Josh Hyrnyk is the WPCA rookie for the 2018 season. He’s looking to grow his skills this season. Here he poses at the Ponoka Stampede tarp auction in May. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

WPCA rookie looks to new challenges for 2018 season

Josh Hyrnyk looks to grow his skills at Ponoka Stampede

Rookie World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) driver Josh Hyrnyk is looking forward to his first time driving at the Ponoka Stampede.

Hyrnyk is no stranger to the western heritage sport, however, as he has been an outrider in the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association for the last five years.

He has had a lot of help from Kurt Bensmiller who was the 2017 Ponoka Stampede champion and winner of the $50,000 Dash for Cash last year.

“He’s been in my ears the last couple of years, saying, ‘Why don’t you jump in the wagon?’” said Hyrnyk. “And finally I just took the step.”

For now, Hyrnyk plans to take baby steps with his driving. Some days he feels in tune with the horses, the wagon and the track, and others, it doesn’t click.

“Kurt’s reassured me that’s the long road of wagon racing,” he said.

For his outfit, Hyrnyk has a few horses purchased from Bensmiller’s barn, plus a strong leader horse from another.

“What we’re looking for is nothing that’s too chargey or too powerful that’s going to get me into trouble,” he explained of the strategy in his rookie year.

At the time of the Ponoka Stampede tarp auction in May, Hyrnyk was working on setting up his second set of racing horses.

The love of the sport started 10 years ago where Hyrnyk was a barn hand. He then went to school as a power lineman, but after that, Hyrnyk took the reigns of a thoroughbred horse. He hasn’t looked back.

Look for Hyrnyk’s outfit, sponsored by A-1 Waste, as he takes the corners around Ponoka Stampede’s track. WPCA races start Wednesday, June 27.

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