Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miniature Chuckwagon races held in Cardston

Rob Bernshaw, Pincher Creek Voice
Mini Chuckwagons racing at Remington Carriage Museum
R. Bernshaw image

The 8th Annual Miniature Horse Chuckwagon World Championships were held at the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston Alberta on August 17 and 18.

The Alberta Miniature Chuckwagon Racing Association (AMCRA) supplied all the race crew, teams, wagon masters and wagons.  In order for this wonderful show to take place, volunteers were organized and provided through the The Remington Friends Society in Cardston.

Organized in 1998, AMCRA was formed in 2003 as a non-profit organization that puts on races throughout Alberta and British Columbia.  All members of AMCRA from the horses to the crews and wagon masters love entertaining by providing a wonderful mini rodeo event of grand proportions.  The miniature horses with big hearts seem to love putting on a show to thrill and entertain audiences of all ages.

This columnist had the opportunity to obtain an exclusive interview with AMCRA director and wagon master Bill Bier in the paddocks immediately following the races.

"I enjoy them immensely, they're very personable," he said of his miniature horses.  "They're my little friends.  I started racing after we'd done everything shows, rodeos, Gymkhanas... I saw miniature chuckwagons years back, and I thought 'That's what I'm going to do'.  I sold my old rope horse and bought my wagon and from there I just kept going.  I started training horses, I trained mine, and then I got my daughter and my son going with them.  My daughter got married and she got her husband going with them.  My daughter in law races, her dad races, it's all joined up.  We made an association, we've got about 24 wagons we can pick up now and have shows.  It's a lot of fun.  The crowd enjoys it.  These little guys will run fast.  We can do an eighth of a mile track, we've taped it down to 22 seconds.  They run at about 40 kilometres and hour.  They're moving pretty good."

AMCRA Director and Wagonmaster Bill Bier
R. Bernshaw, image

"The horses are all standing from between 30 and 36 inches.  We'll switch horses around, we'll borrow horses. We put on a show, so everybody needs to participate and help each other to make the show and have the show turn out successful.  If we're not all here the show doesn't work."

"Anybody can get involved.  All we ask is that you let us help you get a wagon, because then they are all relatively the same.  The harness is custom made.  A gentleman here in Cardston makes them, Hallmark Harness.  A bunch of us have horses that we can help you pick up, we can help you sell, buy, we can give you training tips, we can help you start driving even if you need it.  There's a little bit of a monetary investment, so sometimes it's nice to find a sponsor to try and help you pay for some of the bills."

All the teams get paid the same. "There's no competition, it's really just an entertainment show for the crowd so we can show what these horses can do."

Statue at the entrance to the Remington Carriage Museum
R. Bernshaw image

Related links:
Alberta Mini Chucks
Remington Carriage Museum

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