The WPCA wrapped up a four day tour in Bonnyville for The George Normand Memorial Championships on Sunday, July 26th, 2015.
WPCA President, Ed Wittchen says the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo & Chuckwagon Association committee is one of the best around. “It’s one of our favourite stops for a variety of reasons,” explains Wittchen, ” the way the treat the chuckwagon community, from the annual Pontoon Party and the Spa Day for the ladies, to the way the respond to any issues during the races.” The WPCA boosts Bonnyville as one of their favourite stops, Wittchen explains, “it’s a good relationship and we’re really happy with Bonnyville.”
Luke Tournier took the 4-day Aggregate Best time and won The George Normand Memorial Buckle. That honour means a lot to the drivers. George Normand was a driver from Bonnyville who died suddenly at The Ponoka Stampede on July 2nd, 1994. “George is one of the all-time greats,” explains Wittchen. “BJ, his son, is on our board,” Wittchen goes into the personal connection the drivers have with George Normand, “the drivers that have been around for 15 years or more, raced against George, they know George and the history.”
“George was very instrumental in forming the Chuckwagon Association and moving it into the modern area,” Wittchen explains George’s contributions to the sport, “George made some really innovated changes to how raced and how he trained horses, how he bought horses.” It wasn’t just taking the sport to the next level that helped George stand out, it was his personality, “George was a very, very popular, he personable person.”
“To win The George Normand Memorial Buckle is very special to our guys, especially someone who’s been racing for a lot of years.” Wittchen explains.
Which is why it was an honour for Luke Tournier to win. Tournier, is a long-time racer, who’s been on the circuit since 1988, “this is his first win in Bonnyville,” states Wittchen. It means a little more for Tournier because he is good friends with local, Doug Irvine. Tournier is a fan-favourite in Bonnyville because of his connection to Irvine. “He’s very tight with Doug Irvine, they’re best friends,” Wittchen says with joy in voice, “he’s got a good relationship with lots of folks in town.”
Doug Irvine placed forth for the weekend, “Bonnyville’s been a good show for him,” Wittchen explains The Story from Lacorey brings the heat in front of the home crowd.
The next stop on The WPCA circuit is Strathmore July 31- August 3rd, 2015. For a full schedule visit The WPCA online at wpca.com.