It’s that time of year again, folks! We’re about a week away from the Calgary Stampede and we couldn’t be more excited for the 8th annual BD&P Put the Boots to Hunger campaign to kick off. And Gary Gorst, our 2015 chuckwagon driver, says he is just as thrilled to be joining the food bank festivities!
The first time Gorst was our chuckwagon driver was back in 2012 and now he is back for his second time this year and he says he’s thankful to be back in the food bank saddle!
“The work the food bank (does) is unbelievable,” Gorst says. “You guys get people that are down and out back on their feet and get them back in the real world and having fun again like we do.”
WHY WE LOVE THE CHUCKS
The idea of chuckwagon racing was thought up by Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick and the first “official” races took place at the 1923 Calgary Stampede. After the success of the first races, many communities throughout Alberta and abroad added chuckwagon races to their local rodeos bringing people together from around the country.
Even in 2015 the chuckwagons are still bringing people together, it’s just on a much larger scale – people from around the world. And seeing the community come together is what the Calgary Food Bank lives for.
For Gary, his favorite part of being involved is seeing his two sons, Logan and Dustin, follow in his footsteps and become racers and cowboys themselves. He adds that it’s a dream come true to see his four grandchildren grow up in front of his eyes every day at the barns and at the races.
“As a Grandpa, you can’t put a dollar value on seeing those grandkids every day,” Gorst says. “Some grandparents only see their grandkids two or three times a year, and we see them all summer long.”
Whether you are from Alberta or across the world, racers come together as a community to try and win and watch each other succeed. Gorst says that for all chuckwagon racers, the Calgary Stampede is like the Stanley Cup.
“The Stampede is for the best of the best,” Gorst says. “As soon as the Stampede is over you start preparing for next year.”
Even though Gary has been driving since 1970 and been in over 800 races, the rush has not been lost on him. He says he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, but adds he might think about it if one of his son’s races against him and beats him.