WPCA Mourns The Passing Of Former Chuckwagon Driver/Outrider Oris Lyster

Oris Lyster
March 31, 1926 - November 2, 2017

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association was saddened by passing of former chuckwagon driver and outrider Oris Lyster on Thursday, November 2, 2017 from natural causes at the age of 91 years.

Oris Lyster came to the Calgary Stampede for the first time in 1945 as an outrider for chuckwagon driver Alvan Hilker. With one run to go, the Alvan Hilker outfit was having a great week sitting 3rd overall, but quite a ways back of leaders Johnnie Swain and Jack Lauder. That year was one of the most unusual finishes in Rangeland Derby history as three wagons piled up in the final heat on the final night thus handing the championship to Alvan Hilker. It was the first Calgary Stampede that Oris would celebrate and did it along side three of his brothers - Argyll, Erwin and Jack – who were four of the five outriders used by Alvan Hilker that year.

It took nine years before Oris would stand on stage again as a Calgary Stampede champion. In 1954 he was an outrider on the Commodore Allen outfit driven by Hank Willard. It was Hank Willard’s record tying 4th consecutive Rangeland Derby championship, and the third for his sponsor Commodore Allen which gave him permanent ownership of the coveted Gas Company Trophy by Charles Biel.

In 1957 Oris tried his hand as a chuckwagon driver, handling the TH Ranch outfit as a replacement driver for his brother Argyll. His first year driving was almost as unusual as his first year outriding. For the first time in the history of the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races, a re-run of a race was scheduled between Ronnie Glass, Hank Willard and Oris. However, a late protest from the other drivers had the judges reconsider the decision and the re-run never happened.

Oris never again competed as a driver in the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races, but continued on as an outrider. He found the winners circle again in 1960 and again in 1961 with the Hally Walgenbach driven Orville Burkinshaw outfit. As odd and unusual things seem to follow Oris, the 1961 championship was also the first, and only time, the Rangeland Derby Championship would be shared as the Orville Burkinshaw outfit would end up tied with the Dale Flett driven Peter Bawden Outfit.

1964 would be Oris’ final year as a competitor at the Calgary Stampede. After 20 years his career came to an end as it started – with a victory in the Rangeland Derby as an outrider with the Pratt & MacKay outfit driven by Hally Walgenbach. His final victory was somewhat uneventful in contrast to some of his other memorable moments at the Calgary Stampede as the Pratt & MacKay outfit won the championship by a considerable margin.

By the time Oris Lyster’s ended, it had come full circle. He started with a Calgary Stampede championship in 1945 and ended with one twenty years later in 1964. Five Calgary Stampede championships for three different drivers, puts Oris Lyster among one of the most decorated outriders of his time and all-time. In 2010 Oris was honored by the Calgary Stampede with its Pioneers of Rodeo Award.

Oris is survived by his loving family: daughters Laurie Lyster-Squance of Quesnel and Twyla (Gene) Stuckey of Red Willow; grandchildren: Brent (Kim) Lyster of Blackfalds and their children Abby and Tatum, Dallas Stuckey (Charles Balderson) of Beiseker and Lane Stuckey of Red Willow; brothers Ivor Lyster and Lyle Lyster; sisters in law Elaine Deringer, Audrey Lyster and Lil Lyster; numerous nieces, nephews, other family and dear friends.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00pm on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Stettler Funeral Home in Stettler, Alberta. Donations in memory of Oris are gratefully accepted to the Red Willow Cemetery Club.

Oris will be missed by all in the WPCA, and we extend our sincere condolences to the Lyster family.

Billy Melville

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