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Ponoka Stampede Tarp Auction raises about $390K for world’s top chuck drivers

Miss Ponoka Stampede 2022 crowned

The Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA) Tarp Auction, held at the Stagecoach Saloon on May 6, brought in a total of $389,750 for drivers and their teams — $13,500 over what was raised at the last Stampede in 2019.

Third year driver Wade Salmond and reigning world and former Ponoka Stampede champion Kurt Bensmiller had the highest selling tarps of the evening at $20,000 each.

That is $5,000 less than the top bid from 2019.

Salmond’s went to VJV Livestock Auction and Bensmiller will fly the tarp of Versatile Energy Solutions.

The close third and fourth were Layne MacGillivray at $19,000 to sponsor League Projects and Dustin Gorst to Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, also for $19,000.

Following right behind were Troy Dorchester, who’s tarp went to Team Rig and Supply for $18,000 and Troy Flad, who’s tarp also sold for $18,000 to Five Star Propane.

The average bid was $10,826.39 and the median bid was $9,000.

The Ponoka Stampede Tarp Auction was the final chuckwagon canvas auction for the 2022 WCPA Pro Tour.

There were 34 drivers and two wild card spots.

Full results can be found at

Before the bidding got underwat, buckle presentations were made to the 2021 world champions and top rookies. World Champion Chuckwagon Driver Obrey Motowylo, World Champion Outrider Hayden Motowylo, WPCA Top Rookie Outrider Nolan Cameron and WPCA Top Rookie Driver Chance Thomson all received Olson silver belt buckles commemorating their achievements.

Crowning the queen

PSA president Jason Cline crowned Mackenzie Skeels as Miss Ponoka Stampede 2022 with the help of outgoing queen Naomi Akkermans. Akkermans has held the title for a record three years, due to the two-year COVID-19 hiatus.

“These guys dedicate everything and they’re always behind you every step of the way,” said Akkermans.

With the exception of the two years there was no Stampede, Akkermans has attended the Ponoka Stampede every year of her life.

“I’m still never going to miss one,” she said.

Skeels, who was previously rodeo queen for Sundre and Rimbey, was born in Ponoka during Stampede time. She is the daughter of auctioneer Danny Skeels.

The 2022 Ponoka Stampede will be held from June 27 to July 3.

Driver/sponsor partnership teams

Vern Nolin - McCaw’s Drilling & Blasting

Mark Sutherland Chuckwagon Team - Pidherney’s Inc.

Obrey Motowylo - The Cooperators

Kurt Bensmiller - Versatile Energy Solutions

Layne MacGillivray Chuckwagon Team - Lead Projects

Kris Molle - Eagle Builders

Codey McCurrach - Tomco Group of Companies

Kirk Sutherland - Morskate Manufacturing Ltd.

Chanse Vigen Chuckwagon Team - Busted Ladies Lingerie

Cody Ridsdale - Rai-Lynn Trucking

Jordie Fike Chuckwagon Racing - Irvine Tack & Western Wear

Evan Salmond - Wheelers Transport

Jason Glass - Birchcliff Energy Ltd.

Mitch Sutherland Chuckwagon Racing - Pride of Ponoka

Darcy Flad - Wetaskiwin Ready Mix

Doug Irvine - Silent Ice

Dustin Gorst - Century Downs Racetrack and Casino

Chad Fike - Calnash Trucking Ltd.

Chance Flad - Aspen Crossing

Chad Harden - IMAGE Distributors

Troy Flad Racing - Five Star Propane

Troy Dorchester - Team Rig and Supply

Roger Moore - Bobcat Of Camrose & Ray’s Trailer Sales

Wade Salmond - VJV Auction Co. Ponoka Cattle Sales

Josh Hrynyk - Long Score Saloon

Dayton Sutherland - Sutherland Racing

Kelly Morin - Jeff Desutter

Layne Flad - Quick Moves

Chance Bensmiller Racing - Tim Wilson

Roy Romanow - Pride of Ponoka

Chance Thomson - Thorsby Stockyards

Derek Aebly - Secure Energy

Dean Dreger - Northern Mat and Bridge LP

Tuff Dreger - Reinhart Oilfield Services

Wildcard spot No. 1 - Benchmark Commodities

Wildcard No. 2 - Canadian Premium Meats

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I’m Emily Jaycox, the editor of Ponoka News and the Bashaw Star. I’ve lived in Ponoka since 2015 and have over seven years of experience working as a journalist in central Alberta communities.
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