There are many names within chuckwagon history you can recognize and have instant memories about without hesitation: Bensmiller, Sutherland, Glass, Dorchester just to name a few. But you can't mention those names without bringing up Flad as well. The Flad's have been racing for decades and they'll continue to do so this season and into the future.
Troy Flad has been racing wagons in the WPCA since 1996. He first started racing in the CPCA in 1991. Like any change, moving from one association to the other had its fair share of differences and challenges. "The travel is much different," Flad explains. "(In the WPCA) you go through a tank full of fuel every time you hit the key on the big truck. But over in the Canadian (Association), some guys could run the whole summer on one tank of fuel." Of course, travel takes its toll on many drivers, their horses, family, and barn hands, so it's understandable how much of a difference it is.
A few other notable differences Flad mentioned are they run at larger centers, races are broadcasted to a lot more people and bigger crowds are watching each night.
Admittedly Flad hasn't had the wins roll in like he'd hoped for. But in 2019 he made great strides to become a legitimate contender. He had a handful of top 10 finishes, made the top five twice and even finished fourth at the Century Downs "WINNERS ZONE" World Finals.
Flad also admitted his focus hasn't necessarily been on racing but what's going to happen after his driving career is over. "I've been focusing on building a family and a farm. Once chuckwagon racing is over, I love farming. I love being in my 4-wheel drive. I absolutely love being out on that land, smelling that ground." But don't take this the wrong way... Flad will still be charging hard once the first horn goes in Grande Prairie. He wants to win or be in the top 10 each show and with his momentum from last year, there's no doubt he can accomplish his goal.
As previously mentioned, the Flad's have been in the chuckwagon business for a long time. His father is former Calgary Stampede Champion, Herman Flad (Photo Below). When Herman won the Rangeland Derby in 1980, Troy was only five years old. So what exactly does he remember from his Dad's big win? As much as you'd expect from a five-year-old. "I remember having a babysitter and when Dad won," describes Flad. "I mean I didn't fully understand it of course. But when we saw Dad on the stage, she didn't let me go see him!"
Since Troy's career has spanned back almost 30 years, he had the opportunity to race against many legends including his Dad and Orville Strandquist. As Flad was an up and comer to the sport, he would often be in the same heats as Strandquist. "I raced with Orville a lot. I was beginning my career and he was ending his career. So it was definitely pretty equal, lots of battles back and forth," Flad remembers. "He was a very good guy to me when I was racing." Flad continues on to talk about racing with his Dad. "Once I started to run a little better, probably the last five years, I ran with my Dad an awful lot. I've got pictures of him and me in the same races. There are just so many good memories."
Flad is a true gentleman. As we await with hope and optimism for word on the status of the season, he wants to acknowledge and thank all the fans and sponsors who support not only him and his team but to everyone involved with the sport.
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