This last weekend the Grande Prairie Stompede Chuckwagon Committee was named the Race Committee of the year by the World Professional Chuckwagon Association. The committee, which was represented in Calgary by Stompede Chuckwagon Committee Director and local driver Dean Dreger, received the award for their efforts in promoting and moving forward the sport of chuckwagon racing. Dreger says that there were a lot of keys to the success of this year’s Stompede, one of the key pieces to the wagon’s success this year was the first annual Stompede Tarp Sale and Gala back in April. Dreger explains that the first banquet was put together in a short amount of time because restrictions had just been lifted a short time before the event.
“The whole community came together, and they brought new sponsors to the venue. We helped out the Tiny Hands of Hope charity. We helped the meet and exceed their goal, they completed their garden,” Dreger says.
Dreger explains that the reason the partnership with the Tiny Hands of Hope and the wagon community worked is that the wagons are a family-centred community. So to create a space that gives not just the immediate families of a lost child or loved one a place to grieve, but extended family, friends, and siblings is something that hit home to many.
“It’s a place to reflect, it’s a place of healing. And you don’t always have the opportunity to do that. That is what drew us closer to that, as lots of us have lost someone close in the last few years or recently.”
Along with the Tarp Sale and Gala the Grande Prairie Stompede put the first WPCA tour stop of the 2022 season and was the first stop to accommodate the association’s new permit driver system, with 44 wagons running in 11 heats over five nights. Dreger says that there were some other additions made to the 2022 event.
“We brought an arena director in, former champion Kelly Sutherland, to direct traffic, along with Buddy Bensmiller. We have a great show and it flowed well.”
Dreger says that the Stompede received several compliments about the professionalism and the quality of the competition and the visual show that the WPCA wagons provide. All this equalled what Dreger says was a successful show all around, and all these factors played a part in the Stompede receiving the award this weekend.
Dreger says now that 2022 is behind them, the focus is on 2023, and the Tarp Sale and Gala will be held on April 1st, 2023. He adds that this year’s event will be even bigger and better than the first and to keep an eye open for more information and announcements when they come out.