Chuckwagon races will be part of 2019 Westerner Days Fair & Exposition July 17 to 21. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Chuckwagon races will be part of 2019 Westerner Days Fair & Exposition July 17 to 21. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer wants no repeat of Calgary Stampede deaths

North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship

Westerner Park expects more scrutiny of chuckwagon races at Westerner Days after six horses were euthanized at the recent Calgary Stampede.

“We are the first event after what has happened down south of us. People will be watching and we want to be able to say we have done everything that we can to ensure the safety of all concerned,” said Westerner Park CEO Bradley Williams, who was at the Stampede’s chuckwagon race on Sunday, when three horses were injured and euthanized.

“It’s obviously extremely unfortunate. We’re not brushing this off or taking it lightly. This is very serious for us. Safety is always important. We don’t cut corners.”

He said tarps went up quickly after the horses went down on Sunday in Calgary, but people know full well what’s going on.

“When something like that happens, it’s pretty devastating.”

A total of six horses had to be euthanized at this year’s Stampede. A few of the animals suffered broken legs. One collapsed due to a medical condition.

Williams said there have been no chuckwagon horses injured in Red Deer in recent memory, and this week, an added precaution will be taken by having a third-party equine team inspect the chuckwagon horses.

“If there are any that appear to be sick or injured or lame, or whatever the case may be, they will be noted and taken out of the race. We don’t always do that for the chunkwagon races.

“In light of everything, we want to do more than is required in order to ensure safety. We don’t want an animal running out there and hurting itself or hurting others,” Williams said.

As usual, the track will be inspected regularly by both Westerner Park and the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon & Chariot Association.

Association president Dwayne Dubuc said the pony chuckwagon races run at Westerner Days are statistically safer than those in Calgary, because the Stampede races use larger chuckwagons with larger horses, and other horse riders on the track competing in the race.

Calgary’s races are part of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association.

Dubuc said both Red Deer and Calgary races are run on the same size track, and the only extra horse riders on the Red Deer track are judges. Another judge will be added in Red Deer this week as a precaution.

He said everything is already being done that can be done when it comes to safety. A lot of protesters say horses don’t have a voice, that they didn’t choose to run, and that’s just not true, said Dubuc.

“If they don’t want to run, there’s nothing I can do to make them run. They will stand there. They will balk, and you will just have to lead them off,” Dubuc said.

And horses know when they have performed well, he said.

“These horses are proud. The way they prance, they know they have done a good job. I feel bad that people even want to take that away from these horses,” Dubuc said.

Related:

Chuckwagon race safety up for review after six horses die during Stampede event

Reed Rosencrans wins Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships

Williams said there are certain risks attached to the sport. Injuries can happen.

“We hope and pray it does not happen here. But it’s an exciting sport. It’s fast. It’s part of our western heritage. I would hope that there would still be people supporting it,” Williams said.

The 2019 Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship will be held during Westerner Days with 40 chuckwagons competing over the five days.

Ten heats of chuckwagon races will be presented nightly, along with six heats of chariots on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Agri-Trade Stars of Tomorrow, featuring sons and daughters of competitors, will showcase their skills with their mini chuckwagons and chariots nightly during intermission.

Chuckwagon races start at 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, with a 2 p.m. start on Sunday. Chariots start at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday.

— with file from The Canadian Press



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Westerner Park

 

Chuckwagon races will be part of 2019 Westerner Days Fair & Exposition July 17 to 21. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Chuckwagon races will be part of 2019 Westerner Days Fair & Exposition July 17 to 21. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Just Posted

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman holds up freedom of information requests that turned up no records. The Opposition requested back-to-school re-entry plan correspondence between Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and school boards, teachers and the media. Photo via Facebook live
NDP renews calls for Alberta gov’t to scrap K-6 draft curriculum

The NDP is once again calling on the Alberta Government to get… Continue reading

Earlier this week Alberta Health Services warned that Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department would be temporarily without physician coverage from May 12, at 6 p.m., to May 13, at 7 a.m. (Photo contributed by the Town of Rocky Mountain House)
Doctors needed in Rocky Mountain House

Emergency department temporarily closed due to doctor shortage

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

A week after a large anti-restriction protest at The Whistle Stop Cafe… Continue reading

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Atletico Ottawa defender Vashon Neufville controls the ball during Atletico Ottawa’s first team practice of their inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League in Ottawa, Wednesday June 3, 2020. The Canadian Premier League plans to kick off its third season mid-June to early July in one location without fans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Wattie
Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) deflects a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, celebrates a goal with teammates during third period NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens, in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 5, 2021. Brown will lead a young Canadian squad into the world hockey championship in Riga, Latvia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2018, file photo, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jayna Hefford shakes hands with people associated with the hall before a hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils in Toronto. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association is forging ahead in its bid to establish an economically sustainable professional league in North America with or — for now — without the NHL’s full financial backing. In response to Sportsnet.ca reporting the NHL was not in a position to operate a women’s league for the foreseeable future, PWHPA executive Jayna Hefford wrote in an email to The Associated Press late Thursday that her group has begun developing what she called “a parallel path for a future that doesn’t rely on NHL support.” (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

PWHPA forging ahead without NHL backing of women’s hockey

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

‘No secrets’ and no certainty in one-of-a-kind NHL playoffs

Supporters dance during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror, Alta., on Saturday, May 8, 2021. RCMP say they have ticketed four people after the rally that was attended by hundreds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney answers questions at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Kenney is distancing himself from a decision to expel two members from his United Conservative caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Kenney distances himself from caucus vote to turf dissidents with ‘personal agendas’

Kenney distances himself from caucus vote to turf dissidents with ‘personal agendas’

Most Read