CPCA finals underway
by Phil Ambroziak
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. That’s why Lloydminster driver BJ Carey was keeping an open mind heading into this week’s Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) finals in Lloydminster.
“I’ve got to stay in there, but there’s still four days of racing to go before we get to that final race on Sunday,” Carey remarked when contacted yesterday afternoon (Aug. 12).
The finals were scheduled to get underway last night with the championship dash to determine this year’s CPCA Canadian Champion set for Sunday afternoon. Following last weekend’s races in Turtleford, Carey jumped from sixth overall in the CPCA driver standings to fourth place. The top four drivers come Sunday will race for the championship.
“I have my work cut out for me,” Carey continued. “I have to run clean, I have to run smart and I have to run hard.”
The last two times Carey made it to the championship race, 2012 and 2013 respectively, he actually crossed the finish line first, but failed to win the title because of penalties. He said it would mean a lot to him, his crew, his family and his friends if he could qualify once again.
“It would be big,” he said. “The season as a whole has been a bit of a roller coaster for me this year. It seems, whenever I’m doing well, each week there’s some kind of fluke. But, everyone’s healthy and I have the horsepower to do it. I just need to have lady luck on my side.”
Heading into Lloydminster, Loon Lake driver Ray Mitsuing still had a firm grip on the top spot in the standings with 560.5 points. He was followed by Kris Molle of Chauvin, AB – the winner of the Turtleford event – with 541, Wayne Knight of St. Walburg with 499.5 and Carey with 496.5 points. Layne Bremner of Rapid View is fifth with 495 while last year’s Canadian Champion, Vern Nolin of Dewberry, AB, sits in sixth place with 491.5 points.
Carey said all drivers will be giving it their all this week.
“It’s a long track in Lloydminster,” he said. “Everyone will just have to drive their hardest.”
Whoever qualifies for the championship dash will select the barrel they want to race from based on who has the most points.
“Chances are I’ll end up with the number four barrel, but anything can happen,” Carey noted. “In 2012 I ran from the number two barrel and won the race, but lost points because I had an outrider horse break down. The next year, I ran from barrel number one but pretty well fell out of my wagon and rolled over the barrel.”
Meanwhile, Carey also hopes he’ll have the opportunity to compete at the 2016 Calgary Stampede. Recently, the top 16 drivers from the 2014 Calgary Stampede (CPCA and World Professional Chuckwagon Association) automatically qualified for this year’s event. They were joined by a select number of additional top drivers from each association. However, rumours circulating this year suggest drivers will compete at the 2016 Stampede on an invite-only basis.
“Nothing official has been released yet, but there have been meetings last week and this week,” Carey stated. “Hopefully something is released by the end of this weekend.”