Vern Nolin collects top CPCA prize

2014 Year-End Champion Vern Nolin (far right) accepts his third straight CPCA championship trophy Nov. 1 alongside outriders (left to right) Chance Bensmiller, Brett Nolin and Mick Nolin.

2014 Year-End Champion Vern Nolin (far right) accepts his third straight CPCA championship trophy Nov. 1 alongside outriders (left to right) Chance Bensmiller, Brett Nolin and Mick Nolin.

by Derek Cornet

Vern Nolin, formerly of Rapid View, but who now calls Dewberry AB home, stood tall and proud on Saturday evening in Lloydminster as he accepted the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association’s (CPCA) Canadian Championship trophy – his  third consecutive title.

“The list is long of people who get you down the road and help train horses and help on the weekends,” Nolin said in his acceptance speech. “There’s a lot more than just the driver. It’s a team effort and it takes a team to win.”

Up on stage, Nolin was shoulder to shoulder with outriders Mick Nolin, Brett Nolin and Chance Bensmiller. He said it’s uncommon to hold the title three years in a row, noting there’s a lot of tough outfits and the competition has been steadily intensifying in recent years.

In August, Nolin secured the title when he crossed the finish line in second place, but because his brother Shane’s outfit tipped a barrel in the infield, Vern was declared the winner in the sudden death championship heat.

“I bring my whole crew to the banquet – the people who help me out during the summer,” he said. “We wine and dine them and show them our appreciation.”

Nolin is one of 10 CPCA drivers heading to next year’s Calgary Stampede. Among them is 12-year veteran Dallas Dyck of Dewberry. Formerly from Meadow Lake, Dyck will be making his first appearance in Calgary in 2015 finishing the past season with 597 points for eighth place overall.

“Last year, I decided I wasn’t going to outride, I was only going to drive and it showed because I did way better,” Dyck said. “I’m pretty happy. It’s been a long time coming for me and my wife. We put a lot of money to be where we are today and it finally paid off.”

In order to get ready for the Calgary Stampede, Dyck said, like any other year, he’d buy new horses to improve his outfit.

Meadow Lake’s Logan Pethick received the most improved outrider award, which was presented in memory of Chester Gorst. Pethick said he knew Gorst well, noting he was a barn hand for Ross Fisher, who was Gorst’s son-in-law.

“I had the pleasure of travelling with him (Gorst) for the past six summers,” he said.
This past season marked Pethick’s fourth year as an outrider. He added it was a good year, winning two shows, a dash and also rode in Calgary. Pethick attributed his success to training harder in the spring and riding more horses.

He also said he wasn’t able to complete the full season last year due to an injury. Pethick said outriding is an adrenaline rush and he enjoys the competition.

The banquet also marked the end to Brian Laboucane’s 44-year chuckwagon career. The St. Walburg resident, along with his wife, Brenda, was given a standing ovation when gifted with a clock with the phrase “CPCA Legend” engraved on it. In his speech, Laboucane thanked the association and all the people who helped him throughout the years.

“It’s your association, young people,” he said. “You’re doing a great job at growing it and it’s getting bigger and better. Keep going and grow it from where we started back in 1973.”

Laboucane added the outlook for the association had been grim at one point, but he’s happy to see more people have joined or are returning to the CPCA.

“The CPCA is currently growing by leaps and bounds,” he said.

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