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Chuckwagon races have new voice

A young farm boy with a love for chuckwagon races began his career sweeping stalls at the Calgary Stampede.

A young farm boy with a love for chuckwagon races began his career sweeping stalls at the Calgary Stampede.

Now, at the age of 55, his childhood dreams of calling the races have come true. It was announced Thursday that Les McIntyre will be taking the reins —or rather, the microphone — from the legendary Joe Carbury, making him only the second person in Calgary Stampede chuckwagon history to call the GMC Rangeland Derby.

“This is a very special day in the history of the Calgary Stampede, and a most special day in my life,” McIntyre said. “A childhood dream has come true for me.

“On good years, in the farming business, we’d trek to the Calgary Stampede and we camped in our GMC truck on the west side of the Grandstand. As years progressed, I would listen to radio broadcasts of the rangeland derby, then I’d head down to the barn and pretend to be … any of the great drivers of that day.”

McIntyre grew up to be a chuckwagon driver, winning second place at the Ponoka Stampede in the early ’80s. After a back injury, McIntyre called his first chuckwagon race in 1985 and has worked as a rodeo announcer ever since.

Carbury, who hung up his cowboy hat last year, gave McIntyre this advice about years to come: “Do enjoy them as much as I did.”

 
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