Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice
|Aaaaand they're off!!!|
Esther Burpee photo
The idea is twofold. First, contestants have to make a harness and chariot that weighs no more than one pound that their chicken will be able to safely pull past the finish line. Second they have to convince their chicken to be the first clucker past the finish line with their wagon out their heat of up to four contestants. Chickens will be disqualified if they lose their wagon.
Organizer and volunteer Sandy Paterson said contestants were not allowed to harm their chickens. Whether your wagon is a wheeled machine worthy of Ben-Hur, or an unadorned chariot Kleenex box, it must be attached to the chicken contestant by a loose harness slipped over head, not tied on. "No tape is allowed," said Paterson. "You can't choke your chicken."
"Each chicken will be in it's own run, so they can't fight or interfere with each other," continued Paterson. Although the track will be straight, she admitted that working the kinks out of the plans required a learning curve. Contestants must pre-register by August 1, registration is $10 per chicken, and a person can only enter one chicken. If your chicken qualifies on Saturday to run again on Sunday the handler will not have to pay for the rodeo admission for Sunday.
"We are hoping that families will come down on the grounds for a lot of fun," Paterson concluded.
Since there will be no fair exhibits during the rodeo this year, the committee was looking to do something different. Volunteer Ray Cornez attended the 100th Anniversary of the Town of Wynyard, Saskatchewan were chicken racing has been going on for years. "Everyone had a giggle, everybody can have fun with it. Some people even believe they can train their chicken for it," chuckled Cornez. "People can be creative when they make their wagons. A smile on the face is free, and priceless."
The officials for this race will be tough. There will be no hen pecking or squawking allowed. Strutting and preening if you win your heat is encouraged. Stewing over which of your flock will be the fastest has to be your own decision. No fricasseeing fiasco's or fowl play on the grounds.
One place that Cornez can see an opportunity is that there will be people who may be able to make a great wagon, but have no chicken to pullet. If some good egg can see their way to working with the rodeo commitee for the use of their livestock for the event, please contact the organizers. If you would like to learn more or enter your champion clucker, leave a message for Henny Penny with your name and phone number at 403-632-4578 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preliminary heats run Saturday August 18 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, following the Pincher Creek Parade. Final heats run Sunday August 19 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, after Cowboy Church.