Stampede Chuckwagons

Rounding the final corner on to the home stretch.

It’s a scene right out of the film Ben-Hur – creaky chariots hurtling around a dirt track in a chaotic, thunderous mass of wheels and hooves.

Each year during the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon drivers push there teams of thoroughbreds around the ‘half-mile of hell’, in search of day money but with their eyes firmly set on the ultimate goal of collecting the $100,000 prize on the final day in the ‘dash for the cash’

Along with the rodeo, the GMC Rangeland Derby is one of the show pieces of the ten day event, attracting an audience of tens of thousands each night.

It’s not without it’s perils of course. Two horses had to be euthanized as a result of accidents during this year’s races.

I ended up shooting three nights of the ‘chucks’ this year.

(Click images to view larger)

Kelly Sutherland drives his team to the finish line. (I imagine this is what the four horsemen of the apocalypse would look like, if one of them happened to be a chuckwagon driver)

Driving to the finish line.

Riding over a barrel, taking a time penalty.

Close finish.

Starting a race four wide.

Muddy ride.

Guiding team around the barrels.

Sprint to the finish.

Knocking over a barrel.

Racing down the backstretch.

Thundering to the finish line.

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