Stampede officials are bravely saying that the uniqueness of chuckwagon racing and value a chuckwagon tarp carries for ten days will offset Alberta’s darkening economic skies.
Already, layoffs across Calgary are in the thousands, and some chuckwagon drivers are resigned to the fact the big bucks won’t be there tonight at the annual auction.
The tarp auction — considered a yearly measure of the local economy — has seen the effects of previous downturns. In 2009, total bids dropped to $1.7 million from $2.5 million the previous year.
In 2014, bids for the 36 Rangeland Derby drivers totalled $3.54 million, for an average bid of $98,403.
Last year’s top bidder is out in 2015. MJ’s Water Hauling, who paid $170,000 to advertise on driver Jason Glass’ chuckwagon last year but can’t do it this year because of the economy.
Personally, I’m hoping it goes well for the drivers sake -because that’s what pays much of the year’s freight- and you know what, we could use a little good news these days.
Roger and Harriett will be there live this afternoon to keep everyone informed.