Rodeo Events

Chuck Wagon Racing

The first chuck wagon races were held in 1923 at the Calgary Stampede. They are re-enactments of the round-up races that used to take place after a round-up when the wagon drivers raced each other to town.

Although the rules have changed a bit, the concept behind chuck wagon racing remains the same. The competitor must break camp and race around a 1/2- to 5/8-mile (0.8 to 1 km) track. Each race team has one wagon driver and four outriders. One outrider's job is to hold the lead horse steady while another throws a small barrel weighing about 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) into the back of the wagon. The other two outriders must throw the tent fly and poles into the back of the wagon.

At the sound of the horn, the wagon is loaded and the driver must do a figure-eight around two barrels then race around a track to the finish line. The four outriders must finish within 125 feet (38 m) of the lead horse of their wagon. Time penalties are added to the running time.

Sherry Roan (left), Nehiyaw (from Hobbema, Alberta), racing pony chariots in the National Finals Pony Chuck Wagon and Chariot Races, Saddle Lake, Alberta, 1996
Photograph by Morgan Baillargeon, CMC 96-1150

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