A local father son duo came out on top of the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon finals Sunday. Mark and Mitch Sutherland were in the championship heat with Jason Glass and Vern Nolin, and it was the elder Sutherland that took the prize.
“It’s unbelievable,” he says. ” I got the one lead horse back from the good outfit I had mid-week here and it just started to gel then. He got them going and starting and I knew we were on our way; we just needed the odd break.”
The Grande Prairie chuckwagon driver took the GMC Rangeland Derby $100,000 Dash for Cash with a time of 1:16:74. Sutherland’s time was just 1.06 seconds ahead of his son Mitch Sutherland, who placed second in his first ever championship final heat appearance. It was also the fastest time of the night, 27 one-hundredths of a second ahead of his nephew, Mark Sutherland.
Sutherland was joined by outriders Chance Flad and Chance Vigen, whose grandfather he credits with helping him reach this status.
“I learned how to relax and turn the barrels from Ralph Vigen. You’ve just got to relax, forget about the outside and go do your work. Everybody will get to it at a certain stage of their life.”
The championship win came after being awarded the event’s Safe Drive Award for the third time in his career. It’s given to the driver with the least penalties over the first eight nights of the GMC Rangeland Derby.