Chuckwagon driver Ward Willard dead

A two-time Ponoka Stampede chuckwagon champion from the 1970s has died.

A two-time Ponoka Stampede chuckwagon champion from the 1970s has died.

Ward Willard died Aug. 23 from an apparent heart attack at the age of 66. Willard was a second generation wagon man who started his career in 1971.

Over his 28-year career, Willard carved out an impressive record. He was the 1994 World Champion Chuckwagon Driver, and won 15 show championships in his illustrious career including all the major events of the day. He won the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby in 1995 and made two appearances in the derby’s winner-take-all championship final heat.

Among his many victories, some of Willard’s most prestigious wins included the Cheyenne Frontier Days three consecutive years from 1977-1979 and the Ponoka Stampede in back to back years in 1978 and 1979. He won the Battle of the Giants in 1981, twice won the Big M Stampede in Morris Manitoba in 1989 and 1993, the Klondike Chuckwagon Derby in Edmonton in 1995 and the Grande Prairie Stompede Championship in 1996. He did not compete between 1983 and 1988, and last competed as a chuckwagon driver at the Calgary Stampede in 1999.

In addition to being a top chuckwagon driver, Willard was also a top-notch thoroughbred horse trainer. His Whispering Winds stable has produced several champion racehorses.

Visit wpca.com or halfmileofhell.com for more information on the life and death of champion chuckwagon driver Ward Willard.

By Billy Melville

Just Posted

Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Minister Shannon Phillips speaks to concerns around the Bighorn Country

Three Ponoka men and one youth charged in assault case

Police obtained a search warrant and located drugs and sawed-off shot gun

Snowfall adds some delay to morning commute

The QE2 and area road conditions in central Alberta were partly snow covered

New market opens in downtown Ponoka

Makkinga Market had a soft opening showcasing many of the different foods in store

Ponoka council challenged on payments on new building

Resident continues worries the town is paying over $94,000 per month on something it may never own

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Most Read