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WPCA Grieving The Loss Of Former Chuckwagon Competitor Jim Knight

Jim Knight
June 10, 1956 - September 19, 2022
Receiving The Prestigious Guy Weadick Award At The 2002 Calgary Stampede
Photo Courtesy of Billy Melville Collection

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association is grieving the loss of former chuckwagon driver Jim Knight on Monday, September 19, 2022, after a lengthy battle with diabetes, at the age of 66.

A second generation chuckwagon man, Jim's uncle - Cliff Knight - started the Knight family chuckwagon racing tradition in the mid 1960's when he purchased his first chuckwagon outfit. A few years later, 15 year old Jim Knight started his chuckwagon career as an outrider in in 1972. Five years later Jim moved up into the wagon box, and began competing as a chuckwagon driver in 1977 with the Northern Chuckwagon Racing Association (NCRA) - the predecessor of the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA). By the end of his first season, Jim was named the NCRA's Top Rookie Driver for 1977.

In 1979 Jim made his first start at the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby, and was one of the original participants in the 1st ever chuckwagon canvas auction. He competed at the Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby for 35 years of which the first 33 were consecutive. At the time, Jim and Buddy Bensmiller had the longest consecutive streak of Calgary Stampede appearances by an active competitor. In 1983, Jim made his first of ten appearances at the Cheyenne Frontier Days as well.

In 2002, Jim became just the fifth chuckwagon driver to receive the Calgary Stampede's prestigious Guy Weadick Award, which is presented annually to the one Chuckwagon or Rodeo competitor who best embodies what the cowboy stands for, and who best typifies the spirit of the Calgary Stampede. It is based upon ability, appearance, showmanship, character, sportsmanship and cooperation with other cowboys, the arena crew, the media and the public. In 2005, Jim won the second round of the Rangeland Derby, and at the 2009 Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Canvas Auction, Jim's tarp sold for the second highest price behind Kelly Sutherland - the only two tarps to sell over $100,000.00 at the Calgary Stampede that year. He drove at the Calgary for the last time in 2016, giving him the distinction of being one of the few chuckwagon drivers to compete at the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby in 5 decades.

In 1997 Jim won the Grand Centre Championship, the Loon Lake Championship in 2001, and in 2006 Jim celebrated his 50th birthday with a victory at the Cold Lake Championship with the one of the few perfect shows in chuckwagon racing history  - three day money runs in three days. Jim qualified for the championship final heat for the CPCA Championship in 2005 and 2006, and received the CPCA Award for Excellence in Corporate Involvement in 2001.

Jim spent the first 38 years of his career as a chuckwagon driver with the CPCA, placing in the top ten in the CPCA standings 18 times, including three times in which he placed inside the top five. He had a streak of nine consecutive years inside the top ten between 2002 and 2010, with a second place overall finish in 2005 being his career best. In 2015 Jim left the CPCA to compete on the WPCA Pro Tour, and after four seasons retired from active competition after the 2018 season.

Jim Knight had a very distinguished 47 year career in chuckwagon racing both on and off the racetrack. He competed at nearly all of chuckwagon racing's most storied events, and sat on the CPCA Board of Directors for a number of years and saw the Association transition from the Northern Chuckwagon Racing Association (NCRA), to the Northern Professional Chuckwagon Association (NPCA) into the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA). Jim was nominated for the Guy Weadick Award for five consecutive years (1998-2002), owning to Jim's legacy as an outstanding competitor and individual. He was a mentor and an inspiration to many chuckwagon competitors over his lengthy career. 

Jim is survived by; his three children Chad, Nicole (Jeff), Chantal; his four grandchildren Taysia, Axlyn, Cage, and Halstyn; his brothers Bill, Bob (Karen), and Ross (Gail); his niece Carlee, nephews Casey, Mitchell, and David; all the extended families and many special friends.

Funeral services for Jim Knight will be a grave side service on October 1st, 2022, at 2:00 pm at the St. Walburg Cemetery in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, followed by a social at the Elks St. Walburg Community Hall, 521-4th St E, St. Walburg, Saskatchewan. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Jim will be missed by all in the WPCA, and we extend our sincere condolences to the Knight family.

Billy Melville

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