Calgary Stampede’s Chuckwagon Race, a half-mile of hell says Chuckwagon Association

Ever heard that saying, two wrongs don’t make a right? Listen to these excuses for killing horses in Canada’s chuckwagon race.

And where are the good people of Canada? Sitting in the stands watching I suppose.

No point saying how much you hate it when it wouldn’t go on at all if you didn’t buy tickets.

Your presence makes a clear statement that you enjoy seeing the “excitement” of horses injured and killed in the collisions. And you are just happy but eager to pay for the privilege of witnessing such spectacles.

“Chuckwagon racing was quite a bit more exciting in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Stan Church, the Chuckwagon Safety Commissioner of the Stampede.

“A lot of people were disappointed if at least one wagon didn’t roll over. So over the years, it’s been a progression. It’s much safer now – much safer for the drivers too.”

“As long as you’re going to have horses running, whether it be on a racetrack or the chuckwagons, there’s going to be some fatalities,” said Church.

“Just like if you own horses, they’re running out in the field, horses will step in a hole and break their own leg.”

“Humans are involved [in the races] so we can’t make it accident free. It’s our job to make sure we do it the safest way possible.”

And listen to this nonsense.

Church argues fewer horses die as a result of the chuckwagon races than in thoroughbred racing.

A 2012 New York Times investigation found about three horses die every day on US race tracks, but the number of horses in chuckwagon races is far smaller than those in thoroughbred racing.

Horse racing occurs somewhere in the U.S. virtually every day. Chuckwagon races are conducted over several days.

Plus you do not want to compare your death ridden business to the horse racing business that abuses, dopes, maims and kills horses as a matter of routine, probably on a daily basis. And like these guys, totally unapologetic. It’s part of the game. Get over it.

Church is just a barrel of laughs isn’t he? Listen to this. This guy could write a book on lame excuses.

And the majority of chuckwagon horses are retired thoroughbred racers.

“It’s a sport that provides another use for these thoroughbred horses after they’re finished with their career on the racetrack.” Church says.

“Race horses are born and bred to run, so if you didn’t race them, you wouldn’t raise them, they wouldn’t exist, (sic)”

Come on. Racehorses are lucky to survive racing at all. And the ones that do certainly do not deserve to be subjected to these horrors. By theway, take a look at the ages of the horses who died in this year’s chuckwagon races.

A 10-year-old thoroughbred horse named Duke was competing in a chuckwagon race in this year’s Calgary Stampede when he collided with another team and broke his leg.

Shortly after, Duke was removed from the track and euthanised.

Two days later on the same track, nine-year-old Schuster’s Way was caught between two wagons and suffered the same fate.

Over the weekend, two horses – aged 13 and 16 – sustained leg injuries and were put down.

So they love these horses, treat them as their own children, the horses eat before they eat, and so forth. Then they add, you know, sh*t happens. It certainly does. And based on that, these folks would just have us suck it and go away.

Well, no, we aren’t going to suck it up and go away. Let grown ups do to one other whatever they want in the name of sport. But don’t subject children and animals to your ego driven maniacal events.

The statements we quote above are from an excellent BBC article which gives a lot of information we haven’t heard before, or at least not all in one place.

I don’t really care about how the event got started or why they do it. It’s something men thought up in an attempt to prove their manhood. If this is manhood — just as in rodeos — it is brutal and deadly.

Calgary Stampede Crash (Photo by Christina Ryan, Calgary Herald)
Three horses die when Chad Harden takes a fall during the fourth heat at the Rangeland Derby at Stampede Park on July 12, 2012. (Photo by Christina Ryan, Calgary Herald)

And it seems we at The Horse Fund are not alone. I leave you with this statement.

A total of 65 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races since 1986, an event the World Professional Chuckwagon Association calls “a half-mile of hell”.

Hell indeed.

Source: Calgary Stampede: Why horses die on the ‘half-mile of hell’, BBC News Canada, by Micah Luxen, 14 July 2015.


In 2010, more than 50 members of the UK Parliament signed a motion calling “on the Canadian government to take steps to end the immense cruelty to animals” at rodeos including the Calgary Stampede.

5 thoughts on “Calgary Stampede’s Chuckwagon Race, a half-mile of hell says Chuckwagon Association”

  1. we bitch and moan about how many people get killed or hurt in vehicle races but do we do anything about it.
    the horses love it to if they didn’t they would not be there


    1. Learn how to spell “to” in this context and, BTW, can you elaborate on the comment “horses love it to”? I’m calling BS and you know nothing.


  2. The cruelty laws are to protect our sensibilities from the offenses of the lesser. And in protecting us, we protect the innocents. It is way past time that all this yammering be set aside and definitive action be taken to put this alll behind us.


  3. It comes down to this really: how long are we going to stand by and watch the abuses that the ignorant and callous direct at the most powerful, sensitive, congenial and friend man has? To consider those horses, fully aware of the danger and fearful of their masters’ strength in whipping – complied to their own demise – is heart wrenching. When we as a society protect the innocent from the violence :e lesser of us treat them – we will all be at peace. The animals will reach their true role and humans will evolve. Keeping these horrible showings of the brutish “hordes” is holding us all back.

    Liked by 1 person

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