Three years ago, well-known former Calgarian, now Longview resident, Rick Smith, decided Tarmac Babies would be a great name for a group to sponsor a Chuckwagon celebrating the Calgary Stampede Centennial.  He would call the group, Ten Day Tarmac Babies.

With the help of some friends, Rick put out the word to find 189 fans to be part of the Ten Day Tarmac Babies team.   “We chose 189 to honour 100 years of the Calgary Stampede and 89 years of Chuckwagon racing,” says Smith.

Heading into the 2012 Rangeland Derby tarp auction, Smith had 189 fans and close to $200,000. The TDTB team successfully bid on legendary Chuckwagon driver and former winner of the Rangeland Derby Luke Tournier, known to Chuckwagon fans as ‘Lightnin’ Luke’.

“This is just what Chuckwagon racing is all about,” says Tournier.  “Folks getting behind a driver and his team.  The support of TDTB means we can compete in the best race in the world,” he says.  “My wife Michele and I are really proud to have TDTB as our 2012 Rangeland Derby sponsor,” he said.

A number of charities are getting some support too.  “Members of TDTB share a love of Chuckwagon racing, the Calgary Stampede and helping others,” says Smith.

Close to $50,000 is being distributed to 11 charitable organizations on behalf of TDTB including: The Children’s Wish Foundation, Project Hope Strathmore, GAITS Therapeutic Riding Society, Chinook Scouts Foundation, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Town of High River-Cemetery Bench, Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society, Calgary Marching Band Assn., GRITT Society, Longview Library and the World Professional Chuckwagon Assn.’s Outrider Benevolent Fund.

The distinctive TDTB tarp with black lettering can be seen racing each night of the Calgary Stampede and is currently in 13th place overall. Want to be a Ten Day Tarmac Baby next year? Smith is looking to have 500 members for the 90th running of the Chuckwagon races in 2013!  For more info, visit www.tdtb2012.com, like the TDTB on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

2012 TDTB driver Luke Tournier (left) and TDTB founder Rick Smith.
Members of the 2012 Ten Day Tarmac Babies at the pre Stampede party.