WPCA Awards Gala Honors Those Who Achieved Greatness In 2016

2016 World Champion Chuckwagon Driver Luke Tournier (C) proudly accepts the keys to a GMC Truck, a gold and silver trophy buckle and a beautiful bronze trophy from (L-R): Greg Vogel from Summit Fleet, Michelle Tournier, Christa Paterson from GMC and WPCA General Manager Tom Barrow.
Photo By Fred Vidiuk

A night of celebration took take place at the Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary with the 36th annual World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) Awards Gala that honored those who achieved greatness this past season, as well as those who have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the most exciting professional sport in the world today. The evening was a tremendous success, with one of the highlights being the video presentations highlighting the 2016 season and all the champions were well received by a near capacity crowd.

As well, the WPCA remembered those who "went west" over the past year which included active supporter Bruce Larway, former chuckwagon drivers Don Chapin and Fred Weisenburger, and chuckwagon judges Bill Vipond and Bob Pollitt.

2016 World Champion Outrider Chance Flad (L) receives a trophy buckle from Randy Cripps (R) of Bush Ape Supervision.
Photo By Fred Vidiuk

Luke Tournier was the top honoree this year as he captured the 2016 World Chuckwagon Championship for the 1st time in his illustrious career, and Chance Flad was the 2016 World Champion Outrider for the third consecutive year. 

The 2016 "Jim Bottomley Trophy" for WPCA Chuckwagon Person of the Year
was presented to Reg Willick (R) by WPCA President Ed Wittchen.

Photo By Fred Vidiuk

The Jim Bottomley Trophy given to the WPCA Chuckwagon Person of the Year is the WPCA’s highest annual honor. This year’s recipient being longtime chuckwagon supporter Reg Willick receiving the prestigious award.

2016 WPCA Top Rookie Driver Cody Fraser (L) receives a trophy buckle from
Greg Hitchner (R) of Olson Silver Company.

Photo By Ed Wittchen

The WPCA Special Tribute was given to former World and 3-time Ponoka Stampede Champion Reg Johnstone. Chad Fike received the Herman Flad Memorial Award for Most Improved Driver Award, while Dayton Sutherland received the Rod Glass Memorial Award for Most Improved Outrider.  Cody Fraser was named the WPCA's Top Rookie Driver, and Ethan Motowylo was named the WPCA Top Rookie Outrider. Dustin Gorst was the winner of the WPCA Clean Drive Award for taking just 4 penalty seconds all season long.

Outrider Eddie Melville (R), from Import Tool Corp. Ltd., presents the 2016 Equine Outfit of Excellence Awards to (L-R): Luke Tournier on behalf of his horse "BROCK," Colt Cosgrave on behalf of his horse “CUJO,” John Walters on behalf of his horse "DORCHY," Doug Irvine on behalf of his horse "GAGE," Codey McCurrach on behalf of his horse "WINO," and Gary Gorst on behalf of his horse “TOMMY.”
Photo By Ed Wittchen

The horses also shared in the awards through the WPCA Equine Outfit of Excellence. Colt Cosgrave’s “CUJO” was named the champion Right Leader, Doug Irvine's "GAGE" was named the champion Left Leader, Gary Gorst's “TOMMY” was named the champion Right Wheeler and John Walters' "DORCHY" was named the champion Left Wheeler. The champion Outriding Horses were Luke Tournier’s "BROCK" and Codey McCurrach's "WINO."

WPCA General Manager Tom Barrow (L) presents a 2016 WPCA Active Supporter Award to Merv Pidherney (C) and his wife Earlyne (R).
Photo By Ed Wittchen

Other award winners included Merv Pidherney, Happy Trails RV and TrailBlazer RV Centre who each received a WPCA Active Supporter Award, the Grande Prairie Stompede received the WPCA Top Race Committee Award for the second consecutive year, Bryan Hebson and Tom Barrow who brought live chuckwagon racing and interviews to fans through Livestream on Facebook received the WPCA Media Award, Lisa Bensmiller received the Ty Tournier Memorial Award, and WPCA Merchandise Manager Ken Malvin again mad a special cash presentation to families affected by the  fires in Fort McMurray.

The event, hosted by track announcer Les McIntyre was a tremendous success, and congratulations to all the 2016 champions and award winners.

Billy Melville

GMC 2017