What Would Happen if Chuckwagon Races Disappeared?

What Would Happen if Chuckwagon Races Disappeared?

Over the last summer, the animal ethicality of chuckwagon races has been highly controversial. I have read many posts with different opinions on this subject. While some believe the sport is cruel, they fail to look into the situation. I am passionate about the welfare of animals, and desire to be a veterinarian; however, in these circumstances, nothing is black and white. I hope to shed some light on chuckwagon races and the benefits to the animals involved.

To introduce the subject at hand, and why it has become controversial, I would like to give you the facts. Since 1986, 68 chuckwagon horses have died at the Calgary Stampede, six of which were during the 2019 tour of the Western and

© CBC News, Jul 15, 2019

World Professional Chuckwagons (2019 Calgary Stampede ties as 2nd Deadliest Year for Chuckwagon Horses, 2019). Veteran chuckwagon driver, Chad Harden’s wagon, got in the way of Danny Rinquette, which caused Evan Salmond’s lead horse to crash into the guard rail (Gilligan, 2019). Over the years, the Calgary Stampede has continued to implement new safety procedures when needed. Because of a zero-tolerance policy for preventable accidents and injuries, Chad Harden was fined $10,000 and faces a possible lifetime ban (Gilligan, 2019).

To become an unprejudiced veterinarian, I must be experienced with a variety of species, and we informed on controversial topics concerning animal welfare. This last summer, I worked with one of the top racers on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association circuit. When I arrived on the ranch, employees were told that these horses were their family and could never be replaced. His team included 50+ horses, all of which were ex-racehorses from both Canada and the United States. Generally, racehorses start their career around the age of two and last for only two to three years before they must retire from the racing industry. Horses with an outstanding lineage are used for breeding; however, the future for most of the horses is questionable. While it varies every year, according to data compiled by the ASPCA, in 2006 more than 104,000 American ex-racehorses were slaughtered in 2006. This does not include all American ex-racehorses that are slaughtered. Between 2012 and 2016, 137,000 were shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. About 60% were less than eight years old (Horse Slaughter, n.d.). While some ex-racehorses are rehomed for other equestrian purposes, thoroughbred horses are high-spirited, and born to run; therefore, they are not a suitable breed for everyone. Chuckwagon racing enables many of these horses to continue their love for running while being given a second chance at life.

© Jeff Mcintosh/The Canadian Press

Being able to experience first-hand the care these animal athletes receive was an incredible experience. Before the horses are brought into the barn, two weeks before the circuit begins, they are kept in large paddocks with partners. Daily, they had fresh hay, grain, water, and salt. For the horses to be as comfortable as possible, their feet where shod and teeth were floated whenever needed. At the beginning of the training season, the horses that I worked with were administered a small dose of Phenylbutazone (Bute), a non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug that reduces the inflammation in muscle tissue. For these animal athletes before a competition and after a long rest period, Bute is used to prevent damage to muscles that are strained and inflamed. (On the Record: Deciphering Pre-Race Vet Treatments, 2014). Before competitions, animal athletes are subject to random drug testing. During the afternoons, each horse was groomed and examined for injuries, swelling or lameness before being exercised. To increase their cardio, horses where run on a well-harrowed track at 30 km/hour, for approximately six to eight km. Because Thoroughbreds are born to run, this is usually a slow speed for they normally sprint around 50 to 70 km/hr.

When thoroughbreds run, they put their whole heart into it; however, the adrenalin caused during racing can result in heart attacks. The Calgary Stampede released statistics stating that the chance of a chuckwagon horse dying during races is 0.26%. Since the majority of chuckwagon horses are saved from slaughter, if the sport of chuckwagon racing disappeared, the horses’ chance of death would rise to 90%. (Charest, 2019).

I believe that as a veterinarian, I can better educate people on controversial animal welfare topics, such as chuckwagon racing, and how to prevent hazards in animal sports. While chuckwagon racing tries to avoid these hazards and accidents already, many of the horses euthanized on the track occur after a severe leg injury. To repair a fractured or broken bone costs more money and time than most drivers are capable of spending on a horse. After more education, and hopefully finishing veterinarian school, I would love to research cost-effective and innovative ways to rehabilitate thoroughbreds after leg injuries.

Chuckwagon racing gives many horses a second chance. Banning animal sports, such as chuckwagon racing, will not solve the problems of animal welfare. In my opinion, we can genuinely help these animals by establishing safety procedures when new hazards appear, and hopefully, provide ways to rehabilitate animals with fixable injuries. In the end, there is a purpose for animal sports, and there is a genuine connection between human and animal athletes.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Heidi Benson

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GPRC Wolves: New Recruits for Women’s Basketball team

GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball head coach, Bill Bradley has been busy getting ready to kick-off the 2019-2020 season and is pleased to welcome a new recruit to his roster.

GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball recruit, Gracie Reschke.

We are pleased to announce the signing of Gracie Reschke to the Women’s Basketball program.

Hailing from St. Albert, Alberta, Gracie placed in the top ten last year at provincials with her high school team. Gracie graduated from Paul Kane High School and received overall honours and athletics awards all three years attending there. In 2019, she lent her skills coaching for the St. Albert Youth Basketball League, where she coached U14 Boys.

“Everyone is so welcoming,” said Gracie. “I loved the community at GPRC. The College offers everything I’m looking for in terms of education and athletics.”

Gracie is looking forward to playing basketball at the collegiate level. “I’m so excited for the opportunity and I can’t wait to grow my skill set.” She’s looking forward to learning from both her teammates and the excellent coaching staff at GPRC.

Coach Bradley is looking forward to welcoming Gracie to the pack. “She comes from a perennial playoff school in Edmonton, and she understands what it takes to achieve success as a team. Her IQ of the game will help us achieve our goals this year as well.”

Welcome to the pack, Gracie.

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We are pleased to announce the signing of Caitlin Paul to the Women’s Basketball program.

GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball recruit, Caitlin Paul.

Caitlin will be joining the Wolves from Fairview, Alberta and will be bringing a ton of great experience with her. Caitlin was a two-time recipient of the Fairview High Female Athlete award and was also crowned the 2018 Aspire Showcase All Star. Caitlin also participated in several of the Wolves All Star Basketball games throughout her high school career.

Caitlin will be enrolling in GPRC’s education program and is looking forward to being a part of a new team, getting to play the sport she loves at a high level and continuing to improve her game. When asked why she chose GPRC, Caitlin responded, “It allows me to stay close to home, close to family and friends and it is a good fit for the program I want to take.”

Coach Bradley is looking forward to welcoming Caitlin to the pack. “Caitlin’s speed and quickness is going to open up the floor for us to play the style of basketball I like to coach.”

Welcome to the pack, Caitlin.

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GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball recruit, Jeannie Borger.

Say hello to Jeannie Borger as we welcome her to the pack.

Hailing from Grimshaw, Alberta, Jeannie represented her high school, Grimshaw Public School this past basketball season with pride.

She is excited to join the wolf pack and start her post-secondary journey at GPRC where she is interested in pursuing her Bachelor of Education.

“GPRC is close to home,” said the new rookie. “I am looking forward to being part of a solid team, meeting new people and have new opportunities both academically and athletically.”

Head Coach, Bill Bradley is looking forward to welcoming Jeannie to the court.

“Jeannie has a unique set of skills that can separate her from the competition, and create opportunities for her teammates.”

Welcome to the pack, Jeannie.

The Wolves kick off their season with their first game on November 1-2 vs. Concordia Thunder.

Learn more about your GPRC Wolves here and how you can continue to help support their athletic and academic goals here.

GPRC Wolves: New Recruits to the Men’s Basketball Team

GPRC Wolves: New Recruits to the Men’s Basketball Team

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Evan Lloyd has been steadily working to build his roster for the 2019-20 season.

He is pleased to announce the signing of the below recruits to the Men’s Basketball program.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Tomislav Stojcic. Tomislav is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

Tomislav Stojcic is joining the men’s basketball program this 2019-20 season. Hailing from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Tomislav is looking forward to joining the Wolves and learning from the experienced coaching staff and returning players.

Tomislav helped his team win at the Dover Bay Invitational this last season, and secured the title of Top Male Athlete in 2015. Enrolled in GPRC’s Kinesiology program, Tomislav said he chose GPRC because of the great selection of academic programs. He is excited to get started.

Head Coach Evan Lloyd is looking forward to having rookie Tomislav out on the court in the upcoming season.

“Tom is a great young addition to this year’s squad, he will provide some length and ability to space the floor for his teammates. We are all excited to have him on board.”

Welcome to the pack, Tomislav.

The Wolves kick off their season with their first game on November 1-2 vs. Concordia Thunder.

Learn more about your GPRC Wolves here and how you can continue to help support their athletic and academic goals here.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Noe Tchomo. Noe is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

Joining the squad from St. Albert, Alberta, Noe Tchomo is bringing a ton of great experience to the pack.

Most recently, over the last two years, Noe has played with the Ameba Starr Basketball Association in his hometown and brought home multiple tournament wins and achievements.

He is excited to join the wolf pack and start his post-secondary journey at GPRC where he will be studying Engineering. Noe is looking forward to playing his first year post-secondary and learning from the older guys both academically and out on the court.

