For the first time in his career, Riley Braaten was crowned the winner of the 2023 North American Pony Chuckwagon Championship at Westerner Park on Sunday.
The Archerwill, Sask. native was also named the Dash for Cash $2,500 winner for his time of 78.52 seconds Sunday, which was given to the fastest chuckwagon of the day.
His blazing time was enough to win the aggregate with a total time of 6:27. He finished four seconds ahead of Bob Leach and Marvin Hubl finished in third place.
In just his third time competing at Westerner Days, he told The Advocate following the race that it felt great to win it all.
“I didn’t think this was going to happen but this is a really good one,” he said. “It feels great to pull this one out.”
In 2022, Braaten finished just behind Reed Rosencrans in the championship race so this time around he’s happy to come out on top.
“I was winning heading into the last day last year too and he actually beat me to win the show. This one felt pretty good to hold on to first,” he added.
Braaten first competed in the North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships in 2016 and was invited back in 2022.
His dad, who competed in chuckwagons for many years, got him into the sport and Braaten also looked up to many racers growing up as a kid.
He explained what keeps him in the sport is the rush of competing.
“When all three of us were coming across the track and it was all that close. That gets the blood pumping. When I looked back and I could see I was that much ahead of [Bob Leach] it’s really exciting,” he said.
The champion chariot was Bob Leach who had the fastest time of the day at 76.01 seconds and finished with a total time of 6:24.58.