The Western Chuckwagon Association is moving in a different direction for its stop in Grande Prairie this year. It has dropped the live music portion, changing from Pomeroy Guitars and Wagons to the new Boots & Moccasins weekend.
Chuckwagons and chariots will still run over three days at Evergreen Park, where the 2nd annual Grande Prairie Traditional Powwow will be held. WCA president Dean Dreger says they were finding it difficult to get enough sponsorship and ticket buyers to afford live entertainment.
“It’s hard to secure live entertainment out of our chest of capital, and then to support that you need the numbers and we just weren’t getting both. It’s only two weeks after the Stompede, and they have the big wagon show there.”
Dreger says it’s important for the WCA to have an event during that time, to keep the horses and drivers fit and safe. However, the live music portion was always operated at a loss. While the economy is improving, sponsors still seem to be cautious.
“That relates back to sponsorship dollars, and at the end of the day, that’s how those events get put on, by good sponsors and long-term, committed people to the sport.”
The Pomeroy Group is still involved in the event, a partnership Dreger says feels like family. The hope is to now expand the family with the addition of the powwow next door.
“We always expect our die hard fans that come to every show, and we’re quite fortunate to have a few of them, but I’m hoping to gain a different group because we don’t usually get together with the Indigenous group in a powwow situation.”
The WCA will start its races at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 15th, and at 5 p.m. on the 16th and 17th at Gordon Badger Stadium. Grand entries for the powwow in the Entrec Centre will go 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.