The Calgary Stampede’s decision to cut chuckwagon races from this year’s event has led to more opportunities for surrounding communities, like the High River Agricultural Society.
The society had planned to move forward with the races, pending provincial restrictions, said Tanya Froh, its president.
Then, in mid-June, Premier Jason Kenney announced that the province would fully reopen on July 1.
This changed the seating capacity to 3,000 people from 1,000 people for the High River AG society’s Battle of the Foothills, due to take place across two weeks, starting July 16.
They’ve also been approved for additional standing room and added an extra two days to the event in anticipation of more attendees missing out on the chuckwagon races in Calgary since the Stampede had decided to cut the event this year.
The two extra days will offer semifinals on the last Saturday, with the top four wagons advancing to the dash for cash on Sunday.
The total winnings are currently set at $150,000.
“Running two weekends back to back is a big deal for a small volunteer organization like us,” Froh said.
“It makes a huge difference in the profitability of our events, and we need them to be profitable because we are a not-for-profit charity.”
A charity that depends on its volunteers to help out. And, in a time where they only had five to six weeks to complete prep work that usually takes five or six months, Froh is asking for help.
“It takes a lot of bodies to make something like this go off,” she said.
She said duties range right from parking to ushering in the grandstands, and lots of other things, too. If you’d like to volunteer or know someone who would, there is a signup form available here.
Although the planning is condensed, the event is longer than usual, and Froh hasn’t slept much, she said she’s excited to have the chucks.
“They are a big draw for us in our community, and the town really gets behind us when the chuckwagons come to town.”
The Battle of the Foothills will run July 16-18 and July 23-25 at the High River Agricultural Society, at 64137 Highway 543 East.
The event features four days of qualifier racing, from July 16-18 and July 23, with a start time of 7 p.m. each day. The start time for semifinal on July 24 is also 7 p.m. The start time for the Championship Sunday Dash for Cash on July 25 is 4 p.m.
The gates and beer garden open one hour prior to race time.
To buy a ticket, visit www.highriverag.com/battle-of-the-foothills.php or the Battle of the Foothills Chuckwagon Races Facebook page.