There is a strong chance that the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) World Champion will be crowned in Drumheller as the Richard Cosgrave Badlands Dinosaur Derby will be the last event on the Dodger Pro Tour this year.
On Thursday, Kelly Sutherland, one of the WPCA’s track inspectors was on site at Dinosaur Downs. According to WPCA operations manager Kelly Carson, on Saturday the board met and scheduled the Dinosaur Derby for the weekend of August 26-28.
“It’s a points show, so it is important to us,” said Carson. “All the conditions were met by Drumheller to make sure the track was suitable to run on and we’re coming.”
He explains the rain this spring could have potentially damaged the base of the track, but the Drumheller Stampede and Ag Society was able to bring it up to standard.
“The rain hit the weekend we were coming, and the track was exposed, meaning the clay base was exposed. If the clay gets wet you are hooped. If it is sealed, and by sealed I mean packed really hard, the rain can come and the water just runs off,” said Carson. “As long as the clay below is hard, the horses can grab.”
“They (the Ag Society) did absolutely everything right, it was just the rain came at the wrong time.”
This makes the Dinosaur Derby the last race on the WPCA schedule. This means the World Champion will be crowned at the Dinosaur Derby, and so far this season no one is running away with the show.
“It could be predetermined, but it is not now, because there are eight guys racing for the top spot,” said Carson. “I have been involved for six years, and it came down to the last day every time.”
This is the final year of a contract between the WPCA and the Drumheller Stampede and Ag Society. Carson said negotiations don’t typically start until a new WPCA board is in place.
“We are not looking at any new shows, we like where we go. Having established shows are very important to us because a venue knows what they are doing and know how to put it on,” said Carson.
Despite the fact that weather is always a factor, he said Drumheller is suited well for an early season show.
“We need those race days before Calgary (Calgary Stampede), we encourage events to go in June because we need the race days. Drumheller, with a half-mile track, is important early in the year if we can get it, because that is when drivers don’t want to stretch their horses out on a bigger track that early in the year,” said Carson.