You might say that Marvin Hubl was past due.
A regular competitor in the annual North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships since 1989, the Alhambra driver finally claimed the cherished trophy Sunday at the Westerner track while aboard the Meyers Norris Penny rig.
“The one thing about it was that Neil got me at the wire on the dash, but the money comes and goes but the name on the trophy stays forever. I’m pretty pleased with that,” said Hubl, who was runner-up to Neil Salmond in the final heat — the ‘dash-for-cash’ which netted the winner $2,500.
Hubl, who posted Saturday’s best time of 1:16.64 in the rain-shortened meet — the second half of Wednesday’s performance was washed out along with the entire Thursday and Friday runs — pretty much knew he had the championship clinched when his wagon crossed the line in 1:16.89 Sunday, good for a total time of 2:33.53.
Reed Rosencrans, on the Westerner Park Past Presidents wagon, came into the final heat .21 of a second behind Hubl but finished third in 1:17.18.
Salmond, driving the ABC Country Restaurant outfit from Red Deer, was more than a half second behind Hubl in Saturday’s performance, then posted a time of 1:16.64 Sunday and finished with a cumulative clocking of 2:33.84, which earned him runner-up status.
Defending champion Lee Adamson of Camrose, aboard the A-1 Supply wagon from his hometown, was also in Sunday’s final foursome and crossed the line in 1:17.23, giving him a total time of 2:34.69 following Saturday’s 1:17.46.
The fact the 2015 North American Championships consisted of two performances instead of the usual five took nothing away from Hubl’s triumph, he insisted.
“I had the good runs when it counted,” he said. “The track was excellent, the sponsors were excellent and it turned out to be a fun couple of days here for us with Meyers Norris Penny.”
Hubl, whose best previous finish was second but has also turned in multiple top-10 showings over the years, described his current season on the pony chuckwagon circuit as “up and down”.
“I’ve been training new horses,” he said.
“I finally put the old team back together this week and it worked excellent for me.”
Two-time North American champion Louis Johner, guiding the Red Deer Wei’s Western Wear rig, posted Sunday’s best time — 1:15.72 in the 12th heat. Johner came home in 1:18.14 Saturday night and finished third overall with a total time of 2:33.86.
Rosencrans, whose Saturday time was 1:16.85, finished fourth overall in 2:34.03, while Mark Harris, on the Rocky Mountain House Challand Pipeline wagon, rounded out the top five with a total time of 2:34.06.
Sunday’s other heat winners:
Heat one: Jake Van Ringen, Ol’ MacDonald’s Resort, Erskine, 1:17.82; Heat two: Dale Kobi, PureChem Services, Red Deer, 1:19.90; Heat three: Brad McMann, Bettenson’s Sand and Gravel, Red Deer, 1:16.96; Heat four: Tracy Stott, Wel-Can Welding & Fabrication, Red Deer Country, 1:21.09; Heat five: Albert Whiskeyjack, Westock Frame and Wheel Alignment Ltd., Red Deer, 1:20.79; Heat six: Curtis Wood, Speed Pro Signs, Red Deer, 1:17.81; Heat seven: Darryl Johnston, Marshall Construction, Red Deer County, 1:18.35; Heat eight: Larry Arcand, Terrafirma Resources Ltd., 1:17.97; Heat nine: Linda Shippelt-Hubl, KFC/Taco Bell, Red Deer, 1:18.48; Heat 10: Chris Arcand, CMR Fabricators Ltd., Sylvan Lake, 1:18.95; Heat 11: Gary Thiel, Pumps & Pressure Inc., Red Deer, 1:15.84; Heat 13: Jack Stott, Uncle Ben’s RV, Red Deer, 1:16.29.