Sutherland rides out season’s obstacles

The night before the Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash, one of Kelly Sutherland’s outriders missed a barrel and knocked him out of the

Kelly Sutherland races his wagon during the first night of the chucks’ at the Stampede.

Kelly Sutherland races his wagon during the first night of the chucks’ at the Stampede.

The night before the Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash, one of Kelly Sutherland’s outriders missed a barrel and knocked him out of the championships.

There goes an extra $50,000.

“I don’t know what happened. The outrider, he missed the barrel so I got rolled out now,” said Sutherland.

Despite that, and other challenges Sutherland faced at the Stampede this year, he’s looking to the future.

“It’s going pretty good. I mean I’m warming up to where the money is,” he said. “I try to make it in July, that’s where all the money is in our sport.”

Along with his outrider, Sutherland has been having troubles with his outrider horse Charlie. Sutherland’s team can barely get Charlie to the track.

“Horses are like athletes, some last longer than others,” Sutherland said. He bought Charlie more than five years ago, an ex-racing horse. When Sutherland brought Charlie back into racing he was reenergized.

However, Sutherland plans to keep Charlie off the track for a while.

Sutherland raced for the first time in Ponoka in 1966. “I’ve seen some changes at the Ponoka Stampede. It’s the second biggest stop on the chuckwagon tour.”

For more than 20 years Sutherland trained under racer Ralph Vigen.

“Him and I travelled down the road for some 20 years. He taught me the most about winning and horses.”

For the last 20 years Sutherland has been travelling with his son, Mark, who according to Sutherland has some innovative ideas.

Despite his long driving history, Sutherland wasn’t always a chuckwagon driver. His father raced horses and in his younger years Sutherland rode as a jockey. When he got too heavy he moved to outriding and eventually started driving.

Although he doesn’t have much time for it anymore Sutherland still likes to get out on the back of a horse.