Weather puts a hold on chuckwagon races

The 2015 North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship is in a holding pattern. Thursday’s races at the Westerner track were cancelled due to poor conditions created by rain 24 hours earlier, and with more moisture expected today’s scheduled 6:30 p.m. performance could be in jeopardy.

The 2015 North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship is in a holding pattern.

Thursday’s races at the Westerner track were cancelled due to poor conditions created by rain 24 hours earlier, and with more moisture expected today’s scheduled 6:30 p.m. performance could be in jeopardy.

“This was a decision between the Westerner board and the drivers,” Tracey Stott, secretary of the Canadian Chuckwagon and Chariot Association, said Thursday. “If it’s unsafe for the horses to run then we don’t run.”

Stott said there was no way the track could be groomed to the point that the races could go ahead Thursday.

“The base on the track is like clay, and so as soon as it rains it’s just like walking on ice,” she said. “After that rain hit yesterday and we tried to walk down the track . . . the ambulance was getting stuck on the track.

“We don’t want to chance it. Our horses are our babies.”

The decision to cut the meet short was also based on the weather forecast, said Stott.

“I think it was more that they were looking ahead at the weather,” she stated. “If it was looking like it was going to be even a little chance of showers today, then probably we would have been OK, but we’re supposed to be getting 40 to 50 millimetres (of rain) tonight and tomorrow.

“We can’t help the rain. If it’s raining we’re hooped.”

Stott is hopeful that the North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship can resume by Saturday, at the latest, reducing the 2015 event from a scheduled five performances to two.

“If it quits (raining) by tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow evening and has all day Saturday to dry, there would be a pretty good possibility we’d be able to go Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “That’s what we’re hoping for. We’re crossing our fingers.

“We don’t want to just sit there because it’s costing us a lot of money and it’s not good for the sponsors, either.”

Saturday’s races, if they go ahead, will start at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday’s final performance will start at 2:30 p.m.

Westerner Park released a press release Thursday stating that the wagons would be back on the track tonight, weather permitting.

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