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Sutherland a big winner in debut at Calgary Stampede canvas auction

Southern Alberta chuckwagon driver Dayton Sutherland earns third highest bid at 44th annual auction
Foothills County chuckwagon driver Dayton Sutherland, pictured turning the barrels in High River, earned the third highest at the Calgary Stampede Cowboys Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Canvas Auction on April 11 at the Big Four Roadhouse on Stampede Park. (Western Wheel File Photo)

Southern Alberta athletes played a large role in a record-setting Calgary Stampede Cowboys Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Canvas Auction.

Dayton Sutherland tied for the third highest bid at $160,000 from Truman Homes in his debut at the 44th annual auction on April 11 as the Foothills County athlete gets set to take on the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth for the first time as a driver.

“I’m thrilled, obviously,” said Sutherland. “The sport is pretty challenging financially just because you’re feeding 30 expensive kids year-round. If we just had to compete those 10 days and you made 160 (grand), you’d be laughing.

“And this is my first year in Calgary too so there’s a bit of bills to catch up on with lots of help from dad (Mark) and grandpa (Kelly). But the most important thing to me is being with Truman.”

Sutherland said he’s impressed with the family-run home building company, which is a big player in the community and not new to sponsoring sports in Calgary and area.

“Meeting them and getting paired up with them is huge and I’m super excited for this July now,” he said. “As far as I gather just really salt-of-the-earth people and they seem excited about the Stampede. I don’t think it was originally on their radar before, but super easy guys to work with. People like Truman, and all of the other sponsors, are what makes the Stampede go around, it would not be possible without them.”

Seen as an economic barometer in the Calgary area, the canvas auction generated several records on Thursday evening at Stampede Park.

The average bid placed on the 27 drivers set an auction record at $115.370.37, exceeding the previous high by nearly $4,000. The lowest bid of $80,000 was also a record by $20,000.

All told, the total bids hit $3.15 million, the seventh highest in history, with 18 drivers eclipsing the $100,000 plateau.

Kris Molle, the 2022 Rangeland Derby champion, had the highest bid at $210,000, from Graf Mechanical Ltd., with four-time champion Kurt Bensmiller in second with a $175,000 bid from Grey Eagle Resort and Casino.

High River’s Jason Glass had the fifth highest bid at $150,000, from the Friends of Jason Glass, with Blackie’s Jordie Fike generating a $100,000 bid from Steelhaus Technologies Inc.

“These corporate sponsors that are supporting these western heritage events, part of our culture, make the whole thing possible,” Sutherland added. “The banners on the infield, the decals on the water truck, every little thing, it’s not just the tarp sponsors, it’s all super important.”

Sutherland, a third-generation driver, said he wasn’t quite sure he would ever be under the bright lights of the Stampede canvas auction.

“I was at the point I didn’t think I was ever going to get there, to be honest, with the changes to the invite system instead of placing off standings and they cut down from 36 to 27 a handful of years ago when I started driving,” he said. “I was at the point where I was ready to be done, it wasn’t feasible and I had stretched myself a longtime and worked and it wasn’t going my way.

“I got the invite last fall kind of out of the blue and I don’t know if it’s really set in yet that I will be racing there. I don’t know if it will feel real yet until we’re there night number one.”

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association racing season gets underway with the Grande Prairie Stompede in late-May.

Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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