For our fans and sponsors who have posted questions on social media, contacted the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) directly and for the media who have approached the WPCA looking for answers, please find below clarification that we hope will help answer some of your questions and provide you with a better understanding on why the WPCA will not be racing in Bonnyville in 2018.
On October 14, 2017 the WPCA met with members of the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo & Chuckwagon Association (BPRCA) to discuss a new partnership agreement and share ideas to build the WPCA event in Bonnyville. This included changing the traditional WPCA race format so that Bonnyville could have a dash for cash on a four day show and create an even more exciting experience for fans. Shortly after, the BPRCA merged with the Bonnyville Agricultural Society (BAS). In over three months of negotiations we felt that we were close to signing contracts with the BAS twice, however, the merge between the BPRCA and BAS along with changes to the people on the BAS negotiating team changed the direction of our progress.
The WPCA’s primary concern was tarp sponsorship. Chuckwagon drivers rely on tarp sponsorship to cover travel costs, animal care costs, etc. In 2017, seven WPCA drivers ran in Bonnyville without tarp sponsorship. Based on history, our concern was that there would not be enough tarp sponsorship revenue for now 61 wagons total, when there wasn’t enough for 36 wagons. To put further strain on the potential for tarp sponsorship revenue for the WPCA drivers, the BAS sponsorship representative suggested, that since the BAS was not receiving 20% of the WPCA drivers tarp sponsorship through a tarp auction, those companies could go towards the event and not the WPCA driver. In addition to driver tarp sponsorship, both the WPCA and Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) rely on sponsorship to assist with covering association expenses. Traditionally, some revenues to cover these expenses come from businesses who operate where the associations hold their races. Similar to a new business coming into the Bonnyville community and competing with other businesses in a similar industry, having 2 wagon racing associations competing for sponsorship revenue in a community with an already challenging economy would not be beneficial for the overall sustainability of Chuckwagon racing. The WPCA presented these concerns during a meeting with the BAS in November. During that meeting the BAS president also communicated that their 2017 event only made $1,200.00 which also raised our question as to whether or not hosting 2 associations in Bonnyville would be viable.
With the best interest of chuckwagon racing as a whole in mind, the WPCA directors voted to propose four contract options to the BAS in an attempt work with the BAS and get a contract agreement secured. One was a WPCA exclusive contract along with three options for running two wagon associations assuming the BAS had revenue sources to host 2 wagon associations as previously communicated. During that process the BAS signed and agreement with the CPCA and declined all four of the WPCA proposed contract options.
We trust that this statement provides clarification to the many questions that have surfaced regarding the WPCA not racing in Bonnyville in 2018.
The World Professional Chuckwagon Association would like to thank all the Bonnyville WPCA fans, Chuckwagon racing fans, volunteers and all the sponsors who have supported the WPCA drivers, outriders and their families over the years.
A big thank you to the loyal members of the BPRCA who helped build the WPCA event into one of the best in the sport. We would also like to thank the business community who greeted our members in your stores and for the host hotels who took care of our members and fans who needed a home away from home and a bed for the night. You all were great hosts!!