Stepping onto the stage at the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction Thursday, March 19 will be a brand new experience for Dale Mitsuing. A young man who has followed in his father Ray’s footsteps in the sport, Mitsuing is one of two rookie drivers invited to participate in the Calgary Stampede in 2020. For years he has watched his father face the bright lights and fast bidding of the auction, and now it’s his turn.
Chuckwagon racing also runs in Lane Tournier’s family. In March, he will step on stage at the auction alongside his father, and chuckwagon driver Luke Tournier, and brother-in-law Logan Gorst to secure the support of an advertiser for Stampede 2020. This long-standing, annual tradition sees groups and companies face-off for the opportunity to partner with one of 36 drivers and showcase their brand in a unique way. A successful bid to become an advertiser also includes the exclusive opportunity to host guests behind-the-scenes in the chuckwagon barn area, a unique opportunity and sought after experience.
For the drivers, partnering with a business or group from the community allows them to share their sport, introduce people to their horses and help them learn about how the high-powered athletes are cared for at the Stampede and throughout the year. The funds raised through the auction are an important part of that care, with 80 per cent of a successful bid going directly to the driver, and the remaining 20 per cent being reinvested into safety initiatives and prize money by the Stampede.
A bid caller enthusiastically calls a bid at the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction (Covy Moore/CovyMoore.com)
There is an exciting new change to the annual auction. Traditionally held in the Boyce Theatre, the 2020 auction will now be held in The Big Four Roadhouse. The Stampede venue’s modern, upscale feel combined with open and relaxed seating will create a much different atmosphere for those attending the event.
More information on the auction and the 36 drivers invited to compete at Stampede 2020 can be found at CalgaryStampede.com/canvasauction.