On a sunny Saturday afternoon during the winter, people take part in a number of different activities. If you're 2012 Calgary Stampede Champion Troy Dorchester,
you will be driving new thoroughbred horses to get ready for the 2020 WPCA Pro Tour Presented by GMC.
For Troy Dorchester 2012 was a career year. He was chuckwagon racing's first modern day "Triple Crown" champion after winning the Ponoka Stampede, Calgary Stampede Aggregate and the Calgary Stampede GMC Rangleland Derby Championship Dash all in the same year.
Those results are starting to distance themselves from the future so Dorchester isn't waiting until spring to get at it.
"When it's nice and sunny we might as well get out and drive some horses" says Dorchester, "you never know how many training days you will lose in the spring from bad weather and if you're going to be competitive in the WPCA you need to take advantage of every nice day you can."
In 2013 Troy finished 9th in the WPCA standings then came back in 2014 to finish 6th. The next five years he cracked the top 20 in the year end standings only once and his 26th place finish in 2019 was his lowest since 1995. "Sometimes us drivers should probably have a personal psychologist" laughs Troy, "Some days you really question what's going."
Tired of not being among the top half of the WPCA standings Troy looked to some fellow drivers for opinions during the 2019 Century Downs
World Finals and they found the seals on the inside and outside of the wheel hubs to be too tight causing the wheels to grab and not turn smoothly. "I had no run" said Troy, "At first you think maybe there is a virus among the herd then you look out in the pen and the horses are healthy, happy and running around."
According to Troy, his wife suggested changing his wagon during the halfway point of the season but he was too stubborn to listen.
Along with fixing his wagon issues, Troy has 28 horses in his herd including "Confidentiality" a new horse he picked up in the off season. Nicknamed "Scruffy" the 5 year old Ontario bred gelding won over $85,000.00US in just 15 races before he retired from racing. His impressive bloodlines include his grandsire (grandfather) "Sunday Silence " who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness races then just missed out on winning the Triple Crown when he finished 2nd to Easy Goer a Kentucky bred who went on to be a Hall of Fame horse.
"When we first saw the horse come off the trailer he looked scruffy so the nickname has stuck" says Troy, "We fed him all winter, got his weight back up now he's looking good and driving nice."
Woodbine Race Track
The last 4 years Troy has been in a rebuilding pattern and has retired 5 of the horses from is 2012 winning season. " My uncle Dallas used to always say you would have a good outfit for 3-5 years then will need to rebuild or make changes."
For 10 years from 1998 - 2011 Troy had a great sponsor who was involved with sponsorship and buying horses. "I can't buy the same quality of horses as he was so it makes it tougher to stay in the top half of the tour as well." Says Troy.
Troy Dorchester along with 35 of the worlds best chuckwagon drivers and equine athletes will continue to prepare for the 2020 WPCA Pro Tour Presented by GMC which kicks off later in May.