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WPCA Saddened By The Loss Of Former Chuckwagon Driver Stu Napper

Stu Napper
November 26, 1939 - April 24, 2023
Receiving The Rangeland Derby's Safety Award At The 1999 Calgary Stampede
Photo Courtesy of Billy Melville Collection

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association is grieving the loss of former chuckwagon driver Stu Napper on Monday, April 24, 2023 at the age of 83.

Stu began his career in the late 1960's as an outrider while at the same time he was driving thoroughbred chariots and was actively involved in the flat racing circuit. After two years Stu made the move from outriding to driving and started racing throughout northwestern Saskatchewan and northeast Alberta. When the Northern Chuckwagon Racing Association (NCRA) - the predecessor of the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) was founded in 1975, Stu became a founding member. 

In 1979 Stu 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 Rangeland Derby for 16 years and in 1990 he made his lone appearance the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

In 1981, Stu won the consolation races at the Calgary Stampede, and at the 1983 Calgary Stampede, after a tough opening night, Stu found himself running for day money only, but cracked the top ten five times in the next nine nights, with four of those runs placing inside the top five. He was the 8th highest money winner at the Rangeland Derby that year. During his time at the Calgary Stampede, Stu cracked the top the top ten twenty-three times, and in 1999, Stu placed eighth overall and won the Calgary Stampede Safety Award - the only driver that year to go penalty free over the first nine nights.

Stu was the CPCA's Most Sportmanlike Driver a staggering eleven times throughout his career, and along with his wife Marilyn and son Cody, were the recipients of the CPCA's Family of the Year in 2003. He set track records at the Wainwright Stampede in 1990 and another at the Melfort Chuckwagon Championship in 2003, which held up until after his retirement which was at the Calgary Stampede in 2004.

Stu Napper had a very distinguished 35 year career in chuckwagon racing both on and off the racetrack. As a founding member of the CPCA, Stu saw the Association transition from the Northern Chuckwagon Racing Association (NCRA), to the Northern Professional Chuckwagon Association (NPCA) and into the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA). Although he never ran with the WPCA, he competed alongside many WPCA members during his 16 appearances at the Calgary Stampede.

Stuart was predeceased by: his mother, Ethel in 1986; father, Garnet in 1987; brother, Gary in 1984; brother, Murray in 2011; and brother, Bobby in 2018.

Stuart is survived by: his wife, Marilyn; son, Cody (Karen) and their three children, Lincoln, Ellie and Lane; and sister, Sandra.

The family would like to invite everyone to come help us celebrate Stu's life on Tuesday, May 2 at 2:00 PM at the Lashburn Sportsplex, Lashburn, Saskatchewan.

Donations in memory of Stu may be made to Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation or donor's charity of choice.

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

Billy Melville

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