Noe states, “I chosen GPRC because the campus was great and it was a good first step towards my academic career.”

Head Coach Evan Lloyd is looking forward to having rookie Noe out on the court in the upcoming season.

“Noe is an athletic guard that has the ability to create his own shot and generate some pressure on the defensive end. We are excited to bring him in and work with him going forward.”

Welcome to the pack, Noe.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Nathan Kurikilodil. Nathan is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

GPRC Wolves are excited to welcome Nathan Kurikilodil to the pack. Hailing from Edmonton, Nathan is bringing some excellent experience to the Wolves. Nathan helped his Junior Men’s team bring home Silver in Metro in 2017 and is looking forward to getting to play again on a tight-knit team.

“I chose GPRC in order to attain a variety of opportunities because of the wide range of programs available there,” said Nathan when asked why he picked Grande Prairie to continue his education. Nathan is planning on starting his Bachelor of Kinesiology/Education at GPRC.

He is most looking forward to developing his skills and learning more about the game of basketball from the experienced coaching staff and returning players. Nathan is also excited to play at a higher level of competition.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Evan Lloyd is looking forward to watching Nathan develop on the court.

“We are excited to welcome Nathan to the team. He is a strong guard that has a quick release and who will provide depth and an eagerness to the team. Nathan is always willing to improve himself and help the people around him.”

Welcome to the pack, Nathan.

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GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Brandon Lyons. Brandon is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

Grande Prairie local recruit Brandon Lyons is bringing a ton of awesome experience to the wolf pack this upcoming season. Having been a part of the Wolves Club program for the last four years, it’s no surprise Brandon stated he was excited to come to GPRC because “it’s a great environment with great coaches and it feels like home”.

Brandon also played the role of Captain on his Peace Wapiti Academy high school team and took home MVP in the 2017 season.

He is looking forward to starting his post-secondary journey at GPRC and work towards his Kinesiology/Education degree. He is excited to continue to grow at the sport he loves and get the chance to compete at a high level.

We caught up with GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Evan Lloyd who is delighted to have Brandon join the squad.

“Brandon is a very hard working athlete with a positive attitude,” said Lloyd. “He will bring depth and a higher level of competition to practice. We are excited to have him.”

Welcome to the pack, Brandon.

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Say hello to Bryce Hardisty-Phillips as we welcome him to the wolf pack.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Bryce Hardisty-Phillips. Bryce is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

Bryce hails from High Prairie and will be joining the Wolves for the 2019-2020 season. He’s no stranger to the GPRC gym however taking home the Player of the Game title for the 2019 High School All-Star game hosted at the College in March.

Bryce also earned the multiple tournament MVP titles and the Leading Scorer title two years in a row for his high school team, the E.W. Pratt Chargers in 2018 and 2019.

He is excited to start his journey at GPRC in the Kinesiology program and continue to learn and build his skills on the court. When asked why he chose GPRC, Bryce stated, “I like the idea of a smaller school where everyone knows everyone and I can be closer to my family and friends.” Bryce states he’s already dedicated to “do whatever I can to help my team succeed” in this upcoming season.

Neil Barry, E.W. Pratt High School’s basketball coach said: “Bryce is a complete player on both ends of the floor and also is an extremely hard worker on and off the court.”

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Evan Lloyd couldn’t agree more. “Bryce is a great addition to the Wolves squad he adds quickness, the ability to shoot and a willingness to learn and develop his game.”

Welcome to the pack, Bryce.

Next up, Say hello to Saxon Joyes as we welcome him to the wolf pack.

GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball new recruit, Saxon Joyes. Saxon is committing to the Wolves for the 2019-20 season.

Stony Plain recruit, Saxon Joyes has been added to the roster. Saxon is bringing a ton of experience to the pack and is known as an all-star by his teammates and coaches. Most recently, Saxon took home the title of Metro Edmonton All-Star in 2019 for the second year in a row. Before that, he achieved the Memorial Senior Basketball award in 2018.

He is excited to join the wolf pack and start his post-secondary journey at GPRC where he will be studying Business Administration with an interest in Financial Investment. Saxon is looking forward to lacing up in front of fans in the GPRC gym and continuing to improve his game every time he hits the court.

Saxon states, “I chose GPRC because of my great first impression of the campus, coaching staff and players.”

Head Coach Evan Lloyd is looking forward to having rookie Saxon out on the court in the upcoming season.

“Saxon is going to be an excellent addition to the team. He brings an eagerness to improve his game, an excellent work ethic and incredible competitiveness. We’re looking forward to welcoming Saxon to the team.”

Welcome to the pack, Saxon.