By Billy Melville and Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye
Thousands of chuckwagon fans filled the Ponoka Stampede grandstands to stomp their feet and bring Roger Moore to the finish line.
The highly anticipated $50,000 Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash at the Stampede on Canada Day featured Kelly Sutherland, Roger Moore, Jerry Bremner and Luke Tournier. They survived the semifinal round and ran for the championship at one of chuckwagon racing’s most prestigious events. In one of the most exciting chuckwagon races of the year, Roger Moore — driving the Pidherney’s outfit — collected the winning money and a new GMC Sierra pickup truck. Outriders Shawn Calf Robe and Quaid Tournier helped Moore win the prize.
Coming off of barrel position number 2 in the sudden death final, Moore captured the crown with a penalty free run of 1:14.27. Tournier placed second from barrel position number 1, just 38 one-hundredths of a second behind Moore, followed by Jerry Bremner and Kelly Sutherland from barrel positions 3 and 4 respectively in a penalty-free championship final heat.
Moore won nine times during his time on the Canadian Pro Circuit and the Ponoka victory marks not only his first on the WPCA Pro Tour since joining in 2012, but his first in a major chuckwagon event. “I’m pumped.”
“I knew I couldn’t out-turn anyone,” he added.
Moore enjoyed the challenge of competing against the other three outfits but he has been working all year to find the best combination of horses to race. “It’s not just the horses. It’s gotta be everybody else. It’s the outriders.”
He had to switch an outrider and used Tournier instead.
“He’s never rode that horse before. He just did an awesome job for me,” said Moore.
Kurt Bensmiller won the day money after posting the fastest time of the night with a 1:13.85, placing first by 30 one-hundredths of a second over Kirk Sutherland, with Rae Croteau Jr. posting the third best time on the night, followed by 2013 Ponoka Stampede Champion Roger Moore and Colt Cosgrave who rounded out the top five.