Ponoka News file photo Stampede Parade 2022

Three chuckwagon racing legends to marshal Ponoka Stampede Parade

‘Celebrating 100 years of Chuckwagon Racing in Alberta’

As the month rolls on it’s time to start gearing up for the Ponoka Stampede Parade. Experience the wind-up celebration through the streets of downtown Ponoka as the parade takes place on June 30.

This year’s parade theme is “celebrating 100 years of chuckwagon racing in Alberta.” Given the theme, it’s only fitting that the parade marshals will be Tom Glass, Kelly Sutherland and Garry Dorchester.

Tom Glass is a founding member of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA), a three-time World Champion chuckwagon driver and has won both the Ponoka Stampede and Calgary Stampede before. In his 35-plus years of racing he drove his teams to four Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby Championships and two Stampede aggregate wins. His first Ponoka Stampede win was in 1972 and after that he had a win at every major chuckwagon event held in Alberta for years. Glass retired from chuckwagon races in 1998.

Kelly Sutherland is another chuckwagon name that fans of the sport are certain to know, especially given his nickname as “The King” for his success on the rodeo circuit. Sutherland is a 12-time world champion of the WPCA and a 12-time winner of the Calgary Stampede. He has been competing in chuckwagon racing since he was 14 years old. Since then, he has spent 50 years of racing building an unprecedented career and is the most decorated veteran in the sport. Sutherland retired from racing in 2017.

Hailing from Wetaskiwin County, Garry Dorchester grew up on the professional chuckwagon circuit. During his 13-year career as a chuckwagon driver from 1966 to 1979, Dorchester won 14 races, a World Chuckwagon Championship, a Central Alberta Chuckwagon Championship and placed inside the top 10 in the world standings nine times. In 1998, Garry was honoured by the WPCA with their Special Tribute Award and in July 2011, was inducted into the Calgary Stampede’s “Pioneers of Rodeo.” Following his retirement from the sport, he took a 15-year absence from chuckwagons before him, and his wife Dauna became the support crew for his son Troy Dorchester’s outfit as Troy took to the pro circuit in 1993.

Joining the parade marshals will be thousands of spectators taking in the parade. Every year over 10,000 spectators enjoy the three-mile-long parade which kicks off the Ponoka Stampede. With entries from everyone from community clubs, teams, organizations and dignitaries, the creativity of the community is put on full display. There are sure to be plenty of colourful floats, mascots, classic cars, marching bands, clowns and more.

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Ponoka News file photo Stampede Parade 2022