2017 Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby Champions West Industriual Ltd. Outfit
Track Announcer Les McIntyre Interviews 2017 Champion Kurt Bensmiller
Photo By Jamie Tiessen
Article by WPCA Billy Melville.
It was a highly emotional night as the finals of the 2017 Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby were run on Sunday night. In a historic championship final, Kurt Bensmiller, driving the West Industrial Ltd. Outfit, and along with outriders Shawn Calf Robe and Rory Gervais won the championship final from barrel number 2 in heat number 9, by 93 one-hundredths of a second over Obrey Motowylo who placed 2nd from barrel number 4 in his first appearance in the GMC Rangeland Derby Championship. Chanse Vigen placed third from barrel position number 3, while Logan Gorst who had the favorable barrel position number 1, took a five second penalty for knocking a barrel and ended up placing fourth. It’s the third GMC Rangeland Derby Championship for Bensmiller in three years.
On the night, Kurt Bensmiller’s championship run of 1:11.30 was also the fastest time on the night, 17 one-hundredths of a second better than Vern Nolin who placed second, followed by Rick Fraser, Mitch Surtherland and Obrey Motowylo filling out the top five on the final night of competition.
Earlier in the night, Kurt Bensmiller also received the Calgary Stampede’s Safe Drive Award for the third time in his career for being the least penalized driver over the first 8 nights of the Rangeland Derby. Rory Gervais was named the Calgary Stampede’s Outstanding Outrider for the third consecutive year.
The Equine Outfit of Excellence was presented at the beginning of the evening. “DANCER” of John Walter’s outfit was named Champion Right Leader, “HAWK” of Vern Nolin’s outfit was named Champion Left Leader, “SLICK” of Chanse Vigen’s outfit was named Champion Right Wheeler, “TENTH POWER” of Kurt Bensmiller’s outfit was named Champion Left Wheeler, “ROBERT” of Chad Harden’s outfit and “BOB” of Gary Gorst’s outfit were named the Champion Outriding Horses.
It was an emotional night for twelve-time GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Kelly Sutherland who competed in his last GMC Rangeland Derby. Sutherland started as an outrider in 1967 and drove for the first time in 1969. As well, veteran outrider Eddie Melville rode his last race in the Championship Final for Chanse Vigen. A special presentation was made to Melville by the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Committee.
The WPCA Pro Tour resumes in Bonnyville, Alberta July 27 – 30, 2017 for the Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship. Live coverage can be heard starting at 8:30 eastern, 7:30 central and 6:20 mountain time on Thursday, July 21, 2016 on Rural Radio on SiriusXM Channel 147 and Country 99 at 99.7 FM out of Bonnyville.