Equine Outfit of Excellence
While the champion breeding and bucking stock have been celebrated at the Calgary Stampede for years - some of the most remarkable horses have performed in the spotlight without formal recognition. With the launch of the Equine Outfit of Excellence program the chuckwagon horses are now getting their due. These awards annually recognize and reward the top six equine athletes at the GMC Rangeland Derby.
The original concept was conceived by outrider Eddie Melville, grandson of the late Orville Strandquist, and the program has been a part of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association since 2005. In 2013, the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Assocation has also implemented the program. Points will accumulate over the first eight nights of racing for horses on the five top wagons each night.
The Fitness to Compete program that the Stampede initiated in 2011 tracks chuckwagon horses each night they run using microchip technology. This way every horse can be accurately recorded for the nights they compete. By combining this record of racing with final racing standings each night, a compilation of each horse's individual points will be generated.
The six awards will be chosen for the racing positions of: Right Leader, Left Leader, Right Wheeler, Left Wheeler and finally two Outriding horses.
Once the final listings of points are available after night eight of racing, the winning horses will be named to the Outfit of Excellence.
Chuckwagon horses will be awarded first followed by the outrider horses. Once a position is filled, the driver who owns the selected horse is not eligible to have another horse named to any of the remaining positions. Tie-breaking criteria will help sort out the final Outfit of Excellence if necessary.
These deserving athletes will be celebrated with an onstage ceremony Saturday, July 11, 2015.