Champion Outrider Chance Flad To Make Driving Debut In Strathmore

Chance Flad - Will Drive His First Race On August 3, 2018 AT The Strathmore Stampede

WPCA Outrider Chance Flad will be the new wagon driver replacing the retired Rick Fraser starting with the Strathmore Heritage Days. Chance has been thinking about getting into the driving side of the sport for a few years and decided this was a good time to give it a try. As per the WPCA rulebook, Chance will start with one point less than the driver currently in 36th place. As a result, he starts with 128 points.

Chance says his interest in driving has developed over the last couple years and Doug Irvine has been encouraging him by letting him drive when he heads up to help him in the Spring and again during the season when they hook horses in the morning. Chance has always had a few horses over the years with the idea of driving someday. Some were driving horses and some were outriding horses. He currently has a few at Doug’s farm with the Irvine horses. Doug will be supplying Chance with horses for the remainder of the season. But, Chance says he has also had a lot of offers and support for horses and supplies from various drivers, which has been very encouraging.

Chance comes from a wagon family as he is related to the late Herman Flad and current drivers Troy and Darcy Flad. Chance first got involved in the wagon community when he met Doug and Jimmi Lou Irvine at the age of 11 when he was wild pony racing at the Ponoka Stampede. He then started walking horses for them that year at the Calgary Stampede. 

The next year, Chance ended up working as a barn hand for Doug. During spring training, his parents would take him up to Bonnyville where he would stay for the weekend and help and learn.

When Chance first met the Irvine’s, Doug kept telling him he should start outriding. Those were powerful, inspirational and motivational words coming from a driver young Chance idolized and who was also a former top outrider before turning to driving full time. Chance started jumping horses at their place in Bonnyville when he was about 12 or 13. 

His first show was on the biggest stage in wagon racing on the last day of the Calgary Stampede with Doug in 2007 when he was 15. Chance started outriding full time in the WPCA at the age of 16 and has gone on to great success. He has three World Champion Outrider titles, five Ponoka Stampede, four Calgary Stampede Aggregate and three Rangeland Derby titles on his resume. He was the 2008 Rookie of the Year and 2009 Most Improved Outrider.

Chance now gets an opportunity to do some of the same mentoring Doug did for him as 9 year old Britton can often be found with Chance and on a horse. Chance says he has known all three Irvine kids since they were born. As for Britt, Chance thinks he will end up being the barn boss and letting him know what he can and cannot hook and what position they should be in. Chance says if it was possible Britt would be outriding for Doug and Chance now. 

Chance hasn’t decided what he will end up doing for next year in terms of driving, as he is focused on seeing how the last three shows go and make a decision from there.

Ed Wittchen