CPCA recognizes Mick and Carmen Nolin

by Terry Villeneuve

Rapid View’s Mick and Carmen Nolin say the award presented to them Oct. 20 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the chuckwagon racing way of life was unexpected.

“It’s a first for an outrider to win the Family of the Year award,” said Mick, an outrider on the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association circuit the last 10 years. “It’s always been a wagon driver’s family and that’s probably because he packs so many family and friends and barn help with them – it looks more like a family.”

Despite their modesty, Carmen notes the husband and wife duo have different roles during the summer wagon season.

“I help Vern (Nolin). I’m his backup driver, but I also help out in the barn and take care of my two kids who are age two and five,” she said. “I’ve been around wagons all my life – my dad’s Brian Laboucane. This year, my mom and I and some other women started a Women of the Wagons group, so I think that played into it a bit too. It’s a big honour… it was a real surprise.”
Being an outrider, Mick has a lot to do with different camps, instead of just one.

“That is our life in the summertime and when you’re recognized by fellow competitors, well, that just kind of blew us away. I outride every heat, every night. I have a list of guys I ride for in a certain order. It’s Shane (Nolin) first, then Vern, Ross Knight, Layne Bremner and on and on down the line,” Mick added.

Mick was a double-winner at the year-end banquet as he also received the champion outrider award.

“Casey (Knight) and I, we stayed pretty tight all year in the standings. It was nice to win it and it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings if one of the other guys would’ve won, but I’ve been after it for a lot of years,” he said. “Three and four years ago, I was second and the last two years I was third.”

Each outrider receives points throughout the season, similar to the wagon drivers and are tabulated soon after each competition.

It was mostly a two-way race all season long as Mick had 5,360.5 points in the end to Knight’s 5,055.

Highlights on the year for both Mick and Carmen include being part of Vern Nolin’s Canadian Championship team as well as competing at the Calgary Stampede.

“This year I got to ride in the ($100,000) dash behind Gary Gorst,” said Mick. “I rode for Gary all last year, so when it came to the qualifying night I rode for him and then again for the dash.

I thought it was just all kosher and normal and thought I had it all figured out, until that race. That’s kind of a different game out there. It went good.”

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