Kurt Bensmiller is happy to find the ninth inning

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Kurt Bensmiller feels like he’s back in his place.

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From Thursday to Sunday, he competes in the ninth round of the Cowboys Rangeland Derby against fellow chuckwagon drivers Layne MacGillivray and Chanse Vigen.

“I hate not being there, really,” said Bensmiller, who spent the first three nights of the 10-day show racing in round six. “I just got used to it.

“If you’re in the ninth, that means you run fast no matter what, so it’s nice to be up there. You want to be with the fastest guys, so those are the two fastest, Layne and Chanse, for sure.

Monday through Wednesday, Bensmiller entered the infield in front of GMC Stadium and lined up beside his designated barrel in the penultimate inning of the night.

As the results were tabulated on Thursday, the four-time Rangeland Derby champion remained second overall with a combined time of 8:37.94, just 78/100ths of a second behind MacGillivray.

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“He’s having a really good year,” said Bensmiller of MacGillivray, who was tied for second in the World Professional Chuckwagon Association standings with Doug Irvine before the Stampede. “I don’t know if he really crossed the line first too many times.

“He always has a lot of run and he just barrels in the right position, so he’s on the rail a lot and follows and those horses really run for him and he does a good job. And Chanse Vigen is working supernaturally right now, so it’s good to be with these guys.

In a close finish Thursday, MacGillivray’s Spray Lake Sawmills team edged Bensmiller’s TNT Engineering wagon across the line by just 14/100ths of a second in a time of 1:13.71

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For the third time in seven nights, Chad Fike won the day’s top cash prize of $6,000 aboard his Shaw GMC Chevrolet Buick pickup truck. Fike set a blistering time of 1:12.61, the fastest in the show so far, to delight the fans in attendance.

After Cody Risdale’s Ochiese Business Center outfit won round 4, one of his horses, his left wheeler, fell on the track and was treated by vets. The horse eventually got up on its own and got into a trailer and was driven back to the barns.

Although Bensmiller didn’t finish first overall on any of the first seven nights, he managed to avoid penalties while posting fast times.

“It’s just consistency,” said the 39-year-old renman from Dewberry, Alta. “We didn’t let it ignite, but we hung out every night. When we tracked guys, we luckily tracked really fast guys and that helped a lot.

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After Saturday’s races, the drivers with the three best times will move on to Sunday night’s championship round.

“Three more days and hopefully it works out,” said Bensmiller, who won his first title in Calgary in 2014 before defending the following year and adding two more in 2017-18. “We have a lot of depth, but I don’t think I have that big, big outfit that we used to have, but the guys that we have – new and old – they just seem to click hold there -inside.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire 2020 racing season was canceled and although the WPCA returned last year with a shorter schedule, not having the Rangeland Derby was a blow to Bensmiller and his fellow pilots.

“I think with those two years off it hurt me, especially because I always had a big turnover of new horses that came in with the old ones,” he said. “We haven’t bought horses there for a few years so we’re behind the rotation this year so hopefully by next year we’ll have a bit more insight and we can become a little more of a threat again. ”

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While he’s glad the race has returned to Stampede Park, Bensmiller isn’t a big fan of the change to running three cars per round from four and no longer having a half. -final on Saturday to determine the drivers who will go on the scoreboard for money. .

“I don’t like the three carriages or the new system,” he said. “I think whoever makes the top eight should have a shot at going on the final day.

“The three wagons are much more difficult to drive because we are not used to them. It’s definitely not as exciting because we’re all playing for position coming into lane and stuff. There’s a lot less going on.

That being said, Bensmiller is happy to be back at the Stampede.

“I’ve always said, we have to be here in Calgary,” he said. “The Stampede needs us here. You can’t be the greatest outdoor spectacle in the world without having all the events, not just the cart races.

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“We are a big part of making this the greatest outdoor show on Earth. If you lose us and some of the other events, then all of a sudden you’re just a show like everywhere else. I don’t care what label you put on it, but it’s the truth.

Results of the 7th day
Driver sponsorship time
1 Chad Fike Shaw GMC Chevrolet Buick 1:12.61
2 Obrey Motowylo Strike Group 1: 1:00 p.m.
3 Drilling Vern Nolin McCaws 1:13.58
4 Chance Bensmiller Stantec 1:13.66
5 Sawmills Layne MacGillivray Spray Lake 1:13.71
6 Kurt Bensmiller TNT Engineering 1:13.85
7 Evan Salmond Dorian Hotel 1:14.01
8 Darcy Flad EquiPride® 1:14.12
8 Mark Sutherland Fluoride 1:14.12
10 Troy Dorchester Thunderchild First Nation 1:14.22
11 Dallas Dyck Friends of the Scales – 360 1:14.23
12 Kris Molle Servus Credit Union 1:14.35
13 Jason Glass Birchcliff Energy Ltd. 1:14.47
14 Doug Irvine Private Sale Financing 1:14.48
15 Mitch Sutherland All Northern Consultants 1:14.60
15 Codey McCurrach Western RV Group 1:14.60
17 Roger Moore Monarch Siding and Roofing 1:15.15
18 Jordie Fike Fleet Summit 1: 15.61
19 Cody Ridsdale O’Chiese Business Investment 1:15.81
20 Ross Knight Lonestar Directional Inc 1:15.82
21 Danny Ringuette Brakemen/Zero Hungry Kids 1:16.01
22 Todd Baptiste Tridon/Kenwood 1:16.30
23 Chad Harden MLT Aikins LLP 1:16.49
24 Troy Flad Steel River Group 1:16.52
25 Kris Flanagan KV Capital 1:16.84
26 Kirk Sutherland Silverhill Acura 1:19.82
27 Chanse Vigen Vertex 1:23.38
General classification of day 7
Driver Sponsor 6 days TTL
1 Sawmills Layne MacGillivray Spray Lake 8: 37.16
2 Kurt Bensmiller Versatile Energy Solutions Ltd. 8:37.94
3 Obrey Motowylo Buckle Premium Vodka 8: 38.51
4 Darcy Flad EquiPride® 8: 40.46
5 Chad Fike Shaw GMC Chevrolet Buick 8:41.40
6 Kris Molle visitlethbridge.com 8:42.70
7 Doug Irvine Financing Private Sales 8:42.95
8 Jason Glass Birchcliff Energy Ltd. 8:43.06
9 Evan Salmond MobSquad 8:44.83
10 Vern Nolin McCaw’s Drilling/Blasting Ltd. 8:46.61
11 Troy Dorchester Cam Clark/Smithbilt Hats 8:47.21
12 Cody Ridsdale O’Chiese First Nation 8:48.34
13 Kirk Sutherland Silverhill Acura 8:48.42
14 Mark Sutherland’s Cowboys Casino 8:48.43
15 Chance Bensmiller PCL Inc. 8:48.62
16 Ross Knight The Kidz Wagon 8: 49.11
17 Danny Ringuette The Brakeman Foundation 8:49.13
18 Codey McCurrach Western RV 8:50.73
19 Dallas Dyck The Libra Foundation 8:51.32
Jordie Fike Fleet Summit 8: 51.91
21 Chance Vigen Cowboys Casino 8: 52.48
22 National Coach Roger Moore 8:55.47
23 Todd Baptiste SORE Oilfield Services Inc. 8:58.03
24 Chad Harden CC Contract Sales 9:04.20
25 Kris Flanagan KV Capital 9:04.82
26 Mitch Sutherland The CanWagon 9:11.74
27 Troy Flad Friends of Troy Flad 9:12.00

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