Thundering Controversy

The ‘klaxon’ horn blares loudly, sending 24 horses, four drivers and eight riders into instant motion as they navigate the figure-eight around two barrels and then straighten out onto the track in what has become known as the ‘half mile of hell’. For its fans, chuckwagon racing is an adrenaline-rush, filled with visual and auditory excitement. The GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede outsells the rodeo itself; in 2014 a total of 172,000 spectators attended the Derby, which runs nightly for all 10 days of the Stampede. For those who oppose it, chuckwagon racing is a dangerous activity that jeopardizes the welfare of horses. There are many people, both within the horse community and beyond, who would like to see the history books finally close on chuckwagon racing for good. There is no more polarizing event in all of horse sport in Canada than chuckwagon racing. Emotions run high…

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