Friday, July 18, 2008

Fast rides on fast hosses

The Calgary Stampede is famous for its Chuckwagon Races. I have heard about these things for a while but I have never seen such a thing in my life.

They ran every nite of the rodeo, to qualify for the finals. Each heat had four teams competing. Each wagon has one driver, and four outriders. First, the outriders have to throw two things into the back of the wagon, then get on their horses and follow behind the wagon.
Each wagon has to do a figure eight around their two barrels before hitting the regular racetrack. If they hit a barrel and knock it down, there is a five second penalty. They race the entire track to get to the finish line back near the starting point.
All of the horses are Thoroughbreds. Some of that clearly have that TB spirit too--I made my bets on who would win based on which team had the craziest acting horse--and I was right on 7 out of 9 races!
The wagons are sponsored by corporations, or farms, or even one law firm...hotel chains, restaurants, you name it.

This picture shows the outriders as they leave the arena behind the wagons. They have to be within so many feet of their wagon when their wagon crosses the finish line.

This is what the start looks like---they are facing the wrong direction, then take an immediate right to go around their first barrel.
Look at the manueverability of these horses, even while in harness. It is wild to see how they can move

This picture below is my favorite because you can really see the face of the driver and how active he is in the process---he is yelling and leaning hard around the turn.
These last shots show the first turn--when they would get to the other side of the track, we had to watch on the jumbotron thing---

It was a fascinating experience, all the way around.


Anonymous said...

I can't hear the "yelling and screaming of the wagon drivers or the crowds.

Will that be next on your wonderful photo experiences.

But again as I always say Thanks for giving me a great tour Carol

Holly said...

I think when you see this stuff and you do not have a lot of knowledge about what goes into these things, the drivers make it look not too hard. But....when you do know a little, you KNOW how dangerous and how hard it is to control ONE horse from that far away let alone FOUR of them and AT SPEED too!

Carrie said...

The Stampede is very particular about who competes. All competitors in all events are individually invited every year. They compete over 10 days. All events other than the chucks are split into and A and B section. On the last Sunday the top 4 in each event compete for a final prize of $100,000.

There is day money in each event too.

The Chucks are my favorite event. Could be because I know a few of the drivers.

Jason Glass is one of them. He was the all around aggregate winner this year but came in third in the final race. I went to school with him many moons ago.

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