Twenty-odd years of chuckwagon racing all boiled down to one pivotal rodeo moment for Lincoln Douglas this summer. He had made it to the Calgary Stampede, with his team of thoroughbreds and nerves of steel.
Lincoln Douglas, the only man from B.C. to command a team of horses on the Western Professional Chuckwagon Association.
It’s a tough sport to get into, even harder to succeed in, and the Calgary Stampede is the pinnacle of the grueling rodeo circuit.
“Everybody wants to go there,” Douglas told the Observer, through a phone interview from his travel trailer.
And he got there, winning a $70,000 sponsorship in the process.
But at the end of the day, a series of troubles left Douglas at the bottom of the scoreboard.
“This year I had a lot of horse injuries,” he said. “Some of my good horses are out and of course, I have to put new ones in.”
He’s also down one man, traveling shorthanded for the rest of the circuit, which wraps up next week.
And then, at the Stampede, one of his horses was injured.
“He got caught up over a rope and cut his leg up,” Douglas said.
When it was all said and done, after 10 days of racing, he placed 35th.
This is his fourth year with the WPCA, and that followed 17 years of racing pony chuckwagons.
It’s been a long haul for the Rosedale-based driver. He’s got a busy enough schedule back home, running his business K & L Contracting. He’s also currently Chief of the Cheam Band, a job he juggles while on the road with the help of his family and the rest of the band council and staff. It’s not always easy, he said.
“It would be hard to quit after 20 years,” he said, but admitted there is a chance he may change pace next year. Does that mean quitting chuckwagons altogether?
“I am thinking of trying something different,” he answered. “I’m looking at either taking a year off and just running the Westerns, or maybe I’ll buy a fishing boat. I love this sport and I love driving horses, but it’s getting pretty expensive.”
Driving chuckwagons cost him $100,000 last year alone, he said.
It wouldn’t be the end of horses for Douglas, or his wife Sandy. She’s a rodeo girl in her own right, as a barrel racer, and he also races horses at Hastings.
You can catch up on Douglas’ journey with the WPCA by visiting www.halfmileofhell.com.