GRANDE PRAIRIE CHUCKWAGON HERITAGE FOUNDATION Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Since 2008, the Grande Prairie Chuckwagon Heritage Foundation (GPCHF) has been one of the most supportive groups in Chuckwagon racing. As anyone associated with chuckwagon racing knows, the operating expenses of a chuckwagon racing team and the care for upwards of 25-30 thoroughbreds is extensive.
Fundraising by the GPCHF has resulted in over $1Million dollars being invested back into prize money for drivers at the Grande Prairie Stompede event.
Here is their story....
It was while attending the 2008 Grande Prairie Stompede, local businessman; Justin Tidd came to realize that the Sunday Dash for Cash was only $10,000.00. He was the owner of Savage Oilfield Rentals Ltd and had attended the Stompede before, not only as a spectator, but as a Tarp Sponsor for WPCA Driver Lincoln Douglas. Justin knew the Dash for Cash had been as high as $50,000.00 in previous years.
Knowing the cost of running a business and imagining the costs for these drivers to run up and down the road to the various venues, Justin wondered if there was something he could do to make Sundays Dash more worthwhile for the drivers. After talking to a few of the venue officials, he decided to make some phone calls and see if there was enough interest to put some added funds into the Sunday Event. Within an afternoon he was able to get enough people interested to commit $20,000.00 in added funds for the 2008 Sunday Dash for Cash.
In the fall of 2008, Justin, along with a handful of likeminded fans, business people, and a couple WPCA wagon drivers met and as a result the Grande Prairie Chuckwagon Heritage Foundation was born. Justin became President.
The 2009 Stompede Sunday Dash for Cash (the first by the GPCHF) was $50,000.00. These dash funds went to the WPCA drivers only. The list of sponsors included many of those that formed the club and the rest of the sponsors looked like the accounts payable list of many of the GPCHF members. People they did business with were willing to support a worthwhile project that would work towards preserving the Western Heritage of the region while helping to sustain the sport of chuckwagon racing in the Grande Prairie area and the sport at large. After all, the funds put up by the GPCHF would go to only the drivers to help cover their costs of running up and down the road to the various venues and assist with the expenses related to caring for their horses.
The 2010 Stompede saw the Dash Money grow to $70,000.00 and the GPCHF added the WCA drivers Dash for Cash to their commitment. Happy Trails RV came on board as the Headline Sponsor for the WPCA and PeterLane Concrete for the Western Chuckwagon Assocation.
By 2013 the Sunday Dash for Cash at the Grande Prairie Stompede had grown to $125,000.00. Since then, the group has maintained the Sunday Dash for Cash at $125,000.00 for the Grande Prairie Stompede. As well, Dashes at the Teepee Creek Stampede, Rio Grande Rodeo and the Cranberry Lake rodeo in Debolt have become part of their commitment to the sport. The GPCHF has supported many non-profit projects in the area as well.
The success of the Grande Prairie Chuckwagon Heritage Foundation has continued. This has been due to the dedicated Sponsors they have been able to bring on board and the group of volunteers they have. They have managed to bring a new group of sponsors to the sport and their volunteers have worked together to make sure that these sponsors enjoy themselves not only at the rodeo venues but at the events they put on as well. The GPCHF now puts money into all three levels of wagon racing in their area. The WPCA, the WCA and the All Pro Chuckwagon and Chariot Association.
The 2018 Grande Prairie Stompede will mark the 10th year that the GPCHF and their Sponsors have worked together trying to preserve the Western Heritage and the sport of Chuckwagon Racing. To date over one million dollars has been put back to support the chuckwagon drivers from the group at the various venues. Again, the Grande Pairie Chuckwagon Heritage Foundation's expectations are high for the 2018 season.
The Grande Pairie Chuckwagon Heritage Foundation will begin their season on March 24, 2018 at the Five Mile Hall, just east of Grande Prairie, where they will hold their Annual Sponsor Appreciation Night.
Here they will say thank you and recognize their 10 year sponsors and volunteers. They are hoping to see a good representation from all the wagon groups and venues at this event.