Once again, Buddy Bensmiller, patriarch of the legendary chuckwagon racing family, is putting tiny Dewberry, Alta., on the map with chuckwagon racing—and you’re invited!
The famed Bensmiller clan is hosting an informal meet of chuckwagons August 15–16, 2020, and some of the top drivers and horses will be there.
“Some people are mad that we’re having it, others are happy that we’re having it,” says racing legend Buddy Bensmiller. “But you’ve got to do something—you can’t shut everything down.”
Buddy, a three-time winner of the coveted Calgary Stampede and patriarch of a chuckwagon racing family that includes drivers Chance and Kurt Bensmiller, is taking a giant leap for the love of the sport.
“We’re doing everything COVID-compliant,” he explains. “We’re taking temperatures as they come in, proper papers are signed, and of course we’re setting them [chuckwagon camps] apart, so we’re doing everything right that way,” he explains.
“We’re still only allowed 200 people in the stands, but we’re going to park vehicles all the way around the racetrack so people can watch from their vehicles.”
Excitement is already running high.
“I think we’re going to end up with a lot of people,” says Bensmiller.
The meet will start Saturday, Aug 15 with racing beginning at 5 p.m., and the next day, racing starts at 2 p.m.
The Dewberry meet is a “fun run,” one of a few that are happening up in the northern end of the prairies. Chuckwagon fans are excited for the upcoming event.
“Some guys decided not to train this year,” says WPCA colour man and historian, Billy Melville. “But there are some new guys that are hooking an outfit, and that’s good to see. It’s quite healthy for the sport. It’s good—albeit limited—that the wagons are still rolling.”
Located two hours east of Edmonton, the village of Dewberry, pop. 186, is regarded as the Chuckwagon Driver Capital of Alberta.