he said.
This week’s points leader, Wayne Knight from St. Walburg, is Neilsen’s pick to add to his aggregate in Turtleford.
If it’s not Knight in the winner’s circle, then look for strong performances by BJ Carey and last year’s derby winner, Jamie Laboucane to be the champion.
“Typically, Jamie or BJ are pretty strong, but with Wayne, the way he’s been running this year—it’s pretty much a home track for him,” said Neilsen.
“I’d say he’s got pretty strong odds coming in to our event depending on how they come out of Meadow Lake.”
The Turtleford derby kicks off on a Friday night with an outdoor beer garden that’s open to midnight.
Once again, the Turtleford & District Co-op is sponsoring an indoor trade show at the Community Centre that Saturday and Sunday.
Races begin both days at 6:30 p.m.
The Co-op is also hosting a pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8 a.m. until noon.
As usual, there will be a Saturday cabaret with the Just the Boyz Band.
“This is the third year in a row we’ve had them; everyone seems to like them,” said Neilsen.
Neilsen attributes the popularity of the local chuckwagon derby to the fact fans sit close to the action.
He said even when you are in the beer gardens you’re pretty much leaning against the rail.
“You can feel the wind of the horses run by, ” he said.
“You can’t find a better spot.”
The schedule of events includes a cattle show on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the grounds.
“It’s run separately, but it brings in quite a few people,” said Neilsen who noted last year they had their biggest turnout to date.
“Every pen they set up was full; people from all over Saskatchewan and Alberta brought animals,” he said.
The derby is also the main fundraiser for TADRA.
Proceeds from this year’s event will help pay off a loan for a new Zamboni shop the town and arena board built last summer at the rink.