Covid-19 restrictions are expected to be in place in some form during the 2021 World Professional Chuckwagon Association race season and the WPCA will be ready.
January 26th marked 4 months until the first scheduled race of the 2021 WPCA Pro Tour. After causing the cancelation of the 2020 race season, Covid-19 continues to negatively affect people in many areas and creates extensive challenges for live event organizers looking to host their annual spring and summer outdoor events.
In an effort to stay aligned with host committees, the WPCA has developed a scenario planning strategy and is collaborating with WPCA race committees to establish a road map that will assist with the decision making process on what is attainable at each show based on Covid-19 restrictions and live attendance numbers.
On February 2, 2021, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney along with Dr. Deena Hinshaw communicated that a Covid-19 framework for live events is expected to be provided to organizers by the end of February.
"We understand something is required for planning purposes" said Hinshaw, "I will say that this summer will not be the same as we may have seen two summers ago, so planning does need to take into account that we will still need some kind of restrictions."
While Premier Kenney says it's unlikely they will be able to provide definitive guidance for the big events by the end of February, having some kind of understanding on what is required to host events is a step in the right direction.
Developing and following health and safety guidelines is not new to the WPCA. Programs and policies for both humans and horses related to health and safety have long been a major part of the WPCA's focus and mandate including a detailed Fitness to Compete Program and Horse Care guidelines for the thoroughbred horses.
In preparation for the upcoming race season and to ensure all safety measures and restrictions related to Covid-19 are understood and implemented, the WPCA has established a Covid-19 committee within the association. The WPCA Covid-19 committee will work closely with the host committees and WPCA members to ensure WPCA races can be run safely and within the Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.
Like many live outdoor events, chuckwagon racing relies on ticket sales and sponsorship revenue to operate and Covid-19 restrictions on attendance numbers could affect both in 2021.
When the 2020 race season was officially canceled last April, one concern was the financial impact chuckwagon drivers would face with no race related revenue coming in. With over 1000 horses owned by WPCA drivers requiring feed and care it was estimated that WPCA drivers would collectively be required to invest over $1Million dollars between May 1, 2020 and the first scheduled race in May of 2021.
With that in mind, you can be guaranteed the WPCA is committed and will do everything possible to have safe and successful race season.