Ponoka is a town in Alberta with a population averaging 6,600. But when the Ponoka Stampede is held during Canada Day week, the number of people in this agricultural and oil town grows almost 400 percent. Among the people helping that percentage increase is World Financial Group-sponsored Chuckwagon driver Buddy Bensmiller. Buddy and the rest of the WPCA field were given six days to show their stuff at one of Canada’s largest rodeos.
On day one, Buddy faced off in the blue and white WFG tarp against Grant Profit, Rae Croteau, Jr. and Rick Fraser in the sixth heat. His time of 1:15.34 wasn’t fast enough to win, place or show. But Buddy did earn 22 aggregate points and had a clean race.
Day two saw the “Dewberry Rocket” back on the half mile of “heck” against Grant, Rae and Rick in heat number six. And while he finished in fourth place on the track, his time did improve to 1:14.27. This was good for another 22 aggregate points with no penalties. However, driver Grant Profit had four penalties. As a result, his finish allowed Buddy to claim third place for this heat.
On the third day of the Ponoka Stampede, Buddy and the WFG tarp took the track for the sixth heat against the same three racers. While Buddy slipped again to fourth for the heat, his time of 1:15.09 was good for 16 aggregate points with no penalties.
Day four saw rain in Ponoka for the first “muddy” day in the WPCA season. But it was a fine day for the man racing the World Financial Group blue and white. Although his time of 1:16.03 was the slowest of the stampede so far, it was good enough for second place and 49.5 aggregate points without penalties.
The fifth day saw a change of pace for Buddy when he was moved to the third heat and faced new competition: Shane Cartier, Doug Irvine and Codey McCurrach. However, the change did not prove promising for the WFG tarp. Buddy finished fourth with a time of 1:18.20 and only 7 aggregate points, but no penalties were assessed.
On the last day, Buddy saw the finish line first. In the second heat, Buddy faced off against Cody Ridsdale, Lincoln Douglas and Buddy’s son Chance. Buddy had a 1:14.99 first place finish and no penalties, which was good for 22 aggregate points. At the end of the Ponoka Stampede, Buddy finished 15th out of 36 teams with a total time of 7:33.92 and 138.5 points.
The WPCA Dodge Pro Tour will be on hiatus during the Calgary Stampede, which starts July 3. But you can check out video of Buddy racing the World Financial Group chuckwagon at wpca.com. Our hats are off to Buddy for this fine season of chuckwagon racing.