Prince George author Glen Mikkelsen has taken the reins in his latest book: The Rangeland Derby – 100 Years of Chuckwagon Racing at the Calgary Stampede.
Mikkelsen grew up in Calgary, where the sport originated and he says chuckwagon racing is the only sport that is uniquely Canadian.
“From a young age I was captured by the excitement of the races and that never diminished,” he said. “If you look at hockey or lacrosse, those have been picked up by other countries around the world, but Canadians are the ones who race chuckwagons professionally, putting it on the scale that we do in Calgary and meets across the west.”
Only 27 drivers make the cut to race in the 10-day Stampede and the Rangeland Derby is the showcase event of the daily evening grandstand shows, attracting crowds of more than 150,000 spectators each year. Winning the Rangeland Derby, the Super Bowl of chuckwagon racing, is the richest, most prestigious title for any chuckwagon team.
Mikkelsen spent two-and-a-half years researching the book and used some of his leftover notes from the previous two books he wrote about the sport.
“People don’t realize it takes the families and a small community to keep these races going year after year,” said Mikkelsen. “It’s price prohibitive, the talent skills are very unique, so the kids who get into it understand the time commitment that’s involved.”
On Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to noon, Mikkelsen will be at Books and Company to promote and sign copies of The Rangeland Derby. The book is now on sale at the downtown Prince George store.