An appreciation night celebrating Dewberry’s contribution to chuckwagon racing in Alberta paid tribute to eleven of their local chuckwagon drivers at the Dewberry Hall on Saturday, October 17. The evening hosted by the Dewberry Community Pride Committee unveiled new street pole banners bearing the names of the eleven Dewberry drivers and one long-time chuckwagon announcer, followed by recognition ceremonies and an appreciation video played for the crowd honoured the recent achievements of Kurt Bensmiller.
“Dewberry is a good farming community where everybody works hard, looks after each other and helps each other out,” said Kurt Bensmiller. “So when you’ve got support from everywhere it doesn’t matter where you go it makes a big difference. Dewberry takes pride in looking after their own whether it’s chuckwagon racing or hockey; they are a very strong community.”
Kurt believes that it takes a competitive edge and consistency to make a chuckwagon champion. “I got lucky because I got the best teacher that you could have,” said Kurt.
Chuckwagon Capital of Alberta Appreciation Night
The Dewberry Community Pride Committee paid tribute to the eleven chuckwagon drivers from the area with an Appreciation Night on October 17.
Street pole banners were unveiled on the night bearing their names.
Back row from left, Vern Nolin, Chance Bensmiller, Warren Garnier, David Bensmiller, Dallas Dyck. Front row; Bruce Brock, Bruce Craige, Kurt Bensmiller, Buddy Bensmiller and Rick Rainey. Photo Marie Conboy
Three of the drivers honoured secured the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby championship a total of six times: Bruce Craig in 1981, Buddy Bensmiller in 1979, 1989, and 2003, and Kurt Bensmiller with back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015.
“Tonight is for the local people,” said Buddy Bensmiller.
“We’ve had a pile of support here over the years. I guess if you have two or three drivers that do well in a town then that drives others to try it and compete as well. It takes lots and lots of hard work and dedication to make a champion. When I first started out we were sleeping under the trucks and in the trunks and whatever. It wasn’t for the money, it was for the love of the horses!” said Buddy.
The eleven Dewberry drivers honoured with street pole banners bearing their names were Allan Bensmiller, Bruce Craige, Harvey Brown, Rick Rainey, Warren Garnier, Buddy Bensmiller, David Bensmiller, Kurt Bensmiller, Chance Bensmiller, Dallas Dyck, and Vern Nolin. A banner was also awarded to long-time chuckwagon announcer, Bruce Brock.
“The Village of Dewberry is now proclaimed Chuckwagon Driver Capital of Alberta for their huge contribution to racing which is remarkable with a population of approximately 200 people,” said driver Dallas Dyck.
Buddy Bensmiller pictured in front of the new Dewberry Chuckwagon Capital of Alberta street poles.
Photo Marie Conboy
MLA Vermilion Lloydminister Dr.Richard Starke congratulated Kurt Bensmiller and Dewberry on the night; “To all the families, to everyone involved in racing and to the community of Dewberry, congratulations for what you have done to support your drivers and for your support of chuckwagon racing. If ever a community did above and beyond, Dewberry does that in chuckwagon racing.”