The town of Strathmore lies about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Calgary, AB, with many of residents commuting to and from that city on a regular basis. But one weekend a year, the Strathmore Heritage Days brings citizens in to the fine town for five days of various competitions, including the 2009 World Professional Chuckwagon Association Dodge Pro Tour Championship.  And the World Financial Group blue and white chuckwagon was present those five days, being driven by our very own Buddy Bensmiller. 

Day one saw Buddy and the WFG tarp facing off against Grant Profit, Tyler Helmig and Chad Harden in the fifth heat.  While Buddy had a mistake free race, his 1:19.25 was only good enough for fourth place and 14 points in the standings. 

The following day of racing saw Buddy facing the same three competitors in heat five on a very sunny day.  Buddy’s World Financial Group-sponsored blue and white wagon had a very fast start and even got the inside rail.  Unfortunately, Buddy did not cross the finish line first, but his time of 1:18.48 earned him third place for the heat and 19 points. 

Day three of chuckwagon racing featured another race alongside Grant, Tyler and Chad.  However, the weather had turned from clear to cloudy and there was an impressive amount of mud on the track.  This mud may have been just what the “Dewberry Rocket” needed as his team took the lead at the beginning of the run and held on to come first in a photo finish.  Unfortunately, the mud also proved detrimental: Buddy’s wagon wheel knocked a barrel, which is a major penalty, causing a five second penaly to be added to  his finish time of 1:18.96, placing him fourth with 1:23.96 and earning him only three points. 

The next day of racing in Strathmore saw a return to sunny skies and a somewhat drier track.  Buddy and the WFG tarp found himself in the fifth heat again opposite the same three drivers.  And while Buddy got a very slow start, his team pulled into second place at the wire with a time of 1:17.70 and 24 points; his best day at Strathmore so far. 

On the final day of racing, Buddy found himself opposite Chad Harden, Luke Tournier and his younger brother, Leo, in the fourth heat. The race was very, very close.  However, Buddy’s time of 1:18.95 was only third best, but it did earn him 21.5 points. 

Overall in Strathmore, Buddy finished 26th with a total time of 6:38.34 and 81.5 points.  In the world standings, Buddy is in 20th with 687.5 points.  But the season is nowhere near over.  Next up for our World Financial Group-sponsored chuckwagon driver will be the “Battle of the North” at the Dawson Creek (BC) Exhibition starting on August 5.  Let’s cheer Buddy onto continued success for the rest of the 2009 WPCA season!

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