Kelly Sutherland says after this season, he will retire from chuckwagon racing. This will mark his 50th year in a wagon box.
We asked him what he remembered about his first race 50 years ago in Dawson Creek.
“When I got on the seat, I mean, everything was pretty much a blur until I got back to the barn. I was just a young kid, so it was every emotion I could imagine from fear to adrenaline rush. The adrenaline part, you know, kind of hooked me, it was just so much power with horses.”
He adds it was not a hard decision to decide to give up racing.
“I’m 65 years old and I think it’s time. I’ve had a stellar career and (I’ll) try to win it this year and that’ll be enough for me. I find it harder every year to stay in shape.”
He will get to compete against grandson Dayton on the WPCA circuit this year.
“It’s going to be kind of (a) special year for me, at least I get one year racing with my grandson. We’ll see if he’s tough enough to carry the tradition on.”
Sutherland also raced against three generations of the Glass family, Ron, Tom and Jason.
He says one thing he will remember most about his career was winning the Calgary Stampede for the first time at age 22. The next thing that stands out is breaking Dick Cosgrave’s record of winning 10 times in Calgary. Kelly has won in Cowtown 12 times. He has also been World Chuckwagon Champion a dozen times.
The WPCA tarp auction is set for tonight at Maddhatter’s in Grande Prairie and VJV Auction Mart in Dawson Creek. Reception starts at 5:00, the sale at 6:00.