Chuckwagon tarp auction reaches new heights

“This helps the chuckwagon families go down the road for the year.” Stampede president Joe Dodds

Bid taker Mike Brennan calls out a $40

Bid taker Mike Brennan calls out a $40

A furious back and forth bidding war between Rusway Construction and Pidherney’s Oilfield Construction caused quite a commotion last weekend at the Stagecoach Saloon during this year’s tarp auction in the run-up to the Stampede excitement.

Thirty-six chuckwagon racers on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) tour came to Ponoka to vie for best bid during the Ponoka Stampede tarp auction, which raised $500,000, the second highest the association has ever seen.

The bid that turned everybody’s head was when Rusway beat out Pidherney with a record breaking $51,000 bid, acquiring the rights to Roger Moore’s chuckwagon.

Pidherney was Moore’s sponsor in Ponoka last year, but Merv Krauss of Rusway, made some quick decisions while talking to his business partner, Wayne Russell, over the phone. Krauss said they had their eyes on Moore.

“We were going to buy him,” said Krauss determinedly.

Moore was a little taken aback and couldn’t stop smiling. “Rusway has backed me 100 per cent for 10 years.”

When the auctioneer yelled a $40,000 bid for Moore, people started to get excited. But they weren’t ready for the record sale that he garnered. Moore was last year’s Ponoka Stampede champion after winning the Tommy Dorchester $50,000 Dash-for-Cash.

There was an air of optimism in the room before the auction even started, possibly due to organizers adding more tables to accommodate buyers. Stampede president Joe Dodds said the tarp auction is a much-anticipated day for everyone involved.

“It’s basically the kick off to the Ponoka Stampede,” stated Dodds.

“This helps the chuckwagon families go down the road for the year,” he added.

WPCA president Arnold McKernon was uncertain how the night would go as the Calgary Stampede tarp auction was down from last year. Despite the low sales in Calgary, McKernon feels trends are changing.

“We are at the beginning of a new cycle,” said McKernon.

WPCA on SiriusXM

In an effort to reach a broader customer base, the WPCA is breaking new ground with a new contract engaging SiriusXM satellite radio. Look for channel 80 to catch up on the latest Half Mile of Hell action.

McKernon said the WPCA has new members on its board of directors and he looks forward to seeing what the “new blood” will be able to offer their organization. As technology grows, McKernon suggests planners need to ensure they keep with trends.

“We’re trying to make improvements and all that stuff takes time,” he explained.

Troy Dorchester took the second highest bid at $26,000 from Lafarge Canada.

The average bid was $13,888.89, with the median bid at an even $10,000.00.